Hope: how to practice hope the Zen way
When your mind is wandering in the future ~ 70% of the time, hope becomes its default mode.
We are expecting positive outcomes for ourselves, people, and events all the time, and it is okay.
Dostoyevsky said, “There is no life without hope” Maybe.
However, hope is simply a desire for something that may happen in the fictional future or not.
This kind of hope, which I call “ordinary hope”, has a problem: it automatically generates
its nemesis called doubt/worry/fear that the outcome you wish for will not be realized
or, even, will have a negative impact. So, hope and worry go together.
On the other hand, Hope is conscious whereas its opposite doubt/worry/fear is usually subconscious.
It is very important to realize that, being subconscious, we are not fully aware of our worries and yet being worried is already suffering in the present moment even if the future outcome is far away.
Initial worry plus potential negative impact creates two-stage suffering.
How does Zen approach hope that I call “wise hope”?
I hope to be able to differentiate my realistic vs unrealistic hopes and reject the latter.
I hope to accept :
All possible positive and negative outcomes and being able to deal with them
in a constructive way.
That the future is unpredictable,
That nothing is under my control, and that impermanence always prevails.
This wise hope will reduce potential sources of suffering caused by worries that your hopes will not
be realized and from negative outcomes.