I often hear people ask, “But if you don’t expect anything, you’ll never get what you want.”
What is your view?
I have found that expectations become a trap, for they keep me focused on one particular outcome. They narrow my vision, and with it, the possibilities.
Also I suffer disappointment when my expectations aren’t met. I feel let down. Even betrayed. Sometimes I argue with the universe, letting it know how badly it has treated me. Which only hurts me!
Anger begets anger. Anger turns into hate. Hatred cannot bring love or peace, only more hatred.
So, what do I really want? Do I want serenity—or disappointment and anxiety?
Serenity comes as a result of being aware of expectations in whatever form they arise, and not getting caught up into them.We see them for what they are, and say, “Ah, so. This is the way it is for me, for now. It will pass. This is not who I am.”
Definite goals are a form of expectations.
There is a huge difference between intentions and goals.
Intentions are something we do in the present moment. We aim towards something. We take a step in the present moment that heads in the direction in which we wish to proceed.
This step might be gratitude for what is, and being willing to wait on God for that which is highest and best.
Goals are future oriented. They define a future event or happening. They ask us to get visualize it, to place our energy into the future.
Intentions are always in the present moment.
This one step, this one thought, is a beginning. And we are always beginning. We don’t know what the future holds.
We don’t know exactly where this intention will take us. It is a beginning step.
What is our thought this moment?
And what is our intention? Will this thought lead to our intention? Or will it take us in another direction?
Are we disappointed about something? What is our intention? Will we feel where this emotion resides in our body? Or will we override our body thinking we don’t have time for it?
Anytime the body is left out of the equation, we are going to suffer. We can only proceed as fast as our body awareness carries us.
If we ignore our body sensations and feelings, and focus on some defined outcome, we are not abiding in the present. Our body always lives in the present moment—not an imagined future.
What works best for me is to stay intentional and notice when I begin expecting something particular to happen. For this begins a chain of events which eventually lead to disappointment.
As I pay attention to what my mind is actually doing I note the slippery places, where I think I am intentional when I’m actually hoping that things will turn out the way I want them to. These are expectations.
Expecting something definite to happen causes stress within my body. There is a feeling of anxiety. Perhaps it won’t happen. What then?
For instance my mind might claim that I am only thinking of another’s good. It tells me I am being altruistic when all the time I am trying to manipulate the situation so that I might feel more comfortable.
The mind can be quite a trickster!
When I’m feeling irritated or disappointed I ask myself what have I been expecting? For I would not be disappointed and unhappy if I had not been hoping things would not be as they presently are.
Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk tells us the source of most of our suffering comes from the lies we tell ourselves.
Yes, we need to “out” those lies and admit what our mind is doing. This requires careful attention—moment by moment. “There is no once and for all.”
Life is doing its best to help us evolve—to help us grow into our inherent wisdom and beauty that we really are. This is our true nature.
Will we let it? Or will we keep expecting and hoping for what we think is best?
There is an alternative. We can relax into the loving arms of the universe and allow ourselves to be guided. This can be our moment by moment intention. Just this one step.
The practice of meditation helps me to notice how my mind is relating to what is happening each moment—whether I am relaxed and trusting, or tense, anxious, or suspicious. I allow whatever is, to be.
By watching my mind I am aware when my attention has strayed into planning sessions or problem solving.
Through stillness and quiet space opens allowing ideas to arise that are not from the intellect, but somewhere deeper, the intuition—that divine place that guides us on our journey.
Life is flow. Changes are occurring that we know not of, therefore we don’t know what needs to happen.
But we can set an intention to breathe consciously and do what seems most appropriate for us to do.
As Emily Dickenson has written: “The sailor cannot see North, but knows the compass can.”
There is a compass within that guides us. It is not in the intellect, but in the heart.
As we intentionally relax into what is, and allow the goodness, truth and beauty of life to direct our movements we experience more serenity.
We can trust. They are real. They are invisible and intangible.
We influence these energies indirectly—not by demands placed on them—but by our intentions.
We intentionally trust the divine intelligence that is higher and greater than our thoughts—even our dreams. And we take the step we are guided to take this minute.
And this is enough.