Look Alive

30 January 2012


A treasured mentor of mine would criticize that word or at least call stern attention to it. "Expectation is the root of all suffering" was a common phrase the elder would often assert -- to me and anyone employing it in conversation or 'class' with him.

For the most part, I understood the lesson he tried to impart. It appeared in the root of scriptural teachings to be anxious for nothing ala Philippians 4, one of William Blake's views on humanity and divinity and, to some degree, the adage that "beggars can't be choosers".

At the same time, it almost seemed to oppose inspirational lines such as "shoot for the moon so if you miss, you'll be among the stars" and, essentially, faith itself.

Defined in Hebrews 11:1, the Young's Literal Translation likens faith to "confidence" and "conviction" whereas the next verse credits it with building the positive reputation of elders.

My mentor may have disregarded that (part of the) memo yet we agree that believing in, aspiring towards and standing for nothing is probably supreme ignorance. It could also represent supreme innocence as with the newborn, who carries its apparent unawareness comfortably.

For all we know, s/he just can not stand and has no desire to hitch onto anything except the nourishing breast. Truth is, s/he reaches by instinct and in response to stimuli, not necessarily with a fixed goal anyone else understands. From that innocent ignorance, s/he receives instruction within then somehow tells us if, when and how s/he's able to do whatever "It" is we're expecting. Even elders watch and wait for this.

What of a compromised woman with child? Barring cases of great danger, do we tell her not to expect when she's, well, expecting? If her heart is fixed, can we with any effect? Even if the clinician, midwife, loved ones or woman herself come to realize the baby will not arrive as planned, something -- be it grief, a reversion to an old diet, the desire to mother others around her or a new perspective on time & space -- certainly will. Something is all-ways to be expected. The Spirit in which any of us do so, however, may hold the key and turn over what could otherwise be a closed encounter of the Divine kind.

If we look past the following "I"s, we might notice that even when our best work efforts are combined with the affirmations, sometimes they just don't prove to be true.
* I expect to get A's on every test.
* I expect everyone to tell the truth to each other & treat each other with respect.
* I expect emptiness to be filled and overgrowth to disappear on their own.
* I expect love and kindness, because I am loving and kind.
* I work hard and mean the best for everybody, so I expect to live without hardship.
If those weren't seeds for suffering, I don't know what is!

Maybe what my anti-expectant friend had been telling us all along is just like a lyric to the classic gospel hymn, "Hold to His Hand (God's Unchanging Hand)". That, if we must have them, we should build our hopes on things eternal. For example, 
* I expect the Light of God to make plain sense of darkness whenever in its presence.
* I expect different patterns of weather to present themselves in the atmosphere and Earth, all of which are subject to harmonize with or cancel each other.
* I expect every one having a human experience to encounter the constructs of ignorance, ill will, dis-ease and poverty as well as understanding, benevolence, wellness and providence at some point.
* I expect(orate) when mucus is on my chest and if food or drink have gone down the wrong way.
* I expect that the inner, personal choices of p(e)aceful mind and purpose are readily available to help all crawl, stand up, walk, jump, dance and otherwise journey with innocence.

Above all, I expect Love never to leave me alone, although there are certainly things I can not change, even for Love's sake. It will find a Way to reach even places forgotten and unseen whether the seed of hope is watered by tears, sweat or the overflow of Grace. Believe it or not, there will always be energy, thoughts, words, deeds, voids and vessels for it to fill. Test it. Look around if the mirror begs to differ for the moment. It never fails.

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