Saturday, 27 September 2008

I’ve Anticipated my Expectations

When asked to talk about a substantive teaching that is relative to the everyday, modern person, without hesitation, I firmly say “Anticipations and expectations.” Many times our experiences of what we encounter in our everyday world are shaped by our pre-conceived notions; weather based on someone else’s experiences or on some commonly held belief. How many times can you remember saying, “Yea that was much better/worse than I thought it was going to be!”

Personally, it is difficult for me to render up some memory of an event that had met every expectation that I had placed on it before that event even occurred. How we end up feeling about something and how things end up turning out in life are always relative to everything else, the things we can see and the things we can’t. When we take a moment to reflect on this fact, we can easily see how this is true. Yet it is a stark, unforgiving fact we forget time after time.

In the trivial type events of our lives, going to see a movie, seeing a concert or watching a sporting match, our anticipations and expectations become nothing more than a guide to talk about the experience and some measure the event. What we fail to see is that our mind creates these expectations and anticipations for every sort of encounter in our everyday world. Moment after moment we find ourselves pleasantly surprised or inversely frustrated and let down, since this entangled mesh of the mind’s future never really turns out to be so true.

Imagine, we place these kinds of anticipations and expectations on things such as other people’s feelings, emotions and actions. We place labels such as love and hate, create bias and bigotry, view good vs. evil and see them all as right or wrong. Can you see how confusing and turbulent the world can seem and how quickly it can become so unsatisfactory and frustrating? In Buddhism, these terms are known as Karma, Samsara and Dukkha.

The up’s and down’s of life are always going to remain with life, no matter how hard we try to create some state of unchanging perfection. Indeed, the harder we try to stop our mind’s turbulent reactions and thoughts, the more ‘dukkha’ we inevitably encounter. Perhaps, if we can just begin to slow down, take a moment, breathe and remind ourselves to keep these anticipations and expectations in an honest perspective, maybe we can start to find some relief. An open mind expressed into any moment is ready for any eventuality that is encountered.

GO REDSKINS!! KICK THE COWBOY’S ASS THIS WEEK!!!!! ya didn’t expect that or the kitten picture, did ya?

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