There is a story about Buddha and a musician who was discouraged with his meditation practice.
The Buddha asked :”What happens when you tune your instrument too tightly?”
“The strings break,” the musician replied.
“And what happens when you string it too loosely?”
“When it’s too loose, no sound comes out,” the musician answered. “The string that produces a tuneful sound is not too tight and not too loose.”
“That,” said the Buddha, “is how to practice: not too tight and not too loose.”
This story is about the practice of meditation. However I have also found it relevant in a different context which is more relevant to modern life. It is about the balance we need in our thoughts about goals and the life in the present moment.
Sometimes, I get too trapped into the future. In to the thoughts of having built something extraordinary. Into goals and future lifestyle that I would love to have. But if you think of the best things you have created, you have only done that with complete involvement in the present and without any thoughts of the outcome. However, you started creating something in the present because you had a future vision about it.
It is good to know that feeling, that experience of having achieved the desired results. It drives us to take immediate actions. It enables us to plan out our way backwards to the present. But once we are done planning, we need to come back to now. Because all our best creations will only take place with a concentrated flow of energy in the moment.
Being in the present all the time is beautiful, but not always very practical. Being in the future all the time is an illusion. So it is essential to find a balance between the amount of focus on the future and the focus on the present.
One other thing to notice is that when you have a goal, you know what you want. You have an image or a video of a lifestyle in your mind. But you don’t necessarily know the path. You have worked out the path through your own logic, but at times you need to be flexible enough to recognize opportunities which are way beyond your ability to comprehend. It is called a miracle. Miracles occur When we expect something that is planned and the universe presents to us something much much better that we could never have imagined. It is the response of the superconscious mind to your desires.
Set goals. Know where you want to go and make plans. Once you do that, come back to the present moment and work with full concentration. Both these states of mind are a message to the unconscious mind. It is not easy to do this. It is a long struggle. but once you find the balance, creation becomes effortless.