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A Few Thoughts on Expectations

March 26, 2020

Turbulent times turn our projected futures into dust.

The dreams we had, and the memories we looked forward to having, all get erased in a flash.

As our plans get disrupted, so does our sense of certainty.

We get angry, frustrated, scared. We despair over the hope for a certain future that’s been lost.

Much of this frustration comes from our expectations, and particularly from how we hold them.

Tightly held expectations create attachment, and attachment creates suffering.

Attachment is suffering, the Buddha said. Our responses to the disruption of established models and structures show how attached we have been.

So what can we do? We can’t get rid of expectations and plans, after all. They will always be necessary.

But what if held our expectations lightly?

What if we didn’t cling to past as a blueprint of the future?

What if we still had dreams and goals, but didn’t base our self-worth on their attainment?

What if we welcomed everything that arises?

Welcoming everything that arises, in this sense, doesn’t mean supporting or condoning what happens. It simply means receiving what life presents, and meeting it head on.

It’s a stance of willingly engaging in a conversation with reality, rather than denying its appearance.

It’s the ability to use the here-and-now as the map, rather than persisting with outdated expectations that no longer apply.

It’s a process of being born again into the reality of each and every moment.

This is the moment.

This post is part of a new series:


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