“Don’t invite into your mind the future which is not there yet” – Dr Chok Tenzin

Last week I had the privilege of hosting my Tibetan friend and colleague Dr. Chok Tenzin for the first time in South Africa. And what a refreshing experience it was for both of us. With his non-judgemental outlook on life he made me realise what a beautiful country we live in. The air is fresh, the roads are good and we live close to nature. He pointed out how much people live in conceptual worlds – thinking judgementally of what may happen or hanging on regretfully to what might have been.

Living predominantly in a “conceptual reality” often leads to uneasiness, anxiety, and stress. And whereas it is important to stay in touch with what’s happening in the world, one shouldn’t listen to too much bad news or watch too much negative TV. Our unhappiness is firmly rooted in the conceptual worlds we create for ourselves.

In his simple English: “don’t invite into your mind the future which is not here yet, and don’t hang on to the past which is already gone”. The trick is to balance one’s mental world with a healthy dose of direct experiences – those we can only get through our senses like mindfully seeing something beautiful, tasting something great, spending time with someone special, and thinking about the future or the past.

Our senses allow us to experience the only reality we have and has no ability to think or judge anything by themselves. We do that with our minds. And we should watch out for how we think about life. By simply contemplating the good things one has right now with a genuine sense of gratitude, without conceptualising the future or the past, it is possible to improve one’s sense of happiness. Counting one’s blessings as they say! Being mindful of the current moment and appreciating the freedom life offers us to express ourselves are the foundations of a great day.