Release Expectations – Stop Being Held Back

Personal Tao - Chapter 38

Expectations

When asked what Taoism is, I often respond: Having no expectations.

Stop here and pause: for a few seconds, think about the following: What are your expectations in life? What do you expect from reading this?

Ok… I will doodle to the side, while you ponder the questions ~* ^-^ {@} :^)

In this doodle time, as the author I begin to wonder: What are my expectations right now… and fuck! ¿What am I thinking… my expectations about writing on expectations? This is just an imprisoning feedback loop of pondering expectations… it’s ludicrous. I am typing this, at this very very moment and I am also looking out the door seeing a rain, a rain of cherry petals, mixing out of the open doorway, in the front yard, spinning in the air as snow, in pinkish leaves, down, down to the grass, mixing to dark green grass… an ocean of wind, whisking floating waves as clouds adding their persistence as wind rolling against the earth, a cool nipping, mixing to the raining of softest petals.

Part of me now is still thinking like an engineer: my thoughts {build a map, determine past and future expectations, list the changes, chart patterns of unfulfilled expectations…}.
The same moment, the poet side of my nature slaps me to the curb telling me, just to stop. Don’t do anything, stop for a moment. Feel the breath, touching fingers, feeling soft lips pushing a deep breath. Break free not in thinking, but in action, ley your eyes close down… – – , and then, I walked away from this.

path of expectations{To outside of here}

Right now I am typing, now 10 minutes ago I was just under a cherry tree, witnessing flower petals dancing upon the wind.

Breaking Free of Expectations
Right now you are reading this in my distant future….
These moments are connected.

All these nows, tied together as the very same moment, all the same, we are together, because there are no expectations, Right now we aren’t boxing ourselves into manmade boundaries. Instead, we are flowing to a larger world, pushing us up and out of chairs, mixing in with spring’s scent of lilac highlighted to the sound of the wind hopping between trees.

Right now, I am stopping every expectation of writing, to instead skip into a flow, inviting you now, by merely sharing this page, to experience spring with me.

Discovery isn’t forced thru narrow expectations. Instead, join in with this barefooted walking away from trying to define limits. Feel an Olympian touch of spring as a collection of fallen petals just collected are now drying upon this very keyboard I am typing upon, becoming part of living in the here and now.

If people live in a culture where a personal value is based upon expectation, what happens when discovering life exceeds any bounds of expectation.

Is your nature enough to fulfill yourself?
Or
Will you limit your nature upon expectation?

Thoughts About Expectations

An expectation isn’t reality. It’s a hope of things to be, a useful tool in a fortune telling sort of way, charting a course of action.

Expectations: a package deal, bundled down with an emotional ribbon of attachment. It’s the attachment which forms the core problem of expectation. The advantage of attachment is that a person gains additional strength by personalizing a process. However, the counterbalancing issue: life constantly changes, or we encounter other people with attachments to plans opposite of our intention. Often, since we misunderstand our intentions, we end up in direct opposition of our expectations. Our conflicting expectations often cancel out, causing personal failures in overly forced actions.

I have personally discovered that very rarely do I meet my expectations. For this reason, I ignore expectations most of the time. It takes too much energy to attach and then un-attach myself constantly, trying to fit the whimsy of the world. I have chucked the expectation routine out the door. Much like the intro to this section, discovering the world presents constant opportunities: to change, try alternative paths, find smoother answers to your goals. It makes life less stressful when living openly in this manner.

I have also discovered that with enough will and enough determination many impossible things become real, yet in this path the world will push back, cracking our soul, aging us till we fit properly within a newer balance. Force always reacts back with an equal force.

So in this, I have found it to be a truer path by flowing actions with the world. Let the world itself assist you in the endeavor of your plans. This way, when the world uses force against you, then ironically that force can be redirected back to empower your actions.

In the end, I still plan all the time, but the trick is not getting overly attached to those plans. This permits a flowing process of change from plan to plan or from plan to happenstance, or happenstance to plan: life and I shift along. At times I still get attached to a few plans, but I have learned to pick and choose those times carefully to match the needs of my spirit.

While living to your expectations doesn’t go against the Tao per se, it is as opposite to the Tao as I can define. Expectations are a methodology to force the world to fit your mold, compared to the typical Taoist response of accepting/flowing along with the world as it happens. Each Personal Tao is unique, meaning for some, it’s in their nature to hammer the world into an expectation. Typically I have noticed these individuals tend to be the most amazingly fantastic builders/creators equally counter-balanced with discontentment over the products of their life. These are the individuals constantly on the move to hammer down yet another outstanding flaw or problem, never to discover completion, as their contentment comes from the chase of perfection itself. This, in turn, ends up being their Personal Tao.

Living to expectation limits the nature of the Tao, to self-imagination. Imagination is powerful, but we have definite limits. As much as I can imagine, or as much as a single person could express, an infinitely larger realm exists outside of how we each define life. Living to expectations limits a person to a very small slice of what is available to live. Even worse, people lead ever diminishing lives when basing personal self-worth on their expectations. Is “self-worth” a unit of production? The consumer society has an interesting twist to this expectation puzzle. The consumer society manages expectations by teaching people that contentment is something purchased at wholesale. The majority of the United States’ economy is based on a pyramid scheme of expectations within an “American dream” to be materially well off and comfortable. If expectations are rarely met, how does it reflect within our personal self-value or upon our relationships based purely upon expectation? Living to expectation ends up leaving quite a few people unfulfilled, leading to very limited lives.

A Path Without Expectation

I am often asked how can one live free of expectations.

The answer is to dream a thousand dreams. I reveal these dreams to myself and over time to others. This confuses people as they mistake these dreams as statements of action, as something I will do. I suppose the dreams are presented to others in a matter of fact form, a proto-plan, like placing a seed into the soil to grow. Dreams and seeds are very similar. Dreams require a mixture of your essence and outside reality to germinate. In this sense, your soul is the soil, and speaking the dream aloud is to blow a spark of life that others help fertilize. These are the conditions to germinate a strong dream. Many dreams will not grow, but some will reach for the sky, and those end up as the beanstalks upon which legends are fed.

Some would say this is setting an intention, but closer to the mark, this is placing your spirit truthfully into the dream. As many dreams strangely become a reality for myself, people seemingly expect this is who I am, that the dream was my path, my expected destination. Not the case! As dreams shift, no dream can be a whole statement; in fact, they almost always shift in time, randomly, meaning I end up doing something other than the original idea or dream itself. I haven’t changed, nothing has changed; I merely unfolded with the plan, with the dream as it happened. The expectations that others had of my life were broken since it didn’t follow a pre-determined course of action. How could it? It started as a dream, which got bounced around by others, layering additional dimensions. The world buffets it around, then suddenly everything is placed in a position where another dream is a closer fit, and the whole process starts again taking everyone wonderfully along for the ride.

Most of the time, as the world knows of my dreams, the world and my friends help some of these dreams become true. More often the case, dreams remain a dream, and it passes quickly by as a pleasant daydream. Other times old dreams reawaken and become a reality, simply because everything takes a while to align. Having had the dreams, having told others, allows a long lever of time, of the years, to work in my favor; it permits me to notice when everything is right. Then when it all feels right, to then leap the dream into reality.

This is a question of style. Some of us are built out of brick and mortar; solid engineered perfection. Others of us float to our dreams; ever shifting to the whims, the currents, the clouds. The challenge is to avoid getting trapped by expectations while permitting plans and dreams to flow freely to your needs.

Expectation

Today’s XKCD comic is so true…

People live to fear and let fear then limit their full life way too much.

Likewise not speaking up: not testing the waters to live, is as limiting as living to fear.

The problem is when people act to expectation, those expectations will trip you up (since we all have different expectations, It’s a pain in the arse to match up to expectations). Instead, act in kindness and people will respond in kindness. Don’t expect anything and then nothing can bounce out of your ability to handle the situation.

Let the moment grow one step at a time.

Expectation Lost

A point to ponder is this: People are shaped way too much by expectation.

Free yourself, project out hope nary any expectation. If this is done, then life becomes freedom.

Ok, what I say above will make sense to some and not to others. Let me add this following bit to help explain myself. (Several distinct results exist, but I will show only two tonight)

Being Shaped by Expectation

Having reviewed countless paths. I have no intention of going down what is tired, bored and done: usually way over done many times, already.

That is the problem a person faces when building up their business or life. That it becomes a process of pandering to other people’s judgments to get support. The trouble is all the help comes with the price tag of expectations and how it’s been done already. Which then leads a person in turn to being shaped by that very same judgment and end results.

Regarding potential, that’s a very limited path.

For instance, when I walked the streets, I saw countless street preachers, people trying to become Jesus to save others. In doing so, they sacrificed themselves to make that dream come true. Their judgments shaped them and then destroyed them in the one swoop.

If this sounds extreme, I use it to make a point. Countless other examples exist. Look around to find other examples you have seen and compare results (and towards both good and bad endings).

The point: don’t always follow a path, make a path free of expectation. If you do this, then it does open up new potentials and more importantly in being fresh, defines new hope.

So many people are losing hope right now… when right now I see more hope than ever before. Because now is the time to be new 🙂 because so much potential is to be had… once you shake lose the expectation shackles.

Past Expectation

Often when thinking about expectations, people focus on the future: how we “expect” something to be.

Also, remember expectations can trip you up from the past. If you measure yourself to past expectations (of capability) at a time when you are now changing, chances are you will trip up, and your expectations will cause you to be unhappy with the present state of being. Since when living in change/transformation you are starting fresh and often rebuilding up the capacity towards a new skill set.

Just something to ponder if you are working to transform your life now.

Expectation in Our Visions

Let’s talk about Vision.

The simple truth is: the future is neutral. It isn’t bad nor good.

The future is what people make it to be, and not what you expect it to be!

Think about this for a moment. Then do what is harder, focus on what you truly want to become, put effort into making the future better. Doing nothing means not having a future.

Over the next few years, we will be reminded time and time again about how things are changing. That change will seem to be very negative. If you felt this year was crazy, it wasn’t, compared to what you will see next year! We are merely witnessing a system out of balance. We see natural ripples of imbalance in motion. That over the next year we will be reminded time and time again about how things are much different than anyone would have guessed. Every year crazy will be redefined as the true scope of environmental / Social damage becomes more apparent. That change will seem to be very negative. Use each event, each hard moment as an incentive to take the harder path of living better.

The challenge isn’t what we face: We face ourselves. Rather the challenge is what we decide to make the future into through our actions.

Are you up to making your life better tomorrow? If so, you can change the world.

How many disasters, how many bad days at work, how much of being put down, how many infrastructure failures, how many disclosures of systematic abuse, how much does it take to convince each person: that it is their time to reclaim their life rather than just giving up?

People often ask me to share what I see. What I see is… you… standing alone, thinking you are alone, thinking you have no power… and how ironically, it is within you that future is dependent on the choices you now make, and slowly step into each day to grow into being a better person. And as each person comes together then it ripples into a new social weave…

I started a modern Taoist community because I knew it was time to come together, to figure out ways to communicate and help each other. As events play out, it will only bring us closer together and help teach us new ways to work together. The times will shape us, direct us and guide us.

I have taught many people how to use everything, each mistake, each hard choice to work against and make your life better. This is no different other than scale. We can and will live a better life because as human beings it’s for us to shape our stories.

The future should be what we make it be, not what is given to us.

We can reflect upon what unfolds and then use it all, to make a better world.

Letting go of Judgment

With judgment, you have only two answers:
Guilty or not guilty
Yes or No.

In Taoism, we know there is always a third answer: Release! You can walk away, Start fresh,


-> To let go of the whole question and make your answer! <-

Release Judgment


Release judgment to discover how to go beyond being stuck. The third answer of “Release” opens a whole world of additional answers to follow with your heart, your steps, and life.

These are great times if you make them so. But you need to release judgment to make the first step into *Great Times*

The one thing I want to help everyone with is: To grow beyond feeling stuck in life.

Living always includes release -> in order to make room for your next step ahead.

A person stuck: is a person that is holding onto an expectation (a judgment of what the future should be) which cannot be made into a reality.


Learn more about releasing judgment!

Video Thumbnail
The Power of Expectations | Invisibilia | NPR
Taoism Articles
Taoism Articles

Explore Taoism

Live life kindly, gracefully, with modesty while embracing a colorful story to enjoy!

, , ,
Pushing Comfort Aside
Lessons from Iselle

2
Leave a Reply

newest oldest most voted
Theresa

Hi, I’m a teacher and this is the point I try to get across to my students. Many do get stuck in the now and it is so important to stress to release and make room for what is next. You can change your ending.

Menu