How much of the anxiety that we experience is caused by a sense of uncertainty about how things are going to turn out? If the Buddha is right that suffering comes in when the mind is not in the present moment, than it is reasonable to conclude that a good deal of this suffering is caused by the mind being in the future. The solution to this problem is to simply train the mind not to indulge in conjecture about what the future will bring. Through meditation practice we develop a sense of calm about the future because we know that we are taking care of business in the present. That is the formula to happiness that the Buddha discovered and laid out for us.

An example will help to illustrate the point here. If a person is trying to get to a particular destination but he does not know how to get there, he will experience a great deal of anxiety as he travels along the journey. Why does he experience this anxiety? It is because he does not know where he’s going. He does not have a map nor does he know the correct sequence of turns to get to his destination. He does not know which actions to take now to assure him success later. If we apply this example to our lives, we can see that the same applies to our own anxiety. If we do not understand which present actions lead to happiness and which lead to misery and suffering, we will experience a great deal of anxiety about the future. However, if we have learned through direct knowledge obtained through meditation practice the laws of karma and the mind, we will know exactly what actions to undertake in the present to achieve happiness and avoid suffering and so the anxiety we experience will cease.

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