Sorry, I accidentally posted a partial title, then hit the submit button, my bad.
As Jehovah's Witnesses we all were told that this world we live in is temporary . That we lived in a " temporary system of things " which was soon to be replaced - allegedly - by a " new system of things " in which nobody would ever die, be sick, or be cruel, or sin anymore. Or some churches teach that when you die - you'll float off to " heaven " to be with God- allegedly.
Speaking from personal experience of 44 years as a Jehovah's Witness- I found that by constantly focusing on the future " paradise " it drained me of many joys I could experience in the here and now- the present. Really when you think about it - all we have is the moment at hand. The past is gone, the future hasn't arrived - it's ALWAYS in the future. So many people I knew who were JW's just existed in the present like they were corpses , shells of a human being going through the motions of day to day living - yet being told by the WT society to NOT rejoice in today because the REAL future would be in the future Paradise. Psychologically I believe this messed up Witnesses heads and mental health to NOT enjoy today !
An interesting quote from a well known psychologist Frederick Perls in his book " Gestalt Therapy Verbatim " helped me to see beyond the limited views of Jehovah's Witnesses or OTHER religions . On page 45 he states, " So how about the future ? We don't know anything about the future. If we all had crystal balls, even then we wouldn't experience the future. We would experience a VISION of the future. And all this is taking place in the here and now. We imagine, we anticipate the future because we don't want to HAVE a future. So the most important existential saying is, we don't want to have a future , we are afraid of the future. We fill in the gap where there should be a future with insurance policies, status quo, sameness, ANYTHING so as not to experience the possibility of openness to the future. "
He continues, " We also cannot stand the nothingness , the openness, of the past . We are not willing to have the idea of eternity - " It has always been " - so we have to fill it in with the story of creation. Time has started somehow. People ask, " When did time begin ? " The same applies to the future. It seems incredible that we could live without goals, without worying about the future, that we could be open and ready for what might come. No ; we have to make sure that we HAVE no future, that the status quo should remain, even be a little bit better. But we musn't take risks, we musn't be open to the future. Something could happen that would be new and exciting, and contributing to our growth. It's too dangerous to take the growth risk. We would rather walk this earth as half-corpses than live dangerously, and realize that this living dangerously is much safer than this insurance-life of safety and not taking risks , which most of us decide to do. "
Then he goes on to summarize most people see risk-taking as a negative expectation - they don't consider the POSITIVE outcomes that could occur by letting go and not trying to constantly control our future. So - these are some interesting theories that have helped me after exiting the Witnesses to live day to day. Just wanted to share them with you. So I'm interested in your thoughts and observatins on this Psychologists views and outlooks.
As a JW did you have challenges living in the here and now ? Were you happy with just " today " ? Or did you NEED to have yor future TOTALLy planned out with " Paradise " or " Heaven " if you are another religion ? Let's engage in some interesting discussions about this. Appreciate your observations