Do you Live in the " Here and Now " ? Or Live for " Heaven" or " Paradise " ?

by flipper 22 Replies latest jw friends

  • flipper

    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

  • flipper

    BTTT, Peace out, Mr. Flipper ( Failure to respond to this thread means you'll have no " paradise " or " heaven " in your future ! )

  • cult classic
    cult classic

    I was a typical JW with every boring detail mapped out by my parents. Get baptized, pioneer, get married, set an example for all... yadda yadda yadda. I was indoctrinated to be very very afraid to take a risk. Lest I lose my life. Well I lost my life anyway. Lost it to this bootleg of a religion.

    Now I'm slowly learning what it means to live. To go with the flow. To let go is something I struggle with daily. I have moments of paralyzing fear when it hits me that I don't "have" to do anything. And yet I "can" do what I want. Know what I mean?

    As a JW I did not live for "today". I was in suspended animation trying to get to that new system so that I could "live the real life".

  • tia.dalma

    As a Jehovah's Witness I live with the thought of the Paradise in my mind, I have to admitt. I make sure I have a comfortable enough living in this system, but other than that I have no ambitions for this world. I push all my desires and wants, that can't be fulfilled now, to Paradise. I don't think I experience too much that feeling of here and now... at least not in my personal life, I think I experience the feeling of here and now only when I work and have stressful periods or deadlines.

    your post has very interesting informations... I have to analyze my way of looking to life...

  • OnTheWayOut

    As a JW, I had pretty much focused on the phoney-baloney petting-lions-and-snakes future.

    Regardless of what you believe about life, life is about the journey and not the destination. You have to live for the sake of life. You can put off some stuff for retirement so that you don't have to worry about having to work until you die, but remember to live. You certainly shouldn't just wash windows 359 days a year and attend religious assemblies the other 6 days because some "real life" might be coming to you.

    As a JW, I finally finally finally took a real vacation back in 2003 or so, went on a cruise. I loved it. Travel for the sake of seeing things and enjoying myself- that was awesome. While I now don't always need to travel to get the same feeling, I do travel just for the sake of seeing things and enjoying myself. I figured out that I did it while a JW to escape what I hated about being a JW, but I do it now for the sake of the journey.

    Is that the kind of answer you are looking for?

  • cult classic
    cult classic
    I figured out that I did it while a JW to escape what I hated about being a JW, but I do it now for the sake of the journey.

    I travelled a lot. Met lots of people. Saw the world. All as a JW. I had a really good time. Lots of fun and laughs. But there was always something wrong with the lens. It's really difficult to explain. But I think you're close.

  • Farkel


    :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.

    That says it all. All the other stuff you said is just a waste of typing and your valuable time.

    When people really get the empowerment in those simple words you said, their lives will be transformed. For all long as their lives last. Explanations for those words you said do them an injustice, IMNSHO.

    "This" is it. Moment-to-moment life is "it." Nothing else matters. Not the future nor the past matters. One cannot be changed and the other is unknown.

    For every character I typed in this reply, the ONLY moment that mattered in my life is the fraction of time it took to type it. THAT was my moment of life and it disappeared as soon as I typed that character. This post is concluded and it is NOW in my past. Nothing I can do about that. Ever.

    "This" is it.

    Cheers! Welcome to life!


  • flipper

    Thanks for the comments ! Good points you folks bring up.

    CULT CLASSIC- I was like you as well being raised a JW from birth - my " future " was all mapped out for me also. My dad was an elder, then my older brother, it was expected I would follow suit. But I think it surprised many in my JW family I didn't want the position of elder. If I DID become an elder it would have CONTROLLED my future even more ! Isn't it freeing to realize we don't have to DO anything ? Go with the flow ? We were so controlled as Witnesses to be " organized " into constant expectations of meetings, field service, assemblies, personal study, and on and on. So NOT having to do all that has been VERY freedom causing for myself. It's really good that you travelled a lot and had different experiences. Good for you.

    TIA.DALMA- Welcome to the board ! Nice having you here. I think a lot of us who were Witnesses spent so MUCH time focusing on the future " paradise " - that many of us felt negativity about each day in the present . Because we were supposed to be " saved " allegedly by a Paradise future. However I have found since I disbelieve in a paradise now- I find that I VALUE each day of life I have in a much more positive way as it's all I may have !

    OTWO- Very good points you make. Yeah, I agree with you. I think I myself, went on camping or hiking trips to escape the JW rigid meeting attendance to " get away " and be in fresh air in the mountains instead of windowless , confined Kingdom halls. Like yourself- I bought into the paradise future as well , but it left me feeling empty about how I spent each day of my life in the here and now. I almost felt " guilty " for enjoying each day as a JW as if it were a " sin " to enjoy ' this system " instead of looking to a " paradise " to enjoy life. Weird. It's good you got to experience the joy of life and traveling for the enjoyments sake of the experience. Like yourself - my view is that it's about the journey we call life, not the destination. In other words, stop and smell the roses along the way ! Peace out, Mr. Flipper

  • flipper

    FARKEL- Good point. Very true, all we have is the here and now. I tend to verbalize excessive bullshit due to my conversational nature ! LOL ! In responding to you I will attempt to economize my thought processes ! LOL ! Cheers back to ya friend ! Welcome to life yourself as well ! Peace out, Mr. Flipper

  • tec

    Why not both?

    I live in the here and now, and appreciate the moments as they come (though like many people, I often take the good times for granted). I also hope for and have faith in Christ and the Kingdom.


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