Expectations are the source of our deception

Have you ever had a moment of sadness and deceit even though on paper everything seems to be going pretty well? Have you ever gone through the arrival gates of an airport wondering if someone would be waiting for you there with a sign even though you know that you’ve not arranged for anyone to pick you up at the airport? Have you ever been treated to an afternoon with your other half but felt disappointed it didn’t turn out exactly the way you made it in your head? Or even worse, you got angry halfway through because it that poor person couldn’t read your mind and fulfil your wishes? Have you ever got a promotion or a new job only to feel disappointed in yourself for not being 5years ahead?

Our minds are a powerful tool, we can project ourselves in the future and manifest what we would like to accomplish, set ourselves goals, but the most painful painful result of this is expectation. She’s the real b*tch in all of this. Expectation of ourselves, others, situations, most of the above out of our control, are the cruelest because they act as a standard of happiness in our minds “I’ll be happy when I reach this, I’ll be contempt when I have that,…” this expectation can also become our obsession. In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali one of them refers to the art of non attachment to outcomes: vairagya. In the same way that one should be less focused on achieving a tree pose or an inversion and instead focus on the journey to get there: find stability, strengthen shoulders, work on spinal alignment and core, focus on your breath… Before you know it, by focusing on the little steps that can get you to your goal you might reach it. But you might also learn that your body simply cannot hold such a pose, and that’s ok, as it’s more about the journey, what you learn and gain along the way than about the outcome. Not reaching the outcome shouldn’t cause suffering. When we obsess about an outcome or something we want to achieve, we forget to enjoy the present moment, to savour the delights of today, to congratulate ourselves for getting where we are. The only feeling we feel is disappointment, rejection, and self-judgment / self-hatred even at times.

And this leads us to the first sutra (or learning) of Patanjali: ahimsa or the practice of non-violence. So let’s practice non violence towards ourselves, starting with letting go of those expectations. It doesn’t mean not to have dreams or goals, but maybe we can learn to make those wishes, wrap them with a bow, manifest them, talk about them to others around us, meditate on them and imagine how it will feel when you do achieve them. And most importantly learn to let them go. Trust the universe to bring those wishes to life, and come back to today. Enjoy where you are, how far you’ve come from and what you’ve created for yourself today, look around and find time to appreciate what you see, even if it doesn’t look exactly like what you had imagined.

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