26 apr 2023 EXPECTATIONS AND THE ILLUSION OF HOPE
BY PRATITI MEUNIER
COMMENTS REVIEW BY PETRA ENGELS
What has this title to do with the theme of this edition? The Art of Now? Is the art of now not the things I repeated for years as a kind of mantras to myself: “The power of now”, “Be here and now”, “Tomorrow never comes”, “Be present here”, or any other referring to the importance of being present in the now? I often used quotes like this in an automatic and repetitive act, a well accepted way to numb myself. But did I really understand their meaning?
For years I was looking for a reason that would explain my state of being. That would explain the dissatisfaction I felt, the feeling of being apart, lost, not fitting. Over time, the feelings were changing towards the sensation of missing out, of disconnection, the feeling of being stuck or going in loops. The impulse was always to look outside. Looking for something that will give me answers, a person, a new workshop, a new training, a new guru. Or the hope that if somebody will really see me, will really recognize me and value me, then, everything will be good again and my life will expand and bloom. Then, I will experience the WOW! That’s it! kind of moment and everything will start to flow again. I was always waiting for the big Epiphany, the AHA moment. Expecting and hoping that something or somebody will finally support me to make a click, turn the road, do a shift and move forward in an amazing and wow wow way. How long have you been waiting for this special moment? This eureka moment? But what if there is no hope on such a moment?
The illusion of hope
This illusion of hope came to me right in the moment where I was waiting, expecting and hoping. Having feelings of frustration, being annoyed, being bored, nothing is happening, nothing will ever happen. Everybody is moving forward, and nothing is working for me, nothing will change, everything will stay the same. I was feeling depleted, defeated, a failure and giving up. And right in this void it came to me. What if there is no hope? What if I have been looking and waiting and the reality is that there is nothing out there? That there is nothing neither nobody that will come to safe me? What if hope doesn’t exist?
What if it has been a creation from centuries back as a way for us to denied what is now?
With hope, I’m looking for something that is out there, in the future, somewhere in another place, in another time, in another tempo. Hope has been created to avoid the now, to not see the now, to not embrace what is, to dissociate from reality and from what is really happening. To avoid pain and to look for gratification. To denied discomfort, numb reality and dream with a better tomorrow in the future that, in fact, doesn’t exist.
Almaas a spiritual teacher known for his Diamond Approach work wrote about the danger of hope and how it keeps us away from the now, from the art of now:
If you continue to hope, and tell yourself stories, you will remain asleep,
because reality is still the way it is whether you like it or not.
And he adds:
You are caught and divided because you still have hope that things will be different. That hope creates desire, that desire creates rejection of what is there, the rejection of what is there creates division, the division creates conflict, the conflict creates suffering, the suffering then creates searching. The searching creates more rejection and more conflict and the cycle continues.1
1 Diamond Heart Book Two, A.H. Almaas, pg. 72.
The rejection he writes about is the rejection of the now, the rejection of what is. To accept the now is to stop giving our power away to another imperfect human being or to another imperfect work hoping for something to change. Change only comes if I stay present with the uncomfortable, if I don’t resist reality as it is, if I own and take responsibility for every step on the way because nothing and nobody can do it for me.
Almaas states it as follows:
If the now is completely accepted there will not be a hope,
there will not be a desire, there will not be a movement away from or toward,
or any movement at all. There will be stillness, complete stillness.
The art of now
As we move through life learning, failing, improving, accepting, failing again and surrendering again, more stillness will be there, the connection with our Essence will come as a consequence of acceptance, freedom will be there as an understanding of the situation.
Hoping is denying what is, avoiding reality, projecting in a future that doesn’t exist in the present moment, not accepting what is and being blind to what really is in the now.
If we can, for a moment, be able to realize also the fact that our physical body, because it is bones and flesh, by its own physicality cannot be ever nowhere else than now. It is only in the present time and moment that we, human being, can be able to move forward by taking responsibility of our whole humanity. And this implies also the recognition of our experiences, observations and skills learned in our walking and living this messy life.
One of the definition of Art (according to Merriam-Webster dictionary) says:
It is a skill acquired by experience, study, or observation.
If we are able to drop hope and expectations, if we avoid denying our reality as it is now, if we stay present with what is, even if it is uncomfortable, unpleasant or painful, if we open our eyes to recognize what is there already and recognize the skills that we have by our own observations and life experience, then, responsibly we act from stillness toward an action that will create our future.
From the now and its art we create a responsible movement towards a future that is based consciously in a present moment. Expectations and hope will not get us anywhere.
Responsibility and acceptance will drive us to maturity. To a mature and embodied Art of Now.