Wednesday, 6 May 2015

'But life should treat me better ..' - The 'expectations' trap

It's quite easy, perhaps even more so when you embark on a spiritual journey and think that you're doing our best to achieve enlightenment (which of course can never be 'achieved') that life should give us an easier ride because we are good people and we want to save the world and help people get out of the mess they're in.

Well, if you've ever lived, you'll know that life isn't always easy. Sometimes things can happen that seem out of our control, and we seem unable to do anything to make things better. We 'surrender' with the hidden expectation that things will change, that the Universe will 'find a way'. If things stay the same for a while, it's easy to rage at God or whichever deity you follow, and think 'why me'?

The expectations and entitlement culture is rampant. The amount of people who say 'I've worked hard' with the expectation that they should receive something back for their labours, is enough to drive me nuts. Life rarely rewards you for slaving away in a job that you don't really want to do. If hard work alone made people rich, there'd be a lot more millionaires.

And there's a similar trap which is easy to get into, which is 'I'm a good person', with the expectation that life should be good to them. Now, I don't necessarily believe that life is ever being 'bad' to you. Whatever things you face in life, are of themselves fairly neutral. But, let's be honest, it is easier to feel good when everything is peachy, when life is flowing effortlessly, when you have lots of friends - than when you are struggling financially, don't have many friends, and are totally unsure of where life is going.

The circumstances of life can be very challenging, at least to the mind. It's your reaction to the situation that determines exactly how you feel. However, I also don't advocate denying how you feel. A pitfall of modern spirituality is that it's easy to think 'My problems are not who I am, so I'm going to meditate and I will be able to stop thinking, and feel better'. We are spiritual beings having a human experience - denying the human side is not healthy. Have a good cry if you need to. Let it all out. Rant and rage for a short while - as long as you don't allow life to harden you and close your heart.

Sometimes, difficult situations can help lead you towards the truth of who you really are, because there is nowhere much else to go. A lot of spiritual awakenings happen in the midst of suffering. When your mind is driving you nuts and you can't see how things are going to get better .. that is the time to become alive to the present moment. The present moment is where life is. One of my favourite sayings is the 'Just For Today Poem' - below. I'll leave you with that :)

Image from Pinterest

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