Be mindful today #24 The Present Usually Hurts!

Mindfulness quotations can be an inspiration to some, but a turn off to many others. Personally I tend to find a grain of inspiration in most of them, but maybe that’s because I’m a Buddhist and mindfulness is a significant part of our lives. Many such quotations are short, one line, and pithy, often from modern day philosophers as well as Buddha himself. However, occasionally I stumble across something that is long, many lines, yet far from tedious. Today’s mindfulness quote fits the latter bill, but requires some effort to read, understand and digest the insightful words from this 17th Century polymath. Not everything can be written in a 280 character Tweet!

“We never keep to the present. We recall the past; we anticipate the future as if we found it too slow in coming and were trying to hurry it up, or we recall the past as if to stay its too rapid flight. We are so unwise that we wander about in times that do not belong to us, and do not think of the only one that does; so vain that we dream of times that are not and blindly flee the only one that is. The fact is that the present usually hurts. We thrust it out of sight because it distresses us, and if we find it enjoyable, we are sorry to see it slip away. We try to give it the support of the future, and think how we are going to arrange things over which we have no control for a time we can never be sure of reaching.”

Blaise Pascal, Pensees

“……… we never actually live, but hope to live ….”

“Let each of us examine his thoughts; he will find them wholly concerned with the past or the future. We almost never think of the present, and if we do think of it, it is only to see what light it throws on our plans for the future. The present is never our end. The past and the present are our means, the future alone our end. Thus we never actually live, but hope to live, and since we are always planning how to be happy, it is inevitable that we should never be so.”

Blaise Pascal, Pensees

We hope this mindfulness quote inspires you to consider mindfulness as a condition where your focus is on the present moment, rather than allowing thoughts to distract you which oscillate between the past and the future. Try this simple test: sit somewhere comfortable, close your eyes, now start to breathe in then out slowly. Think of NOTHING except your breathing. How long before your thoughts turn to the electricity bill, tomorrows meeting, cooking tonight’s dinner, fixing the car, inflation, politicians, yada yada yada? Do let me know how it went.


And finally, I leave it to those of you interested in Blaise Pascal and his “book” Pensees, to research him for yourself. 🕉 Merry Christmas everyone and thanks to you all whether you’re a follower or just passing through 🙏.



Categories: Buddha, Philosophy

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1 reply

  1. Wishing a very Merry Christmas to both of you as well. Thanks for your inspiring quotes. May 2023 be good to you.

    Liked by 1 person

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