Note: the blue italics indicate the teacher, in black others participants.

Hope

I observed today that I have been living in a subtle prison of hope. Instead of proactively engaging life, I hide in a hope for life. It now feels like a cheap replacement for genuine trust in life and myself. If anyone has any insights or experience with “hope” I would appreciate to hear them.

To me, hope is the dance partner of fear. “Hope” is imagined future pleasure, “fear” is imagined future suffering. Their dance floor is built on imagination.

Hope is an illusion. A grasping for something that is not real. It is essentially a non-acceptance of what is, a play of the imagination. To that I would also add an underlying intention to make life more palatable. It is a cousin to wishing. Reminds me of the song lyrics “just wishing and hoping and thinking and praying… planning and dreaming (that) his kiss is the start – that won’t get you into his heart.” Replace the last line with “this hope is the start – that won’t take you into your heart.”

Hope is like an ego-based version of trust. While hope and trust may concern the same issue, e.g. someone’s wellbeing, hope comes from self-interest and lacks the humility of trust.

I see hope as self-pity, an objection, a projection, an expectation or even a judgment. When you hope, you begin planning a future without seeing that by doing so, you separate from your center. For me to engage in the psychological activity called “hope,” I have to digress from myself and project myself into duality. Be careful not to acquire a taste for hope, the world of duality operates in pairs. If I cling to hope for progress, despair is sure to cross my path before long. In the present, what is there to hope for? Life is as it is; in its continual movement we are provided with challenges that are constantly renewed. Are we up to what life offers us? Do we have the strength to welcome what it gives us? Sometimes the medicine is bitter, sometimes it is sweet … life loves us, but does not care for our personal comfort or our hopes. We are given what we need to grow and surpass ourselves. We are regularly invited to listen in silence and inner peace, to surrender to what is offered and accept it voluntarily. The road is rough, but that is the price of freedom. We have to choose between submitting to life and offering ourselves to it, or remaining in the confines of her little golden prison, lined with hope, dreaming that things will happen as we decided they should or as we hope they would. Abandoning hope, even though we recognize its harmful character, is not an easy thing. It forces us to face the unknown without a safety net. To live a life without hope (or despair) is to be ready to welcome a lot of necessary suffering without expectations. Each illusion that disappears leaves us a little freer unencumbered, and lighter. Hope is a big, heavy psychological block of stone that is worth its weight in unnecessary suffering. To rid oneself of it is a victory, a real relief and creates an empty space to welcome life. Observe our hopes, to understand their hidden facets, is to come into contact with the very roots of our ego.

One day I realized that I had the hope of being “liberated”, and this hope was itself a prison, wiping out all possibility of liberation. What came to me then was the memory of my belief in Santa Claus. As long as I believed in Santa Claus I could hope to have extraordinary gifts. This awareness of hope was such an important moment for me that I even remember exactly where I was at the time. Hope does give life… but only to the illusion of ego.

I see hope as the denial of what we are and the projection of what we don’t allow ourselves to be (by conceding to comfort, conventions and compromise).

I greatly appreciate these words. They reach deep inside and stir my deepest self. To hear these words is to hear grace. Hearing what everyone has said, I see now that I have lived my life through a tunnel of hope for a better tomorrow. It was a logical consequence of a past of despair. From big decisions to small ones, I let hope guide my actions. I have no judgement toward that. I was not strong enough in the past to live without hope. And now I am. I can observe the vibration of hope in my system and now know to relax and come back to whole body sensation and breath in whatever the necessary suffering of life is in that moment. Thank you all.