Managing your expectations


Expectations, are they ever a good thing?

I have come to see that expectations are a dominant force in our daily lives, and something that can cause each of us a great deal of disappointment. Yet the idea of living a life free of any and all expectations seems beyond that which is achievable by mere mortals. From small and mindless expectations like waking up in the morning, to great expectations like having a financially secure future. And with thousands more expectations in our day-to-day lives, we also are constantly setting ourselves up for disappointment and disillusionment. And certainly the prospects of a bright, healthy and secure future gives most of us a sense of safety and comfort. While the truth is that we have no guarantees of anything in this life, including life itself. Just because one works hard and lives a life of honesty and integrity does not insure even one day of joy. Sickness, suffering, decay and disappointment are sure to find you regardless of your ethics. So which expectation proved to be conducive to finding peace in your life?

Carrying around this burden of pollutants is a heavy load to bear. And I can remember Bhante Sujatha saying to me years ago “empty empty, happy happy”, and not really understanding what he meant. Empty meaning the elimination of all these sources of dissatisfaction. And as we let go, or eliminate these poisons, our load becomes much lighter. We are freer, lighter and more peaceful the less that we carry. The burden of these mental and physical delusions fall away little by little and we begin to see that less is truly more. Call it the abundance of nothingness.

While all of this may sound a bit unrealistic to some of you, I can assure you that it is very attainable through practice. And this is why meditation is such a powerful foundation for growth and understanding. As we sit in meditation, we have a rich opportunity to observe our physical bodies and our minds. And it quickly becomes evident that each moment passes quickly with no way to observe the last one or the next. This present awareness is the foundation for letting go. Becoming empty of the past and future, letting go of desires and clinging, and having no expectations of that space. That breath, that space, simply is what it is.
And the fruits of our meditation become quickly evident in the observation of our mind and bodies state of ease and calm. The more we let go, the more that we gain. This is truly love of another kind. Boundless and bright love with an unconditional acceptance and lightness that you brought about through the observance of this moment. How wonderful!

I suggest that each of us practice our loving kindness and compassion in a way that expects less and offers more. More of ourselves being fully present and aware of everything that is contained in this moment, with a full realization that, like all things, it too is impermanent.

May you be well, happy and peaceful.