Yesterday morning I sat on the beach at Half Moon Bay, in Northern California and watched the waves. I looked out to sea. I was squinting —  at the future. What did I see? I saw a future in which I reflect, learn, write, think and speak about what is true.

In other words, I see a future that extends and expands on what my whole life has been about — figuring out what is true and sharing that with other people.  The path ahead for me looks like the path behind.

Later in the day I hiked the little creek trail at Butano State Park near Pescadero, hoofing it lazily through sword ferns and sorrel with my wife Linda, weaving through the giant redwoods, following the little stream thorugh patches of gorgeous green sunlight and shade. We paused, sat on a log, took it in and I did a little more squinting, again, trying to see the future — my future adventuring through the divine sunshine, shadow and splendor of the known universe.

What is the future? It is a vast ocean,  seen and unseen, known a bit by exploration, not nearly all known yet. The future is a redwood forest, mostly unknown, except the trail, the one taken out, and then taken back again.

It is said that sixty percent of the planet is covered by water more than a mile deep. Seventy-nine percent of the entire volume of the earth’s biosphere consists of waters with depths greater than 1,000 meters. We lilve on a deep planet that we have not nearly explored.

There is so  much that is yet unknown.  Neuroscientists estimate that we are conscious of only about five percent of our own cognitive activity. We have depths, inside of us, unchartered waters, operating in sync with our organs, our emotions  and our actions. It isn’t that we aren’t using all of our brain  power; we are always using a good deal of it, without being aware of it.  We are oceans,  we are forests, yet waiting to be discovered.

And so I am squinting,  along with many other people,  at the future, because I want to see what is coming, and I want to control it a little bit, if that is possible, by the wise choices I make.

What is out there?

One way to cxplore our own human consciousness and its tie to the future is through paying attention.

How?

By paying attention to our own consciousness, and by exploring our unconsciousness, by getting  below the surface of the self. To do that, it looks to me like we must stop, pause, rest, rest deep, reflect, pay attention, consider options, choose.  This means looking back along the path we have come from, and then looking forward along the path that goes back to where we came from.

I don’t do too much of this kind of looking, becuase I stay busy, with work and play. Many moderns do. It’s good, it’s healthy, but what is needed to grow in self-awareness and meta-awareness and to see further into what can yet be. This will require some deep rest, long time outs, extended inactivity, a cessation of activity, a time for looking, just looking and listening to self, past, present, future and God.

I recommend more of this. We need to stop, take stock, consider the possibilities, explore options, listen to the future, watch for the flow of time in a given direction, make plans.

Some might counter, but you just can’t know, and you certainly can’t control the future. I disagree. We can know possibilites, we can see potential, we can see options and we may — if health doesn’t fail and people intrude —  even choose some of what will be. If God is willing, we may travel the same path twice, going in different directions, foward and back and begin to see a bit ahead a different angle on what we have seen before.

I give you deep rest, I recommend deep consideration, deep planning, hoping, thinking, brooding, listening,  acting. I suggest moving with the flow of the divine, moving with the rhythms of liffe, looking out to sea, looking up the trail, looking, looking, looking.

In front of you,  your future.

Will you take it?

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