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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Expectations and Life



I'm going to share what I've learned from Buddhism about expectations and life.
This was prompted by my father's misunderstanding of life. He gets upset at things that disappoint him or not. So let me impart some wisdom.

I was raised in the traditional North American way, belief that having things and doing things makes your worth.  Win at sports, get a high priced job, be a winner.  I suffered the highs and lows of it all.  I got sucked into the belief system. Now, I am wiser.

Here is the truth: nothing has meaning.  There is no inherent meaning in being a doctor, owning a Maserati, getting a Christmas card or not, or traveling the Serengeti.  Nothing has any meaning except what we put into it. 

It doesn't matter if you are wealthy, or if you are poor, or if you are the most popular person on earth.  It doesn't matter if people think you don't matter.  They don't matter either.  There's a lot to be said for being anonymous.

From the President of the United States to a leper on the streets of Calcutta, or where-ever, we all will go to the grave and become no more. We don't matter.

An asteroid hurtling towards the dinosaurs has no feelings of regret as it decimates life on Earth. The sun would still burn if our planet was wiped out by a cosmic filament.

Getting a Christmas card does not make you happy. Not getting a Christmas card does not make you sad.  You make yourself happy or sad based on your EXPECTATIONS on what that Christmas card means!  That is the truth.

Life would be a lot easier if you didn't have any expectations. Expectations are the cause of human misery.  Owning a Maserati, or not.  Being a doctor, or not.

It's that simple;  you expect good things and they come your way then you are happy.  You expect good things and they don't come your way and then you are unhappy.

No one has any guarantees, no one gets a free ride. Nothing is certain and you cannot pin your life on expectations. 

Try this instead.  Don't expect things and you won't be gloriously ecstatic or sorrowful and inconsolable.

Investing your emotions into expectations means that you are willing yourself to go on feeling all the highs and lows, all the emotions of being attached to things that don't exist and don't matter.  The more you throw your feelings into things, the more that each and every encounter in life will buffet you back and forth, up and down. Life will hurl things at you like a roller coaster course. Unexpected, unanticipated, unprepared. Life is in a constant state of change as is the universe. There is another way.

 It is all avoidable, well let's be realistic it can be reduced if you see it from another perspective. 

If you read this post and thought dark thoughts, then you didn't understand it.
You are still putting MEANING into everything. Take the meaning out, and you will rejoice at the burden lifted. Your expectations are the burden. 

This is what happens when you let expectations govern your emotional state.