Expectations and Liberation

I was recently asked a question.  What does “human liberation” mean to me?  Well, I am not sure I am quite qualified to answer for all humans…but perhaps by exploring what liberation means for me, other people may find something familiar. Of course there are cultural, and geopolitical implication of this question as well.  Let me be clear, that in this particular rambling I am strictly speaking to my own liberation and not particularly expanding it out that far, although that is a wonderful conversation to be had.  Maybe in another post.

For me, liberation (or the end of “suffering” in some dialogue) comes down to expectations. Is it possible to NOT have them, or at least to turn down the volume of those expectations enough to just live life without paying too much attention to them?  For me, YES!  That is when I feel the most personal freedom.  That is when I feel most engaged with life,and not just the joyful and “happy” parts, but the boring and difficult parts as well.  Expectation naturally brings with it fear and disappointment (what I call suffering.)  As soon as I find myself having an expectation, and paying too much attention to it, counting on it as fact, I pretty soon am hit by the fact that now I have become invested in an outcome that is by no means certain. Enter fear, and soon disappointment. I am also talking about the expectation that a past occurrence can somehow be changed.  For me, letting the past have its say and then letting go of the expectation that it will be any different from what it was, has been quite liberating as well.

If one believes in impermanence, and I must say based on my life experience every freakin’ day I DO, then how can expectations bring anything but suffering?  And I am talking about the little expectations (I will make it to a party tonight) and the big expectations (I will be successful, or I will not make mistakes.)  All of them, if given full weight, become laden with the idea that somehow we are in complete control.  There is no escape from that illusion without discomfort.  The discomfort of realizing that anything can happen at anytime.  End of story.  For me that is an ultimate truth that I can no longer ignore.  And THAT has been liberating for me, or at least there have been moments of liberation.  That liberation feels a bit like just being present with life, not checking out or dissociating, but really dealing with what is in front of me without the extra drama I could be piling on top. Believe it or not less expectation = less drama = more engagement with those around me, where they ARE not where I want them to be.  Just ask my husband, he would quite agree with that assessment.  😉

This blog has been an ultimate test of expectations.  I attempt every single day to just write, without any expectation.  It is the act of writing that has been the goal here, not the expectation of anything coming from it.  Even the goal of writing is quite tested on the days that I simply cannot, due to that crazy “impermanence” thing that happens in life.

So everyday, practically every hour, I am faced with my own expectations about things, big and small.  And I have a choice, buy into them or just let them be.  I do not think that I can necessarily escape my brain, my own human form.  I do not consider THAT to be liberation.  But, for now,  I can pay attention to what my brain is doing, and what expectations I am employing to make myself feel safe.  I can try to let those expectations be, without investing too much in them.  And in those moments that I am able to do that, I find myself just paying attention to what is going on around me.  THAT feels like liberation to me, in my humble experience.  Of course, this said knowing full well that all of that crap may change by this time tomorrow.  🙂

~ by April on May 27, 2012.

4 Responses to “Expectations and Liberation”

  1. Too big to deal with at the moment.

  2. It’s not that I don’t have things to say or that the subject, like a few, doesn’t bubble beneath the surface all the time, it’s just that to actually address it properly, in the way in which it deserves, it requires time I don’t have at this very moment. And I’ve spent the day writing and, more tiring, thinking.

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