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Thread: No expectations, really?

  1. #1
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    No expectations, really?

    A little over simplistic, but here goes.

    Given: According to my understanding of the four noble truths, expectations are the source of our suffering, and thus by letting go of expectations we can also end our suffering.
    Problem: Can we really live without expectations? Forget the basic drives hardwired into us as expectations. I mean those basic societal expectations, those relational expectations that we get and need to live with every day from those we love (especially) and those we work with and those we share basic social space with. Every moment of every day is filled with expectations accordIng to whatever culture you are in. In this worldly realm I can't even imagine giving up all my expectations. That's how I (we) function in this world filled with all these people that have all these expectations. The more I examine my expectations the more I realize how valuable they are. How can I possibly give them up?
    Solution?

  2. #2
    disastermouse
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    Re: No expectations, really?

    The point isn't to give them up, it's to hold them loosely enough that you can give them up if the situation requires it or if they cause you suffering.

    Chet

  3. #3

    Re: No expectations, really?

    Yes, hold one's expectations loosely ... Expect to sail one's boat starboard but, if the wind blows you to port, just keep sailing from there. Heck, if the wind blows you onto the beach or rocks, well, just be there (do you have another choice?!).

    And, OF COURSE, do not forget how to hold "expectations without expectations" ... as if seeing clearly out of the right eye and the left. In that way one can work dilligently to realize one's dreams while, hand in hand, having the realization of no need to realize more than this. Holding needed expectations, hopes and dreams while, hand in hand without the least division, dropping all expectations and need for anything at all. Expectations without expectations.

    Gassho, J

  4. #4

    Re: No expectations, really?

    Aren't expectations just mental constructs of what you think is going to happen - useful sometimes but just another thing to let go of.

    Midday yesterday it got so dark that all the automatic lights went on and it seemed that nighttime was approaching. When something unexpected happens it really wakes you up.

    I do have expectations but try not to hold them too tightly or obsess about them.

    Happy Mothers Day
    /Rich

  5. #5
    Treeleaf Unsui Kyrillos's Avatar
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    Re: No expectations, really?

    I would rather think that expectations ought not to "held" but allowed to sit loosely in the palm of one's hand so that if the breeze of change comes by it can be set aloft without actually disturbing our present moment.

    Gassho,

    Kyrill Seishin

  6. #6
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: No expectations, really?

    I expected that it wouldn't take long for someone to respond with "expectations without expectations" lol

    Just being aware of all the expectations we carry around with us can be quite interesting. Try it for a day. It's a window into all the conditioning in our lives. There are mundane expectations, like the light will turn on when I flip the switch, and then there are all sorts of not so mundane expectations we have about our behavior and the behavior of others, and so on. I think we need to be aware of all these various expectations before we can hold them loosely. Well, being aware of them is holding them loosely, I suppose.

  7. #7
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: No expectations, really?

    I'm not quite ready for this thread to fade away, although I expect it will some day soon, of course.

    The baggage of expectation is waiting.... waiting for what you expect to happen to actually happen... or not. Waiting is a good time for zazen, or maybe insta-zazen, depending on how long you are waiting.

    Another piece of expectation luggage is judgment. The fact that you judge some particular thing will happen leads you to expect it to happen. If it doesn't happen, then are additional judgments that happen.

    Expectations lead to all sorts of other events, so can we say that expectations are also causations? I think so, yes. But expectations are also the result of causations as a form of conditioning.

    Lots of places for practice with expectations and all its causes and effects, huh.

  8. #8
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: No expectations, really?

    Tutored or untutored, your understanding is crystal clear.
    IMHO

    gassho

    Taigu

  9. #9
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: No expectations, really?

    Expectations as fiction, I like this idea. From there it is a quick jump to seeing them as delusions.

    This next tidbit could go on the experience thread as well as fit in with Jundo's talk about natural disasters. It's been really dry here, not quite drought conditions, but getting there fast. I have been waiting for it to rain, wanting it, expecting it, and getting mad and frustrated when it doesn't rain here despite weather predictions that say it will and live radar images that show it as actually happening. There have been a number of nights where it was easy to see the storm lightning and hear the thunder associated with rain in the distance, but nothing here, like the rain is teasing me by staying just out of reach. Why do I get mad, frustrated? What is the point of that? I am not a farmer or even a gardener, nor do I know anyone getting hurt by the lack of rain, so it is nothing to me, or it should be nothing. But I keep persisting in the fiction of it all :twisted: The other night I was sitting outside waiting for it to rain, expecting it, while finishing Zen Master Raven by Aitken (a book I expected to like better than I did :roll: but it was okay). It never rained, but I asked myself how is all this waiting and expecting part of my practice? I've been thinking about it, writing about it, but not doing anything with it. I finally realized that I just needed to look at it more closely so I could then let it go.

    Rain rains
    I do what I do
    I am what I am
    Carry on carrying on
    While letting go
    of all of it.

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