Oakville Zen Meditation

#461 Expectation: the hidden cause of worries 13/08/23


Expectations are true desires projected in the future, and, like any desires they may cause suffering.                Of course, we cannot live w/o expectations regarding our loved ones, self, work, events, and life in general..                                                                                                                                                 Do the maths: how much of your stress, frustration, disappointment, anger, anxiety, worries, and irritation, come from? Almost all of them come from your expectations, and, when things do not turn out as you want, boom! ……We become angry, sad, disappointed, frustrated, even depressed.                  The problem is triple:                                                                                                                                                   1-We build our expectations in our heads all the time on what people, situations, events, and life should be or not, and yet, it’s all fantasy because these ego-driven expectations are mind-made forecasts linked to the fictional future in which we have no control.                                                                       2-As corollary, we believe, subconsciously, that all our expected outcomes will happen.                       3-Eventually, when realities do not meet our expectations, we are blaming whoever/whatever but not ourselves. This is almost madness                                                                                                                       Here’s a simple approach:
Write down all your expectations about yourself, your life, your companion, your kids, your coworkers, your job, and the world. Look at them, accept them in a mindful way, and let them go by tossing them in the ocean because, as far as the future is concerned, nothing is granted, and we do not control anything. What will happen to your expectations?... They will float, and drift away.   

Then:  how life will look like w/o a zillion expectations in your subconscious, and what does it mean?       

It means you will accept realities as they are on people, situations, events, and life without having your expectations control every possible outcome.                                                                        You will not be as disappointed or frustrated or angry as before — or if you are, you accept it, and then let it go.                                                                                                                                             I don’t say that you should never expect good stuff to happen, and bad stuff not to happen, but rather not to have excessive hope that people, events, situations, and the world will always react according to your expectations.                                                                                                    

Examples:                                                                                                                                                If you do something good, you should not expect praise or appreciation. Do good because you love doing good, and expect nothing beyond that.                                                                                                               If you start to wish for her, for his, or for this or that, always be mindful that it will or may never happen or will happen the wrong way.                                                                                                                             

Summary:                                                                                                                                              Pay attention to your expectations when they pop out as they always do.                                                     Observe them in a mindful way, then let them go if you can because you and I have absolutely no control over anybody/anything, especially in the future.                                                                                    Personally:                                                                                                                                                             I prefer using the word “Possibilities” rather than expectations. It sounds less personal.                       Then I am adding “ Maybe they will happen, maybe not“ rather than “I want them to happen”.  Thanks.    A quote from the Dalai Lama:

“ I am accepting the guidance that life is offering to me but I don’t let my expectations hinder my path nor my serenity,