Why we are constantly correctly predicting the future,
and what we may be missing because of it.
You already have a pretty good idea of how this sentence Is going to end.
Like all living things you and I are optimized to be aware of and remember patterns of objects and events around us. Like all those who came before us, we use this awareness to remember where the good food and opportunities for reproduction are. We use it to notice when there are bears around, or other people who might hurt us. We tell other people these stories to help them learn the patterns we think are important.
Pattern recognition and prediction are so deeply a part of us that we scarcely notice we are doing it. Once you learn to read, can you not read something in that language when you see it?
Here are some pretty good predictions I have made earlier today that have come true:
· Some time before or after I wake up, darkness will turn to light
· Shortly after that I will eat some food I have stored.
· My dog will insist on walking around the neighbourhood and I will go with her.
· I will check my email to see if someone wants to communicate with me.
· I will do some ‘work’ with my computer.
Here are some still pending predictions:
· Sometime towards noon my dog will tell me I need to eat some more stored food (and share some with her).
· I will go out of my shelter and trade for more food that I want.
· Sometime between 5 and 6pm I will eat some more stored food.
· Light will turn to dark.
· I will go to bed and sleep.
Boooring….but we all do this all the time. We do it so much and so often that we often don’t allow that anything else might happen. Bad things like earthquakes, tsunamis, war, accidents, meteors, stupidity and black swans can all stop these predictions from coming true.
On the other hand there are many positive things that could happen to prevent these predictions from coming true. You could get taken out to dinner, get a raise, win the lottery, get a marriage proposal, have a child, attain spiritual enlightenment…or simply be present where and when you are right now.
If you can just get through now, then most likely all the things you predict (expect) to happen will eventually get here. But you may not notice, because you’ll be focusing on the next thing after that.
Notice how most of those things listed above that could happen unexpectedly are out of your control? The one thing you can do is stop thinking about what will happen (and how you’ll be more or less happy then) and just be here, now.
· Take a long slow breath.
· Close your eyes and listen to the many layers of sound close, near and far.
· What can you smell?
· What is the texture of all the things touching you?
· Open your eyes and see the shapes and colours all around.
· Are you safe here?
Now you’ve read the list, go back and do them one at a time.