The child is free. He has no past. The old man is not free. He has a long past. The child has nothing to look back to, he has everything to look forward to – he has the future just opening up for him, a great adventure. The old man has nothing in the future. Everything has happened. And all that has happened goes on cluttering his mind. It is a weight that pulls him down backwards, it does not allow him to move with the times. He lags behind.
Memory is what roots you in the past. Unless you become so free of memory that you need not look back – memory no longer disturbs you, memory no longer clouds you – you will not be able to live in the present. And if you cannot live in the present the future is not yours – because the future is contacted only through living in the present, the future becomes a reality only through living in the present. The present is the door by which the future enters in and the past goes out. If you are looking at the past you will miss the future, because during the time you are looking at the past, the future is entering into the present and you cannot look both ways simultaneously. You have eyes to look forward, you don’t have eyes at the back of your head. Nature never intended you to look back otherwise your eyes would have been at the back of your head. Nature has intended that you should be looking forwards, nature has not given you any instrument to look backwards.
So when you look back you have to turn back, and during the moment that you are looking back and your head is turned to the dead past, the future is turning into the present. You will miss that birth, you will always miss the future turning into the present – and that is the only reality there is.
Now, what happens? If you are interested too much in the past, attached too much to your memories, you start creating an unreal future too – in the imagination. A man who is too attached to the past projects a future also. He lives in the memory and through the memory he creates an imagined future. Both are unreal. The past is no more, you cannot live it again, there is no possibility. That which is gone is gone forever, it is impossible to bring it back. Because it is impossible to bring it back you start imagining a similar type of future, something similar – a little more decorated, a little more sweet, a little better. You start imagining a future but that future is based on your past experience. On what else can it be based?
You loved a woman. Almost everything was good in the woman except for a few things. Now you project a dream: in the future you will find a woman who will be as good as the past woman but with those wrong habits deleted, with those wrong habits dropped. In the future you will have a house as beautiful as in the past, more beautiful – but you will manage to have a few things which were not there in the past.
Your imagination is nothing but a modified past. This is how people are living. The past is no more and the future is nothing but a desire to repeat the past – of course, in a better way, but it is the same past. You ate something yesterday, you would like to eat it again tomorrow. Yesterday you loved a man or a woman, tomorrow you would again like to love a man or a woman. You want to repeat.