Looking Forward on September 11th

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Imagine getting into your vehicle, putting it into gear and then trying to drive while looking backwards over your shoulder. Wouldn’t work too well, would it? Instinct would tell you not to touch the gas pedal for fear of hitting something. If you forced yourself to go, it would be tough to keep it going straight. If you managed to go straight, you’d still be in trouble because you wouldn’t see what was coming or be able to avoid people who move into your path. Obviously, you can’t drive this way, yet this is how many of us try to live our lives.

You can’t move forward while looking back.

Today is September 11th. It’s the tenth anniversary of that fateful day — you know the one, I don’t need to tell you about it. All day long, we’ll be prompted to remember what happened. For many, the memories are so strong, they will be pulled backward in time to relive it. If you watch TV today, you will see lots of memorials and some messages of fear; you’ll be drawn into remembering the past.

Remembering is not an entirely bad thing, but it’s a form of looking backward, and if you want to move forward, you will have to limit your remembering. You’ll have to very consciously control your thoughts and switch to looking forward after you’re done remembering.

When you focus very strongly on your future, you rocket forward towards it, but when you think about the past, you move forward tentatively — slowly, hesitantly, shifting back and forth — like a person trying to walk down a pitch black hallway he or she’s never been down before. You can’t help but move forward — time doesn’t travel in reverse — but it will be slow and scary. If you focus on your future, with a clear picture of what you want it to be, you will move toward it very quickly. The more often you focus, the more quickly you will move.

So, I’m not saying don’t remember what happened today. I’m not saying to pretend it didn’t happen. I’m just saying, don’t get wrapped up in remembering and caught up in the drama of it all. Come back to the present. Dream about your future. Fantasize about a happier, more peaceful future for the whole planet, if you like. Believe it can happen. And look forward while you drive.

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