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 which 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. Over time, this develops a hard and even bitter attitude. It turns into hopelessness instead of hopefulness 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 may be a long arc, but it proceeds upward.
“Cynicism is a choice. Hope is a better choice,” former President Obama has wisely said.
Hope is not wishing. Hope is something that requires effort. It often involves struggle between giving in to old habits, such as resignation and despair, versus opening to new possibilities.
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 includes faith in something higher and greater than anything we have ever experienced. It opens us to the unknown.
True hope also helps us release our opinions about what should happen or what the outcome should be. We realize that we really don’t know what should happen.
And we remind ourselves of the facts of evolution: This great world has been evolving for the last 14-½ billion years. It knows how to grow and unfold. And we don’t. We begin to remember to rely on something beyond our knowing.
So, what is happening in your life that may be causing anxiety or despair? How can you choose the path of hope, not knowing what the outcome will be?
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 with 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! Hope is a path towards wisdom and joy. It is a pathway to something greater.
In great hope,