It is the most liberating experience when you are able to harness life without expectations. We all have experienced expectations some internal and some external – from parents, family, friends. Expectations create preconceived ideas of how things should be that you are attached to. When you can find your way to free yourself of expectations, you go with the flow of life and will not be affected by the outcomes that you encounter. Every outcome serves to move you towards greater realization of your desires. However, when you are attached to the specific path of an outcome, you expect things to happen at a certain time in a certain way. If this does not happen at the expected time or in the expected manner, then what results is a feeling of disappointment.
We did not start out this way. Each of us born in a state of pure love knowing that you are whole and complete. There is no expectations or disappointments. As life continues we get in the grip of fear and we experience disconnection and a sense of emptiness. To manage this disconnection and fill the emptiness, we create expectations of what we believe will fulfill us.
Expectation creates a tunnel of your perception of things. You’re not open to recognizing how things are really happening when you expect them to happen a certain way. This, in turn, prevents you from recognizing the good that comes your way and causes you to push it away. Without preconceived ideas to limit your perception, you are able to accept what comes your way as part of the solution to realizing what you truly desire in life. In turn, this allows you to be able to receive and not resist truth and love.
Many times we feel discouraged when things are not happening the way we want them to happen. We might even lose hope thinking that it’s not meant to be and even give up pursuing it altogether. Let go of expectations so that you can surrender to the journey and let the outcome fall in place in the right way at the divine time.
One of the keys to avoiding disappointment lies within the understanding of expectations and possibilities. Expectations assume a certain result and are future- based. They actually narrow your options, retard your imagination, and blind you to possibilities. They create pressure in your life and hold your present sense of wellbeing hostage to a future that may or may not happen. Expectations create rigidity in your life and cause you to react impulsively to any perceived threat to that future you believe you deserve.
In contrast to expectations, possibilities are based in the present moment, where you’re alive to the mystery of life. You live as fully as you can in the present moment based on your values, which reflect your preferences for the future, but you do not assume that the future will come to pass because you realize that the future is unknown. Being open to possibilities acknowledges that what you may think you want changes with time, or that there is another future that will bring you equal or more happiness, or that the future may turn bleak, or that you may die before any future can unfold. The real joy, then, is that which is present in the here and now.
The best way to live life is to be like the child that you once were just doing what brings you joy and expressing yourself fearlessly in every moment. To truly be in the moment, to not be defined by expectation, requires mindful clarity; a heart conditioned by love, compassion, and empathetic joy for yourself and others; and equanimity that allows you to experience life however it unfolds. This may seem like an inconceivable challenge, but it can be your goal, your beacon through the fog of your life. Most importantly, living in the expression of your truth can inspire and guide you in how to live in the moment.
When you live with an attitude of no expectations, you will experience more freedom than you can fathom. Failure no longer stops you because it doesn’t exist in your perception. You can keep doing what you believe in simply because you are not expecting a particular outcome but you are just expressing the truth that is in you. You are able to release negativity and nothing holds you back from going on in the direction of your desires.
When you hold no expectations, you are committing to the outcome of your higher self. Surrender and lift up the outcome for the divine self to handle while you continue acting on your desires. Yield to the journey with a hope and knowing that the things you desire most will come to you when you least expect them.
I’ve always swooned at the words in this poem written by the 12th-century Persian poet Hafiz, called “The Sun Never Says.”
“Even after all this time,
the sun never says to the earth,
“You owe me.”
Look what happens
with a love like that,
It lights up the whole sky.”
This is the power of giving to life without the burden of expectations.