The chains of expectation


Expectations are a limiting force.

I expect the sun to rise in the morning.

I expect to still have a job when I get to work.

I expect others to drive on the correct side of the road.

But we also harbour expectations about circumstances, events and people about which there is much less certainty.

I expect that I’ll feel like X tomorrow.

I expect that she’ll feel like Y if I say this.

I expect that this will turn our well/poorly/insert-judgement-of-choice-here.

But these expectations limit our curiosity, our ability to experience what’s here & now and our capacity to respond skilfully to our experience.

They limit our curiosity because expectation says “it will be like this”.

They limit our experience of the here & now because we’re constantly flicking back and forth between our expectations for comparison instead paying full attention to what is actually happening.

They limit our ability to respond skilfully, because the gap we perceive between our expectations and reality biases our future behaviour.

Expectations are simple, static, stakes in the ground which can never compare favourably with a fluid and complex reality.

If we want more harmony with reality, more understanding and acceptance of what’s actually going on and more skilful responses to it all, then we have to loosen our grip on our expectations.

We can stop filtering our experience and fuelling our resistance to the way things actually are. We can reignite our curiosity. We can stop expecting everything to be a certain way.

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