Most people treat the waking state like it’s a job. From the moment you wake each morning, the now only exists to honor the past and to prepare for the future. In this state, all that is alive, all that is possible, and all that is inspiring and beautiful is overlooked.
To live your present moment in service to the past is to limit yourself by promises made and expectations placed upon you. The range of what is allowed is defined by your mind’s memory of your past, which you believe is your identity. In this state, no true growth or change is possible even as you believe you are working toward a better future.
The other part of your mind’s awareness is the imagined future. You have big dreams, plans, and goals which you hope will preserve what is good about your life and lead to greater happiness through wealth, status, a relationship, possessions, or something else external. Your now is used only for doing things you do not want to do because of an imagined future where something is supposed to change and you are supposed to be happy. This, you call discipline.
What I am describing is the unawakened state, in which you fail to notice the absurdity of spending all your life doing what you do not want to be doing and being who you do not want to be. Observe how your mind rationalizes present-moment misery by making the past and future what is real.
While the concepts of past and future are real to the mind, the truth is that you are not your mind and everything exists only now. If you treat the now as a job to honor the past and prepare for the future, you will live as if you are sleep-walking through various states of misery. Only by letting go of the past and future and observing the absurdity of the mind, anything is possible (even pure love and lasting happiness). This is called awakening, and it is the only path to unlimited possibilities. We continue tomorrow and each day after that.