Hindsight Foresight Insight
There once was a wise man in the village who was visited by a fellow who had questions he’d been pondering for quite some time.
The fellow said to the wise man, “I’ve been trying to figure out what’s more important, Sir. The looking backwards that comes with hindsight, or the looking forward that comes with foresight? I have found that I’m able to learn lessons from past experiences by using hindsight, however, I’m also able to foresee future potential road blocks and pitfalls by using foresight.”
The wise man sat patiently, listening intently to the fellow with his question. When the fellow was finished, the wise men reached over and handed him a straight board and then asked the fellow to bend the board. The fellow tried to bend the board, but it was too thick.
"The board is like the dilemma in your question…it’s one board with two different ends," said the wise man.
"That’s exactly it, so now what?" asked the fellow.
The wise man went on to explain that one needs a balancing point, a point where you can see both ends, or both points, simultaneously. “What you need, my fellow, is insight; which is vision in the moment, that’s the transfer point between hindsight and foresight. Insight is neither hindsight or foresight, yet it is of both.”
Even more confused, the fellow muttered, “I don’t quite follow.”
The wise man continued, “Have you ever seen a teeter-totter?”
"Yes I have," replied the fellow.
"Well," said the wise man, "The focal point, or in other words, the point of balance in the middle of the teeter-totter that makes the ride possible is like insight. That focal point makes it possible for hindsight and foresight to transfer their energy and wisdom between one another. This point is also the birthplace of the two endpoints because it is the only spot that isn’t a part of the past or a part of the future. What you do at this point of insight becomes your past, and what you do here at this point of insight determines your future. So, my friend, you might say that the balance point is insight-and the board represents hindsight at one end and foresight at the other. Just as the balance point transforms a simple board into a fun ride as a teeter-totter; so does insight effect our lives when we use the balance point of insight." The wise man paused, allowing the fellow to absorb what he had said.
You see, insight operates in the moment, it’s instantaneous-it’s not of time-it’s simply a marker between the past and the future; another way to explain it would be as a porthole between the past and future. Insight is a transformational point in which life happens when one is completely attentive to each moment, to the present, which is where we live our lives, moment by moment.
The problem we so often experience is that we give our attention to the past or the future, at the expense of attending the all-important present moment. We worry about our past or fret about our future and in that process we give up our opportunity to exercise any influence we have in our lives, which can only happen in the here and now.
© V.P. Mosser