It is very tempting to live in the past. In fact, most of us do. Psychologists tell us that most of our conscious thoughts are thoughts of the past. We replay old scenes in our minds; we fight old battles; we recall past joys; and most of all we find ourselves stuck in the pains of the past. We spend much energy reliving old scenes over and over again. The sad part is that the past is over.
The second most common place for our minds to dwell, after the past, is in the future. Our minds are filled with hopes, fantasies, and fears for the future. We want to create a future exactly as we dream it should be. We have an ideal vision and want to realize that vision but our fears and conflicts nag at us, jeopardizing our future. Ironically, most of our fears for the future never materialize.
from When the Lion Roars by Stephen K. Rossetti (Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, IN 2003)
A monk told Joshu: "I have just entered the monastery. Please teach me."
Joshu asked: "Have you eaten your rice porridge?"
The monk replied: "I have eaten."
Joshu said: "Then you had better wash your bowl."
At that moment the monk was enlightened.
Koan #7 - Joshu Washes the Bowl from The Gateless Gate by Ekai (called Mu-mon, circa 1228)