But what about false despair?
Often if we give up hope we fall into despair. Despair is always false.
Despair and cynicism go together. We become cynical when we have had so many disappointments and losses that we did not attend to in a skillful manner. Often people say “Next” and move onto something else, rather than attending to their sadness and hurt. Overtime this develops a hard and even bitter attitude. It turns into hopelessness that things will get better over time.
I like the Eastern proverb that says, “If it’s not good. It’s not the end.” For there is always an eventual outworking of something higher and greater. It is a long arc, but it proceeds upward.
“Cynicism is a choice. Hope is a better choice,” Obama has wisely said.
Hope is a path towards wisdom and joy.
Hope is not wishing. Hope is something that requires effort. It often involves struggle between opening to possibilities and giving in to old habits, such as resignation and despair.
Hope (true hope—not false hope) is not connected to a certain outcome. It is an openness that believes the best possible result is already in process and will take place in due season.
Hope is patient. We await its unfolding.
And while we wait we continue to note what our attitude is. We practice mindfulness as we live each day. What is our mind doing? We step back and observe what is taking place in our mind and body.
True hope helps us release our opinions about what should happen. We realize that we really don’t know what should happen. And we remind ourselves the facts of evolutions. This great world has been evolving for the last 14 and ½ billion years. It knows how to grow and unfold. And we don’t. We begin to remember to rely on something beyond our knowing.
True hope includes faith in something higher and greater than anything we have ever experienced. It opens us to the unknown.
We might take climate change as an example. We hear plenty of information about the damage we are doing daily to our planet. We have evidence this is so by all the disastrous weather changes, storms, hurricanes, tornados, tsunamis, earthquakes, etc. that fill the news every day.
With all that is happening it is all too easy to give in to despair, believing there is no hope and that we are doomed.
I believe there is hope. But I don’t pretend to know how or what will take place to bring back balance to our beautiful Mother Earth.
First we must accept the facts of climate change and ask what we can do to help. And there is plenty. There are so many organizations in which we can become involved. We can vote for officials who believe in climate change and are willing to go toe to toe with the major offenders and polluters.
But what about our personal concerns? What is happening in our lives that may be causing anxiety or despair? How can we choose the path of hope, not knowing what the outcome will be? Hope is a way of building new neural pathways for new outcomes that will bless.
We can turn and face our dilemma knowing we are not alone. For everyone has challenges to face. It’s part of being human and learning new ways to freedom.
Whatever we are frightened about let us know that thousands of others are facing something that has a similar feeling. We are all in this together. As we join together, finding mutual support, we shall work through the difficulties.
Let us not lose hope. It is a pathway to something greater.
In great hope,