There is no JOY in expectation
We have expectations. We have them of ourselves, of our families, our friends, our romantic relationships. We have expectations of what “should” be, what “shouldn’t” be, and the roles that we play within the shoulds and the woulds and the coulds. We decide how it should be, whether it is our own ideas or if it is instilled in us from another’s accepted set of expectations, and then we act purely based upon that. Why? It can be a beautiful game of “why?” when it is asked a million times a day with each thought that pops in the mind. 999,994 of the answers to the “why” question, after asking it so many times, is more like a giggle than an answer. Because when you contemplate life in this way, you start to see how silly all of our thoughts are. This tends to be much more natural for a child -- we are often taught to decide how things “should be” based upon the expectation sets and opinions of the caretakers around us, and those people that we trust as mentors as we grow from children into adolescents and into adulthood. These thought patterns can turn into foundations upon which we stand; and they can hold us up for a long time without us even knowing it’s our go-to foundational stance, if we never ask “why?” The only way to be able to test the ground upon which we stand is to knowingly go in to potentially cracking the false sense of security beneath us to see what is there…to see where we are truly foundationally supported. Habitual thought patterns of the way things “should be” or the way things “are” can never hold up the foundation of anyone, as everyone has a slightly different version of what this is, and in a space where there are differences of opinion, there can be no unity. Many of us never open up to the idea that what we think “should be” is simply an ingrained thought pattern, no different than an addiction to…caffeine. For whatever reason, it’s okay to be "addicted" to caffeine. It’s okay to be “addicted” to cookies. It’s okay to be “addicted” to our unhealthy relationships. But it’s not okay to be “addicted” to say... yoga. I know a student who moved her life in order to continue to practice yoga daily with a teacher that she loves and adores, yet she’s afraid to tell anyone at this point, as nearly everyone she’s told has considered this an unhealthy addictive choice. Yet one of the things she was moving away from was an addictive environment of unhealthy behavior that she, simply by association, was finding to be energetically depleting. She’d almost be better off saying that she moved into the area for good coffee. It would be much more widely accepted by the masses.
So we have these expectations — and then we think that we can find joy based upon the expectations of what “should” be. So we find ourselves in a relationship, in a coffee shop, in a bakery, in a shopping mall. We seek something from wherever we are. We are looking for temporary satisfaction. We are looking for something that resembles joy because we are incapable of understanding what permanent joy actually is. And with our desires for temporary satisfaction comes the expectation that we will receive joy from the very things that are indeed lacking in permanence. And that’s pretty much everything, other than a deepening into our spiritual nature.
And then we say “I really want to seek joy through deepening into my Self/I really want to try this new spiritual teacher/I really want to find time to purify myself/I really want to understand God better/I really want to get deeper into my prayers and meditations... but I just don’t have the time.”
Time is all we have, but we don’t have enough of it? Why? What else could be more important?
There can be no Joy (or Love) in expectation. Because joy is permanent, and expectation is simply a product of the imagination most of the time. By Webster’s definition, expectation is "a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.” And regardless of the promise, of the words spoken, of the predetermined ideas, regardless of the conditions; a belief, a thought, or a consideration of anything to happen in the future is simply the product of the imagination.
So how much of life is lived in the imagination? Really?
There can be no Joy (or Love) in expectation. And where there is no expectation, there can only be Joy, Love, presence and acceptance of what Is…and not in the way that the ego determines it to be…but in the way that it actually Is. Without imagination or expectation. Without wanting to control or change or determine it to be anything else. And when life is lived this way, there can only be a shifting and adjusting of our own thoughts and patterns…not the control or determination of anyone or anything else’s around us. And a more complete understanding of Love, Joy and how it oozes in excess when experienced in this way.
Mind challenge of the week: catch yourself once a day living in expectation. Ask yourself “why?” Do it everyday for the rest of your life, and see how it changes your life.
Because we’re all in it together…