Misdirection of Future is All is the belief that personal choice in this moment must always be deferred to the promise of future rewards at end of life.
In life, death is certain. At some point, life ends. What happens after death is life’s biggest uncertainty. Not only is the timing ever uncertain, nothing can guarantee nor prove definitively what happens after death – if anything.
To manage this great unknown, religion and metaphysics have created myth, story, and belief to help explain and make sense of the ineffable.
One of the primary beliefs of humanity is that there is a final judgment after death to determine if the soul is condemned to hell or is given entry to heaven. A place of chaos and punishment, hell is for the evil and the bad. A place of order and reward, heaven is for the worthy, those who have proven they are good and deserving of reward.
Because fear of the unknown after death is so strong, this belief in final judgment has determined that for positive future outcome at the end of life there is nothing more important than alignment with divine transcendence. The great unknown, God, is perceived to be the best mediator for comprehending and transacting the big unknown, life after death.
This belief sets up the ultimate test of Blind Production: how do you live life worthy enough to be rewarded with entry to heaven?
The answer is to focus the entirety of your existence in proving your worth and taking actions which will be judged as worthy by the divine adjudicator. In Egyptian mythos, for example, this final judgement is a literal weighing of the heart in balance with a feather. The rewarded soul will be found to be lighter than a feather because the heart is not weighted by bad deeds or thoughts.
Thus, the Future is All.
Life now must be lived toward the moment in the afterlife when fate is determined and sealed for eternity. Future is All becomes the frame of reference for all decisions and actions in life.
If self-absence and self-denial are present, then trust and choice about how to ensure future reward are faulty and possibly non-existent. In the most fundamental way, life is then exposed to the empty promises of Power-Over and its accompanying judgment, manipulation, and coercion.
Fear of failure at this penultimate moment is used by Power-Over to exert control towards its own agenda, defend disappointment with and divert attention from the current conditions of life, while being perceived as guarantying positive future outcomes to those who follow the dictates of the powerful. Used this way, Future is All is the ultimate frame control and leverage point to justify the means to any end.
Caught in the fear of the future, banking everything on the Future is All appears to help the individual transcend the trials of the present with promises of the future – especially when the big unknown is inevitably faced but also within the frame of short-term possibility.
The exhortation is to relinquish self now to secure passage to heaven in the future of inevitable death.
However, the hard truth is simple: the future cannot be guaranteed.
In any moment, the best guarantee is you and your ability to be present and live life despite the looming unknown. Your independent action on your behalf is the means for you to live your life through your own self-determination.
Thus, instead of Future is All, life is lived now. Here, in this moment.
If you believe in your worth, trust your truth and your ability to choose, then you have the necessary agency to find the rewards inherent in the beauty of life itself present in this moment here and now.
Life is lives in the present moment, here, now.
In each moment, begin within.
My Experience with Future is All
In my childhood, family dinner always began with a prayer usually said by my father. In my early teens, my parents added a new element just before the meal’s blessing, a ritual which consisted of several call and response statements. We had several through which we randomly rotated. However, instead of the ritual, what I remember best were the three statements my father made sometimes just before the blessing instead.
He would smile as we joined hands around the table and in a soft, gentle voice he would say to my two sisters and me, “Girls, remember this. The past is accepted. The future is open. The present is here, now, just for you.”
At various times, dinner conversation would move deeply into the ideas embedded in each of these three statements. I always enjoyed these discussions and would happily dig in.
Looking back, I now understand that my parents were introducing us to a very powerful concept: the importance of personal agency in the present moment. Though it was not until my 30s I truly began to process this understanding in a way which helped me begin to consciously live my life fully present.
Acceptance of the past does not mean erasure or denial. Acceptance means acknowledging what has occurred and, when possible, being aware of why. Acceptance also means that attention should not be glued to the past, ignoring the opportunities available now. The past doesn’t need fixing now. The past is water under the bridge. It is what was, now accepted. Learning, shifting or making amends may be necessary, but that’s not reason to not accept what was.
In acceptance of the past, comes the freedom to see that the future is open to personal choice and action. Past personal history need not be a predictor of the future. Besides life doesn’t happen in the future. Life happens in this moment, here, now. To not choose is choice. To be victim to the past is present choice. To see life as opportunity is an open future orientation chosen in each moment of living life.
AND! This is much easier to say than put into practice because there is much in life which wants to shackle experience with the maleficence of past events and live in fear of the future’s lack of guaranteed security.
Blame and judgment, in particular, are anchors holding your attention in a place where personal power is weak or absent.
Blame anchors attention in the past where there is no opportunity to shift today. Instead blame would have your wallow in your disappointment, disgust, and anger unable to be effective in the present moment of your Power-Within. Fear freezes attention into a future which has not happened but terrifies you into inaction, again divorced from your agency inherent in present moment awareness. Judgment ensues through your critical voice and the disappointment of failing to be worthy if only in your personal estimation.
The mindset of Future is All is framed within the big unknown and requires addressing an understanding of death. The more life goes by, the more real the specter of death becomes. Death at any age is frightening but in learning and growing, death becomes an unignorable part of personal reality.
Within the concerns of death is the issue of personal worth. All the anxiety of personal worth is loaded into the perception of your own death. Will my life matter? Will I be found worthy? Will anyone remember me or even care that I lived? What can I do to ensure my death will be gentle and afterlife heavenly?
Fear is embedded in the concerns of death because it’s the big unknown. The urge to control steps forward demandingly. The temptation to blame the past and excuse conscious choice pushes at awareness and action.
When the pain and challenge of whatever is present in life can’t be shifted, social and cultural norms relay the seemingly sane choice of planning and living life in a future which has yet to happen. The push to attain worthiness by following the dictates of the surrounding power structures can be overwhelming, especially when the choice is framed within life or death.
My mother died four months after her 60th birthday. She was healthy and happy, and she literally dropped dead from a brain aneurysm. As my 60th birthday approached, I became more concerned, more attentive to the possibility of my demise. Folks always remarked about how much we were alike. I am even named after her. I began to feel real concern, deep down that I, too, might go just like her at an early age.
After some worry, I decided I needed to pull it together and write my own story. Yes, there is much I admire in her that I hope is in me. However, that does not mean I am exactly like her in every way. Knowing the past doesn’t mean I know or can exactly determine or guarantee the future. It’s up to me to write my story and live my life. My past is accepted an my future is open.
Following my mom’s example, I took control of what I knew I had control over: Me, my choices, my actions, my thoughts, and my feelings. My present.
Plus, and maybe most importantly, I planned a party. I counted four months plus one day after my 60th birthday. The day that if I was just like my mother I would no longer exist.
I made this plan because I intended to be there, celebrating life. Plus, I reasoned with myself, if I’m not around, it wouldn’t matter to me.
Past accepted. Future open. Fears relieved. This moment for me. My sixtieth now in my rear-view mirror.
Fallacy of Future is All
There are no guarantees.
This means, in any moment, gather up what you know and make the best choices based on what truth is for you in this moment.
However, if you want the illusion of guarantee, go outside of yourself and ask someone who is willing to assume responsibility for finding your truth. They will say, “Here’s your truth!” But what this really means is they have dressed up their agenda in pretty clothes to make their words look like your truth. Then they sprinkle on some fear to scare you away from doing anything other than serve their agenda.
Next, they’ll tell you how valuable you will become by following the path they have laid out for you. They will tell you that you will be more valuable than those who choose a different way. They will tell you that they are sharing guaranteed secrets only the worthy receive. They will promise you heaven and claim ability to vanquish the unbelievers to a special, horrible hell.
They will appear to stand as guardians of the gate against the radicals who threaten the safety and sanctity of your existence. They will scare you and frighten you and appeared to be the only possible saviors of your life and the only ones who can guarantee safe passage into the future.
Then they will tell you that if the plan fails, it’s because you didn’t believe enough, you failed to act properly and follow through correctly. In fact, do this now to prove your loyalty. This being something which you would probably never do on your own and doesn’t feel exactly right to you – but they know better than you, amirite?
At the same time, they will tell you that you and they are up against a horrible evil which might undo everything you hold sacred and necessary to live. Please give time and money so the cause can fight and win. Please see yourself aligned entirely with truth so everyone can be guaranteed existence without the horrors of those who threaten truth, liberty, and our much more precious lives. In fact, let us take their liberty and their lives so that they no longer stand in the way of us getting what we deserve. This sacred future, they say, can only be attained by means that you know deep down should never be justified.
What you don’t see – until you do – is the division, the separation, the repudiation of anything which doesn’t serve the agenda of the power structure.
For in the end, the success of their tactics comes in separating you from your personal awareness of you in this moment. You cannot find a way to be present to you and your life now when substituted outside agendas separate you from believing in your value and trust of your ability to choose for yourself.
Fear pushed through the Power-Over agenda dehumanizes everyone. Their fear characterizes anyone not loyal to the cause as bad and evil. The fear causes you to see others through false labels and faulty innuendo. The fear separates your agency from this moment and holds it hostage in the future that has not occurred and probably will never be reality.
Fear’s success is entirely dependent on your belief that Future is All. This is the justification that asks you to release your connection with all of humanity, to stand in judgment of those who are said to threaten what is presented as truth and which are really misstatements, sins of omission, and false distortions which can never deliver the certainty promised, nor the safe future guaranteed.
Sometimes these promises are embedded in political agendas. Sometimes the promises are found in religious dogma. Sometimes the promises are wrapped in the words both of caution and threat from loved ones. Sometimes, personal anxiety is so acute or personal safety seems so precarious, that there seems to be no real choice but to believe or, at least, act as if you believe.
Future is All succeeds through the convincing use of causation. If this is true, then that will happen. The if-statement describes present action required to receive the benefit of the then-statement of a promised future. If you believe and act on this, then you will receive this reward.
In other words, causation attempts to determine fate and does so in a way which will frighten you from trying to live any other way. Couched in terms of perceived wisdom by someone who is an authority – and you are not – means that you are discouraged on all levels to ignore your agency to thrive based on your hard-earned personal understanding and experience.
Divided, separated, intimidated, putting all your eggs in the basket of tomorrow seems to be the reasonable course of action.
Then a new iteration of causation says that really you have no choice because past action – including the awful things you did in a past life – now limits options, narrows the path, and works to make you believe that because of the past, there is no option now because the future has already been decided. Karma, you are told, has already determined your future path.
Believing in Future is All, karma becomes both reason and excuse for laying down choice and self-belief.
Karma works because embedded in almost any religious description of death is the concept of final judgment either by the divine or her representative. There is no relief to be found as the elements of judgment are not definitively defined. Even within one religion, different factions argue on the scope and the definition of the focus. Maybe all that’s necessary is belief, whether that be belief in a set of standards, in the existence of a savior, or in the causation chain which defines what happens if-then. From another perspective, guarantee only comes through specified actions, deeds, and responses. To succeed as good, belief is not enough, specific action is required.
These arguments also support the idea that all of life has purpose and if you will push to learn, especially from experts, what the purpose of your life is meant to be, then you will have the secret, personalized knowledge you need to prove your worth and guarantee a rewarded afterlife. Caught in the causal chain, if I find my secret to a worthy life, then I guarantee my future. Life’s efforts become focused on finding purpose in order to be in service properly and successfully prove worth.
Thus, Future is All is not only an answer to how to secure a worthy life and thus a worthy death, Future is All helps navigate the murky waters of final judgment, the hazards of predetermination and karma, and the possibility of a fate worse than death.
Additionally, the emphasis of Future is All paints a picture of a possible utopia and seems to guarantee that this picture will soon be reality. Utopia is presented as the place of the known and the local because it has successfully expelled strangers, the unknown, and the bad, unenlightened, “low vibration,” people. In this perfect environment, the evil has been cast out and existence will be peaceful and without the current disturbances and challenges.
Power-Over goes to this trouble to be in control and to determine what is good and what is bad, what is human and what is not. However, the exercise of power is, more importantly, a game of dominance, a game to be won at all costs, a game which is easily constructed to ensure that losers get nothing, and the power structure wins the entire ante. Even if you become a member of the power structure, the machinations and the ever-shifting tides and game pieces create a persistent land mine field from which safe exit does not occur. Additionally, players are pushed to sacrifice personal integrity to the game so that power wins regardless of cost.
Thus, because contrary to what you were assured, however the power game shifts, the future will not deliver the false promises. Your welfare, the attainment of your hopes and dreams, and your safety were never the true goals of the power game. The goal was more strength, more status, and more power at your expense even though your benefit was the offered excuse to justify the means which now threatens the foundation of your existence.
Further, while I will get into this at a deeper level in a future chapter, it is important to acknowledge that part of the success of Future is All is also based on the belief held by some that certain humans are better than other humans. The various standards utilized to determine value range from gender, race, and age to country of origin, religion, and political views. In fact, within any detail of consideration utilized to compare or contrast people are points for discrimination, judgment, and elevation of one person over another. The presence of this discrimination adds to the fear which leverages Future is All as the safest way to guarantee future outcomes and secure a place as one of the chosen few.
Frames, Trajectory, and Accountability
A picture hanging on one of the walls of my home is held by a wooden frame created by my Grandfather from wood he retrieved from a broken raised-bed garden frame in his garden. I know because I watched his creative process from start to finish. The picture is an oil painting done with love for me by my Grandmother. I love the painting because I witnessed its creation as well. Plus, I remember the two of them bickering over it a bit.
“Flora,” my Grandfather began. “The shadow on the barn is not quite right given where you say the sun is located in the picture.”
My Grandmother smiled at me, paused in her painting, and turned to her husband of over fifty years at the time.
“Thank you, honey!” She began as the playful twinkle in her eyes intensified. “You are always so helpful and en-light-ening.”
My Grandfather returned her comment with his own playful grin. The painted shadow remained unchanged.
Every time I see the painting, the frame always makes me think of these two loving grandparents who doted on me and constantly demonstrated the power of love.
The picture frame is a concrete reminder of perspective, viewpoint, lens, and perception.
How we experience life frames our view of life. The frames we choose give both view and interpretation of experience.
Like the stories in our heads and the judgment of the critical voice, our frame of reference in any moment is both creation based on previous experience and a choice in the moment on how that experience will be understood in the moment.
Who you are, who you perceive yourself to be gives shape to your frames.
In the same way, who you think someone else is and who you are told others are also combine with and add to the essence of your frames.
Whether the term you use is lens, point of view, or perspective, I am describing how you look at, explain, and experience life.
A frame is a how. A frame is interpretation. A frame is both conscious and unconscious. A frame develops from the stories you create to understand life.
Future is All is a frame which focuses attention and choice toward tomorrow away from today.
Most importantly, as a frame, Future is All shifts the trajectory of personal awareness and action to Outside-In. In other words, Future is All externalizes the initial moments of your awareness. You look to another first before considering your internal experience. If you are not aware of this, when you finally look inward, your introspection maintains the external frame, and not a self-determined one, for reference and understanding.
Power-Over succeeds when this Outside-In frame is maintained, frozen in place, and left unquestioned or outside of personal attention and awareness.
External frames emerge from external standards, play on fear, gain strength through judgment, and perpetuate discriminatory labels.
Many external frames are easy to spot because they usually begin with the blanket assessment of “All people who XYZ.” The label of XYZ is intended to dehumanize individuals by association with the unwanted, and falsely paint a picture intended to frighten and manipulate.
Frames are not to be eliminated – though there are many you’ll want to analyze and release. Instead, the primary effort is awareness of the frames you use to explain yourself and through which you interpret the world.
Thinking of all the ways people are evaluated will give you a clue of your personal frames. Your gender, age, race, ethnicity, country of origin – all of these will create frames of understanding and explanation for you. Your favorite color, your second-grade teacher, and the view from the window of your home will also inform and infuse your frames. Beliefs, emotions, and reactions add their own coloring to how your frames mediate your life. Everything about who you were, are, and can become are part of your frames. This is why you can’t eliminate frames all together. This is why frames are about conscious, personal awareness focused within over time.
The other point of attention is the trajectory of your awareness. Where does your awareness begin? Outside of you, initiated by what others say and do? Or do you begin within?
The most damaging effect of Future is All is that this is an external frame which replaces or bullies your own personal frames and reinforces an external origin to the trajectory of your awareness.
The direction of your awareness is your choice. Within Future is All, life’s motion will feel like everything is happening outside of you first and you will feel compelled to chase and grab after life as a fleeting, scarce commodity.
Future is All reinforces a sense of disconnection, a sense that unless you follow-through with the externalized agenda, you will be alone. You will miss out. The motion, the trajectory of your life is estranged, distant, just outside of your grasp unless you are able to synch your effort with external belief.
This is where the fear of missing out (FOMO) originates. The more compelled you feel to chase and run after, the stronger the fear of missing out, and the more impactful all externalized frames seem to become.
Living life Outside-In reinforces the need to rely on external expertise, while deferring self-responsibility and self-truth to Power-Over. The proving of self-worth becomes hinged on elements entirely outside of your self-determination unless you can successfully play the power game.
This creates a motion which is random, chaotic, and like playing whack-a-mole, leaves you constantly guessing what will be the most efficient motion in the next moment.
Here’s the response to this form of insanity: Shift your frame away from external perspectives, consciously choose your frame, and respond within your personal trajectory from Inside-Out. With the self-presence of personal power you are aware of what assists you and what is no longer truthful.
I know you have heard the statement: You create your own reality. But what does this really mean? How do you achieve this goal? How is this related to Future is All?
Your reality is what you see and experience through your frames. Your reality is how you interpret your interaction and awareness of yourself and others. Your reality is within your agency. Your reality is your choice.
Frames are reality, create reality, and are formed by reality. You create your reality through the choice of your frames based on personal experience and understanding, based on belief, thought, and emotion.
In making this choice, the motion of your life will shift to Inside-Out. Slowly you will realize that you no longer need to chase after.
Now you are aware that your life’s motion has shifted. By beginning within, the trajectory of your awareness shifts. You become aware that life is moving toward you. You no longer to need to fearfully chase after, grabbing at the wisps. Instead, deep breath in, and through the frame of you here in your reality now, life moves toward you ready for your choice and your response. In the awareness which begins within, you are able to release what no longer serves you including the external frames which are not yours and don’t serve the best you can be and become in this moment if you trust and begin within.
However, to make this shift to moving within your internal frames requires personal accountability and self-responsibility.
The primary reason someone will base life on external frames, especially Future is All, is to avoid the perceived dangers of assuming responsibility for the flow of their life.
Future is All provides access to an easy scapegoat for failure, for disappointment, for a loss of that guaranteed future. In fact, there are two scapegoats: the external agenda itself as well as those who you have been warned fight against the chosen agenda.
When your trajectory of action and choice moves to Inside-Out, you are now required to answer for both your triumphs and your failures. Being accountable for the win doesn’t hold much downside. However, answering for loss requires a strong sense of personal integrity and an inner resiliency which doesn’t immediately fall into despondency, harsh self-criticism, and the assumption lack of personal worth makes you entirely responsible for whatever “failed.”
By deferring to the frames of Power-Over you have a fallback position to blame and deflect, a focus for anger and defamation. Failure is not yours; it is clearly someone else or a group of someones who you were warned were out to get you and the other chosen.
Thus, the failure is not for you to answer. Not even your responsibility because in accepting the external agenda as your frame you made the right choice. Responsibility and accountability rest elsewhere.
However, if you are taking the challenging road and doing your work, you will understand that self-responsibility is a foundational truth along with your intrinsic self-worth.
There is an inner dissonance which occurs when you live life out of synch with personal truth. Awareness of action and choice made within an external trajectory of Outside-In feels odd, pushes at integrity, and creates its own intolerable, painful imbalance.
Balance and alignment within all aspects of body, mind, heart, and soul only occurs when your awareness and personal response begins within. Willingness to be accountable powers every aspect of personal worth, truth, choice, and resiliency.
Claiming wholeness in this way shifts the personal frame called perfection. No longer blindly seeking perfection from an Outside-In approach, action and choice are framed within the perspective of what feels truthful and aligned with who you are and can become.
Life is not about attaining perfection. Instead, life begins within, opening the door to learn, grow, and understand within this moment.
To begin within connects you to your power within which is always connected to and is an expression of this moment, here, now. More importantly, this connection transcends the limits and fears of the local and the static and brings the trajectory of your awareness into the dynamic frame of the nonlocality of universal connection.
With this frame, scapegoats for failure are not necessary. Instead, the awareness shifts into an understanding that failure is not a lack of perfection. Failure is more about shirking accountability. Judgment and criticism shifted into a nonlocal frame understands that their presence is information and feedback from what was unknown now moving into a space of clarity and understanding.
Begin within the origin of your awareness and the origin of your power and value. You will find that Future is All is now no longer a frame you choose.
Begin within and your life becomes empowered by personal truth to which you are willingly, capably accountable.
To learn more about the concepts within To Do Your Work, begin with this article: The Spiritual Practice of Personal Power.