False hope is hoping for a certain outcome. We pray for a healing or for a miracle to come forth to save us (or someone we love) in some way. We hope that we or our loved ones will be cured or that our lives will change.
But when things don’t turn out the way we had hoped, we become disappointed, which often turns into cynicism and despair. In other words, we suffer. False hope usually ends in disillusion.
True hope is the hope that springs eternal in one’s breast. It fills us with a yearning in our soul for beauty, truth and goodness — as Plato described the true Essence of all that is. It is the direction in which we choose to go.
But what do we do now? What action do we take?
Gandhi said to do the thing that needs to be done and leave the outcome to God. That is, do what seems most beneficial, given the circumstances, and trust God to bring forth what is needed.
Releasing our attachments to outcome is truly soul work. It is not for the timid. It is the result of a steady spiritual practice. One such practice is mindfulness. Through a daily spiritual practice, we learn to see our attachments and avoidances, both of which cause suffering.
Jesus has said that we are the light of the world. Our perceptions — our seeing — is a form of light. It is as if we have shone a flashlight into the darkness. We see what is there.
Jesus also taught not to judge by appearances. So let us start to notice how much we do judge by the appearances of a situation. Let us shine our light onto these judgments and see the beliefs — the fears, likes and dislikes — they rest on. Light dissolves the darkness.
This practice takes as long as it takes. But it is worthwhile, for the benefits are rich.
If we wish for a speedy deliverance, or think someone or something will save us, we are hoping for a specific outcome. This is false hope. Let us go in a different direction.
We just continue doing the practice, taking the steps onto the path we desire and leave the outcome to God.
Let us not give up hope!