The past and future are both sort of illusory. The past exists as memory, whether happy or horrible or somewhere in between, and it is gone. The only power it has is the power of muscle memory and emotional memory and the attention we give to those memories in the present. The future does not exist in time – it hasn’t happened yet, so it only exists as anticipation of events. And similar to the past, the only power it has is the power we give it by overthinking or worrying about events and circumstances that may or may not even happen.
The only thing that truly exists, at least in our current human state, is the present moment. That is where we must live if we want to experience any peace and joy and meaning in life. The only power we should give the past is to learn from it, correct the errors as best we can, forgive others and ourselves, maybe have a few laughs at things that transpired, and then move on. The only power we should give the future is to “loosely” make some plans and set some goals, with hopeful anticipation, but without being overly attached to any particular outcome.
Apart from that, for any semblance of good mental and spiritual health in this life, the thing to do is to be present to the moment – to live in the here and now – doing whatever we can to move in a direction that we’ve chosen, step by step, day by day, to create meaning for ourselves, and to benefit the world around us by being the best self that we can be, putting ourselves “out there” and sharing whatever gifts and talents we might possess.
The past is gone – learn and grow from it. The future isn’t here yet – allow it to unfold. The present is all we have – LIVE it.