Author Topic: LETTING GO OF EXPECTATIONS ON THE SPIRITUAL PATH  (Read 22754 times)

Ensapa

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Re: LETTING GO OF EXPECTATIONS ON THE SPIRITUAL PATH
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2012, 01:35:16 AM »
Expectations can work as the raft that helps give a platform or something tangible for our spiritual goals. But when it is time to let go, it is time to let go but it is usually really hard to let go of them when we are required to. Expectations are like the carrot on the stick unless we have developed a certain level of realizations where we no longer need to be coddled to do our Dharma practice, or rather offered any incentive to do our Dharma practice. It is what motivates us to initially practice, but it also becomes our biggest obstacle to realizations at a stage.

Dondrup Shugden

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Re: LETTING GO OF EXPECTATIONS ON THE SPIRITUAL PATH
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2012, 04:18:58 AM »
Are expectations same as goals? If taken in a positive way, expectations can be a good motivation to be better in living our lives and doing better in our work.

The negative aspect to expectations is judgements on results.  We need to accept results without comparison to what is expected but rather accept it and then continue.  Often said is that it is the journey to our goals that is the learning and not the goal itself.  As we learn, our expectations will not stop us but to eventually achieve our goal in life.

As Buddhists, we strive for enlightenment. The question is when? So I feel expectations are not negative but not accepting results per expectations may be for many of us. 

Gypsy

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Re: LETTING GO OF EXPECTATIONS ON THE SPIRITUAL PATH
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2012, 02:16:14 PM »
This is a very good topic to discuss, as we often meet this awkward situation everyday. As long as we deal with people, be it work or family, there are expectations at different level. The more that we expect from others, the more we are opening ourselves to being disappointed.

When we talk about spiritual happiness, which is spiritual seeker's ultimate goal, expectation and disappointment are something we need to get rid of before we can gain happiness. Most of the sufferings are created by disappointments and it's self created. We can have expectations, but it's good to keep within reasons, sometimes expectations can be motivational and encouraging. When one has an empty and open mind, he is likely to be a giving, kind, compassionate and joyous person. A giving person will not expect things to be in return and that will not lead him to disappointment.

vajraD

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Re: LETTING GO OF EXPECTATIONS ON THE SPIRITUAL PATH
« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2012, 04:40:47 PM »
Expectation is in our mind every moment. Expectation has two side of a coin. It can be positive and also negative. One should practice not to have expectation but it is not that easy. The lowest that I’m able to provide is to help bit by bit without receiving or hoping for return. Hopefully with this it can creates causes to reduce and remove my expectation on things.

RedLantern

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Re: LETTING GO OF EXPECTATIONS ON THE SPIRITUAL PATH
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2012, 02:08:12 PM »
The practice of 'letting go" is very effective for minds obsessed by compulsive thinking.But how does this work out practically?Usually not without a great deal of intention,effort, and patience with yourself.The spiritual life requires us to constantly examine and even revise our ideas.Like Buddha said ,"letting go is gaining freedom" once we let go of trying to control everything,life seems to flow with greater ease.Expectations are like fairy tales and myths,they are alluring but ultimately leaves us illusioned and disappointed,which are the forebearers of suffering.It is easier said than done  as it takes a lot of hard work.

Positive Change

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Re: LETTING GO OF EXPECTATIONS ON THE SPIRITUAL PATH
« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2012, 05:33:35 PM »
Expectations are exactly that... we expect something from a certain situation or certain someone. To have or rather, put expectations on our spiritual path is like thinking we know what it would be like going on a trip merely from reading the brochures.

As we all know, it is often never that way we perceive... most often than not it ends up in disappointment and sometimes it is a delight. Why? Not because the destination was at fault or the cause of either... but the perceptions and expectations we had put on it. We all think we know better, especially in a situation where it is most personal, our spiritual journey.

Leave one's expectations at the door when embarking on a spiritual journey and it will be the most fulfilling one I think!


triesa

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Re: LETTING GO OF EXPECTATIONS ON THE SPIRITUAL PATH
« Reply #21 on: May 01, 2012, 11:35:58 PM »
I think what Helena meant here of "Letting go of expectations" is that ..........during the journey in our spiritual path, we do not let "what should happen next" be the hurdle that may hinder or even stop us from pursuing the ultimate goal.

We always like to compare our results with others, but the spiritual journey of each and every single one of us is unique and different, each person starts with a different "baggage" so to say, so the experience will be will be different in some ways.

I agree with many who have commented here, while "letting go" our expectation in the journey, it does not mean that we "give up". Infact, we should never give up......of course the final goal of the spiritual journey is enlightenment, free of all suffering......so while we strive towards this "lasting happiness", we enjoy the "flow" and "experience" during the course as part of the learning curve.

AnneQ

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Re: LETTING GO OF EXPECTATIONS ON THE SPIRITUAL PATH
« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2012, 01:57:43 PM »
Thank you everyone for all your opinions. They are very interesting and enlightening.

Reading these posts have brought to mind a survey I once came across that compared the level of happiness and contentment in different societies among Asian countries. Interestingly it was discovered that people living in poorer and less developed cities scored better in the happiness scale as compared to those living in more affluent and developed cities. The reason being that people in poorer and less advanced countries had no expectations and made the best of whatever few or little resources they had. Whereas in richer and more developed countries, people's expectations were very high and were less compromising. A simple example, say the public transportation system. In less advanced countries, the system is constantly breaking down but people were fine with it as they never expected it to work properly and were only too happy to take the bus even if it took hours to turn up. But in a more affluent society, even if there was a minor problem like the bus was a couple of minutes late, people easily became frustrated and angry. The conclusion was very simple: that people living in less advanced countries were happier with what life has to offer and people living in richer and more advanced environments were easily stressed and unhappy.
So in relation to our spiritual practice, I wonder if one shouldn't let high expectations get in one's way of striving for peace and happiness in life?

Reena Searl

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Re: LETTING GO OF EXPECTATIONS ON THE SPIRITUAL PATH
« Reply #23 on: May 10, 2012, 02:38:37 PM »
When we are in the spiritual path, I agreed that letting go of expectation will make us achieve faster in the path.

I always think that even not in the spiritual path, in a secular manner, When you stop expecting a certain behaviour from others, you free yourself to see more clearly. You will start to observe what they actually do, instead of constantly seeing the gap between what they do and what you want them to do.

In the process of spiritual path, if we have a lot of self judgement and expectations will eventually create sufferings.

pgdharma

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Re: LETTING GO OF EXPECTATIONS ON THE SPIRITUAL PATH
« Reply #24 on: May 10, 2012, 03:20:31 PM »
When we have expectations whether on the spiritual path or in our secular world it is created from our projections in our mind. If those expectations did not turned out as we expected we will feel disappointed. I think it is better to let go of expectations so that if we achieve something we will appreciate it as it will be a bonus to us. By letting go of our attachments and not holding on to expectations our projections will be more clear and when we achieved something we will feel happy and be contented. We will find it more fulfilling.

tsangpakarpo

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Re: LETTING GO OF EXPECTATIONS ON THE SPIRITUAL PATH
« Reply #25 on: May 13, 2012, 02:22:28 PM »
When I was younger, my parents used to have a lot of expectations on me. Even now, they expect me to be the common successful, high profile quality they did not have. In this case, expectations come from what we do not have and hence we expect other people especially the ones close to us to excel and be the person they themselves did not become. They have now placed the expectations and hopes on other people.

And the cycle goes on and on.

On a spiritual path, one learns to have less attachments and desires. This will in turn lessen the expectations of a person. They will no longer hold on the the items, fame, wealth they don't have, hence not expecting anymore and at the same time do not expect other people ie their children to chase their dreams for them. This will set a good example to children as well for it teaches them from young to not be greedy and to be contended with what they have. Of course if they have the capability to pursue something, by all means go ahead. But if they do not, then don't force their way through things and become a loser in life in the end. At that time, whatever expectations we have will all go into the drain.

vajratruth

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Re: LETTING GO OF EXPECTATIONS ON THE SPIRITUAL PATH
« Reply #26 on: May 13, 2012, 05:39:36 PM »


My suggestion for you is to let go of your expectations. Be ready to even let go of all the spiritual things you have learned, because sometimes even those once helpful ideologies might block you as you advance. You don’t need a full mind of knowledge to know your true self. It is the opposite. To realize yourself, you must have an empty mind.

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Everyone's spiritual path is different and we all respond to different methods of teachings. Therefore I think the article makes a lot of sense.

I am reminded that in my practice, I should set my motivation and on this I think we should have high expectations i.e. to attain Buddhahood for the sake of all sentient beings. Beyond that I agree that we should not project our expectations unto our practice. I wonder if I am correct in going to far as to say that we should not even be aware of our achievements let alone have any expectations of them.

Although I am not an experienced practitioner I do not think the successful journey of spiritual training is landmarked in any particular fashion and therefore if we have expectations of certain "signs" we may lose the purpose and even objective of our training.

It is interesting to see the advice to even "let go of all the spiritual things you have learned". I recall a story which may not fit perfectly into this example but in that story we are told that if Buddhism is a raft used to cross a river, then once we have cross, we should also let go of the raft. Or something to that effect [can someone verify?]...but the idea is very much similar. And very consistent with the idea of letting go.



Big Uncle

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Re: LETTING GO OF EXPECTATIONS ON THE SPIRITUAL PATH
« Reply #27 on: May 13, 2012, 06:26:38 PM »


My suggestion for you is to let go of your expectations. Be ready to even let go of all the spiritual things you have learned, because sometimes even those once helpful ideologies might block you as you advance. You don’t need a full mind of knowledge to know your true self. It is the opposite. To realize yourself, you must have an empty mind.

[/b][/i][/color]

Everyone's spiritual path is different and we all respond to different methods of teachings. Therefore I think the article makes a lot of sense.

I am reminded that in my practice, I should set my motivation and on this I think we should have high expectations i.e. to attain Buddhahood for the sake of all sentient beings. Beyond that I agree that we should not project our expectations unto our practice. I wonder if I am correct in going to far as to say that we should not even be aware of our achievements let alone have any expectations of them.

Although I am not an experienced practitioner I do not think the successful journey of spiritual training is landmarked in any particular fashion and therefore if we have expectations of certain "signs" we may lose the purpose and even objective of our training.

It is interesting to see the advice to even "let go of all the spiritual things you have learned". I recall a story which may not fit perfectly into this example but in that story we are told that if Buddhism is a raft used to cross a river, then once we have cross, we should also let go of the raft. Or something to that effect [can someone verify?]...but the idea is very much similar. And very consistent with the idea of letting go.


What Helena is suggesting in this quote sounds very dangerous to me. How do you know authoritatively what spiritual ideologies are to be discarded? What if our ego takes over and we discard what is difficult but beneficial for us? Hence, I think having Guru devotion on a qualified and authentic Lama would be the guiding factor along with perseverance on the path.

No real spiritual journey is smooth sailing and easy if we are on the right track. If we want to be sure of our spiritual path, we should commit and expect difficulties and obstacles. This is an indicator that we are on the right track. Finding the courage and strength to overcome obstacles is the through the study and contemplation of the Dharma and reassessing what is the priority in life. This is not easy process but it becomes easier and natural with sincere practice.

dondrup

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Re: LETTING GO OF EXPECTATIONS ON THE SPIRITUAL PATH
« Reply #28 on: May 18, 2012, 07:09:47 PM »
Very interesting article indeed!  Thanks Helena.
What are Expectations?
Expectations are based on results we think should happen. What we think should happen are based on other people’s experiences, or what we’ve read or learned, or what society says. That is why we must first learn to go with the flow, without any expectation, and unlearn all the ideologies and beliefs we have.

Agree.  We are conditioned by our past habituations and present life’s upbringing and exposure to the conditions around us all the time. We simply do not have any wisdom at all.  Through correct Buddhist meditations, we learn to let go of our preconceived notions of phenomena around us.  Wisdom will arise from meditations.  With wisdom we are then able to deal with our expectations.

Letting go of expectation is having an open mind.  Without having an open mind, it is hard to accept Dharma and abandon incorrect knowledge about the nature of phenomena.

Letting go of expectation is having a clear mind. When our mind is too busy thinking about the expected results, it cannot relax and becomes tensed.  Hence before the meditation proper, practitioners will always settle and calm their minds first e.g. doing breathing meditation. Similarly in all the post-meditation activities, be relaxed, be focused and not to be distracted by results.

dsdisciple

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Re: LETTING GO OF EXPECTATIONS ON THE SPIRITUAL PATH
« Reply #29 on: May 19, 2012, 08:34:44 AM »
Travelling on the spiritual path is by no means easy or hard and in some cases not everyone has the merit to sustain their practice. How often you see that friends in refuge and pilgrimage journey's many years ago do not continue with their practice for whatever reason?

I was randomly online doing some research and re-read a mandala article..quote from Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen (from Gaden Shartse) ...last words of advice below to students on Lama Tsongkhapa Day, December 21, 2008 before passing into clear light February 13, 2009.

I love this article for it's inspiration and blessings...a living example of what it means to truly practice on the spiritual path, you can find the full article in the archive of mandala magazine.

“Today is a very good deed, so many people came here. I cannot teach some Sundays. I hope to be back as soon as possible to Sunday teachings.

“Also, we must make our minds in combination with the Dharma. Try to make the Dharma pure, not for this life. Try to dedicate for future life. For self and others to be free from the suffering and to become being buddha.

“Whatever you do, small practice or large practice, it doesn’t matter. Motivation is very important. Try to make what you are doing – chanting, meditation, saying mantras – try to make it to be real Dharma.

“There are some ways of practicing we don’t want. We should try to make our mind in combination with Dharma. Sometimes put on, sometimes take off. That’s not the way to do. Our practice should not be like that. Good day, bad day. Doesn’t matter. We need Dharma all the time. Sometimes people think they have happy time they can do practice, but when they have difficulty they leave Dharma behind. Not so good.

“Sometimes people when they have trouble they can do Dharma, but when they are happy and party and everything, they leave Dharma where? I don’t know.

“Really all the time, to learn.

“End of life more important Dharma, not possessions. How much you have possessions doesn’t matter. When you are leaving from this place, human beings place, everything is behind you. You cannot take anything. Even your body you cannot take with you. So that’s why at that time the most important thing to do is good practice of Dharma. That comes with you. Helps you. Great friend of you. Even we have this lifetime one hundred or one thousand very close friends. They cannot come with us. But if you do good practice of Dharma, that always comes with you, with your consciousness. It helps to us. That is the one thing to think about, please.

“And all other sentient beings are very kind for us. If there are not others we cannot make it. Happy, joy. We cannot get anything. Look at us. We have everything from others. We have body, yes, but somebody else made it. Many people come through for us. So kindness of others is tremendous, really it is. You think about it.

“So that’s why we are wishing for all sentient beings to be free from suffering. Who has suffering, to be free from suffering. To be happy, joy. We should not be jealous. How much they have success we wish more than that, for that to be success. That’s the kind of thinking we do.

“I hope I come back to be teaching Sundays, soon I think. I think so. I hope so.”

Thank you Gen-la :D

xo