This is the aspiration that inspires us to keep on keeping on through the difficulties of life. It’s a very necessary kind of hope.
This hope has a wide focus. It is non-specific and is similar to a sword that helps cut through our difficulties and uncertainties.
Then there are specific hopes. This is the hope for definite, specified outcomes. I refer to this as a different type of hope.
Examples are: “I hope I will get this job.” “I hope my friend gets well.” “I hope I have enough money to pay the mortgage.” “I hope I never……………….” (finish it with anything you would like to avoid)
These hopes are usually charged with anxiety. We worry that they won’t come about — or that they will!
When we are honest with ourselves I’m willing to bet we could all admit to having had many hopes that resulted in disappointment. True?
I liken this second kind of hope to a sword that cuts into our hearts, wounding us over and over.
In Dante’s Inferno there is the sign on the gates of Hades that reads: “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here, for you will not get out alive.”
I believe Dante was speaking about the second kind of hope.
Remember Jesus’ paradoxical teaching about having to die to life in order to find life? (Luke 17:33)
In a similar way we have to die to whatever we think needs to happen, for only then can we really live. When we are attached to specific outcome there is no freedom.
Rumi has said to be suspicious of our wants. They so often lead to unhappiness.
Everything physical is transitory, and nothing (no thing) is going to last. We need to give up hope that it will! For that hope is hopeless.
We may hope against hope that bodies won’t age and our loved ones will get well, and stay well. Or hope people will begin to listen to reason. Hope others will understand us and then act differently. We hope someone in particular will love us.
This so often leads to bewilderment and sadness. We sometimes even doubt there is a loving God.
Dante goes on to say:
“In the middle of the journey of life I found myself in a dark wood, having lost the straight path….”
Sometimes it’s called a midlife crisis, or a depression.
No matter how we got into those dark woods, there is a way out.
The way out is in and through.
It’s called learning to trust universal love. The love that is yet to be born and always is. This love is unshakable. It is our ground of being.
As we place our hope and our faith here, we learn to lesson our desire, cravings for specific outcomes. Instead we ask God to reveal to us what needs to take place within our own hearts and minds.
If we don’t want our past to be our future, we need to change the shape of our minds.
Perhaps our specific hopes and goals could be suggestions only, given to the universe as an indication of what we’d really like to happen— but with no demands — trusting the universe to unfold in divine order.
Praying, “Nevertheless, Thy will be done, not mine.” And really mean it!
Hope for the goodness of God only! And be willing to wait patiently for it.
This is a path to liberation and happiness.