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There are four forces at war within us as we struggle to manage our lives in a more productive way. We can feel these forces tugging at us and even influencing us to a certain degree. Sometimes we can change to what degree each force controls us and sometimes we are swept by a tide out to sea before we even know something is happening.
These four forces are: the past, the present, the future, and the Spiritual Life Force that lies within each one of us: that part which drives us to become more than what we are, and which can show itself as being good, caring, productive, contributing to society, moral, and having the need to leave something of value behind for those who are struggling too. But it can also show itself as getting rid of the good, being selfish, and wanting to be productive only if it meets its needs.
Each of us have this spiritual life force inside us. We are not 100% one way or another, but most of us generally gravitate toward living our lives one way or the other. Many things influence this such as education, society, groups we interact with, and materials we have read. Family is a big influence as well as the people we choose to love.
The past is a force that consciously or unconsciously influences us. Our childhoods give us many tools to navigate within a world that now continually changes. We learn from our parents or other influential people how to treat others, how to get what we need or want, how to feel close to others and open ourselves to the community we live in. We learn to care about others or we learn only to care about those who can give us what we want. We learn how to work or not work, how to give or not give, and how to trust or not trust. Hopefully we learn basic living skills in order to become autonomous and take care of ourselves.
Children learn how to cope with the stresses they encounter getting through childhood and adolescence. Some of the coping skills that worked then may no longer work when they are adults. If their childhoods were good, the chances are high that they learned the world was a good place to live in, it is good to love others, be productive, contribute to society and to strive to live moral lives. Those that came from cold, neglectful, abusive homes were not as lucky and will struggle all of their lives to change it if they can. They received incorrect instructions for how to navigate life. A lot of them have to be educated and need to practice new skills.
A problem occurs when the past bleeds into the present through the power of transference, flashbacks, or other stimuli in the environment, triggering dysfunctional behavior patterns learned as a child and resurrecting old feeling states. Life then becomes harder to navigate.
The present is also a powerful force. It lets us know if our struggling has been for nothing or worth something. The present rewards us, for the most part, for all the successful learning we had. The present structures us in the here and now and grounds us in our reality. If our environment is pleasant and rewarding, our lives get better. If losses come, and they come for everyone, life gets harder, and the struggle more clear to others. If too many losses occur at once, there will be problems in their lives. In some, the struggles will be great.
The future is a force because it gives us hope that things will change, that all of our lives will get better. It gives us the chance to look forward to things, to dream, and plan. It imbues us with the power that anything is possible, It helps us feel we can control things, we can effect the outcomes. It is only when hope dies that the struggle becomes real and that the spiritual life force takes the greatest hit. It can become a great struggle between good and evil. These four forces do play a significant part in how successful we feel in life.