“When one’s expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything one does have.” ~Stephen Hawking
Expectation is not our friend. It is impossible to love unconditionally and have any expectations of other people’s behavior. That’s why I believe that one of the keys to happiness is looking closely at one’s beliefs about things and rooting out qualifiers and expectations. It’s the ability to let go. Few things bring greater peace and joy to life than the ability to let go of expectations, of people, and of things. Non-attachment is one of the great keys to enlightenment.
Disappointment is the best way to identify attachments and expectations. We can all recognize that feeling because we have all felt it at some point. If you really embrace and examine feelings of disappointment, no matter how painful, you will mine spiritual gold from the insights. Because once you identify an attachment, only then does it become possible to release it.
One of the hardest areas for me to let go at times is romantic feelings. Actually, I’ve let go pretty easily in all but two situations my whole life, and those two relationships, back to back, rocked my world. So they definitely have value in showing me what makes me want to be attached to another person. It makes me look at both myself and the other person. And I think that’s good.
Sometimes the universe asks us to let go of the same person over and over. In the deepest part of my soul I believe when that happens, it is the continuation of something that has been going on for lifetimes beyond this one. When a person drifts in and out of your life repeatedly over the years and yet, there is nothing but love, no matter how much time passes, that is a person you know beyond the five senses. It’s pretty hard to deny.
In situations like these I like to rely on what some might consider magical or fanciful thinking, but it brings me comfort, so I’m not gonna knock it. It is truly the hope that lies in the pattern of separation and reconciliation that keeps me going. The hope that because we have done this so many times, we will continue doing it until we get it right.
All who meet will one day meet again until their relationship becomes holy. ~A Course in Miracles
The challenge of loving a person unconditionally is a big one. Try to accept a person, any person, exactly as they are without needing them to change a single thing. While you will find it’s harder with some than with others, in the easiest case it still takes a ton of self-discipline. Yet, every victory of the heart to love unconditionally is the most beautiful gift to the universe. And because I believe that God or the universe or whatever anyone wants to call it has blessed all of us so completely and amazingly, I believe it deserves the very best we have to offer as humans. And our very best comes from our hearts and minds, not from anything external.
This line of thinking brings me back to the concept of impermanence and what a lovely gift that is. It tells us that nothing goes on forever, so in the moments that hurt, we can have hope; in the joyous moments we can have deep gratitude. It’s all in how we choose to look at things.
Sometimes we learn to live a life free of expectations after great losses. That’s where I am coming from. When things go spectacularly wrong in life, if you are aware and able to stand back and observe your own life, you can see the hand of God at work.
The hard times have been hard the past couple of years, I can’t deny that, but what I have gained in patience and equanimity cannot be acquired by other means. I have no regrets…and very few expectations.
Letting go is the best feeling on earth.
Be at peace.