When I read “Abandon Hope” in Shambhala Sun magazine, I was at first shocked! Wasn’t “hope” the cornerstone of human existence? Wasn’t it what got us through our darkest moments? I had to read further…
What I learned was what I had heard so many times in spiritual study: To hope is to reject the experience of the present moment, the time window in which we are truly alive. If I “hope” for something, it means there is something more desirable than the present moment. So I am rejecting this moment and hoping for a better moment. The tough lesson is that this moment is the only moment, and what we are experiencing now is to be cherished and fully experienced, even if we find it frightening, frustrating, unpleasant or painful. The minute we reject this moment, we are rejecting a part of the spectrum of Life as it truly is. We’re treating life as if it’s a smorgasbord where we can pick and choose experiences. The truth is that we can’t pick and choose and the full spectrum of Life will come to each of us. This might sound fatalistic and it may feel “hopeless.”
But here is the secret… If we fully accept Life and realize (“real-eyes,” as Michael Brown has said) that Life is every experience, not just the good and happy stuff, we can let go of the eternal struggle to avoid, deny and hide from our fears. If you’ve studied the chakras (energy centers on the spine that reflect various levels of consciousness) you will remember that the lower ones below the heart are geared toward survival. When we pass into the heart chakra all of this changes and we move toward higher consciousness and ultimately “enlightenment” as represented by the halos we see on paintings of saints and angels. The shift is to fully manifest that there is no me and you, only ONE.
To hope for something in the future is to believe that “now” isn’t ok. It’s to believe that something is lacking, that this isn’t right, some sort of mistake. Life is an endless series of moments in which we can be present or absent. If we are reliving the past or anticipating the future, we are absent now.This endless and unfolding “now” is all we truly have.
The “if, then” mentality places conditions on when we will be ok. We are ok now. This is ok now. If it is painful, if it is unpleasant and frightening, it is still ok now. Now will change into another now. No need to hope, because this is endless and the full array of experiences are waiting for our open embrace. This means we must live from the heart and use this moment to elevate, become more awake, rather than to tune out and think past it to a better time. If we give our open heart to this moment, the rest will take care of itself. We suffer when we don’t master this.
So pull yourself back from the future and up from the past. Live from the heart and not from the mind. Embrace the full spectrum of Life and let’s try not to be “picky-choosy.” In the fibers of this moment are every blessing and every lesson, regardless of how they present themselves.
With love, Rosanne