Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Stepping beyond expectations

I'm not quite sure why this image sang to me this morning.  Perhaps it has to do with a phone call from my daughter yesterday evening, complaining that the children's furniture store where she works has nothing orange: everything is pink and blue.

I suggested that this was an excellent opportunity to get to know some of the basics of merchandising: that there's a high probability that the folks who come to her place of business actually WANT pink and blue, and that that's why the owners offer things in those colors.

... which makes me think about how our expectations so often dominate what we see.  If I expect a day to go well, it often does -- and if I expect a flight to be bumpy, it often is.  How much of that is because our expectations arise out of experience and judgment?  You know, the "this is how it went before so it will probably go that way again" phenomenon, and the voice that says, "you did NOT take time to adequately prepare for this meeting, so chances are it will go poorly." 

And how much of that is just that we don't live in the moment, don't approach life with optimism and an open mind, don't (as my husband is fond of saying) "expect the best and prepare for the worst"?  But if we begin to take responsibility for those feelings, do we then also begin judging ourselves for our bad attitudes?  How do we get out of this cycle?  Somehow (and this is an echo of yesterday's post) we need to get in touch with the beloved within, that part of us that understands how much we are loved, how much we have been given, so that we can be more present and open to our surroundings.

Or we can listen to the wisdom of the Tao, quoted in my reading in A Path With Heart this morning:

I have just three things to teach:
simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and in thoughts,
you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.

Thus the wise man residing in the Tao
sets an example for all beings.
Because he doesn't display himself,
people can see his light.
Because he has nothing to prove,
people can trust his words.
Because he doesn't know who he is,
people recognize themselves in him.
Because he has no goal in mind,
everything he does succeeds.


Maureen said...

Wonderful piece you quote here.

Anonymous said...

I am excited to find a like-minded person in the blogosphere. All these books you are reading are on my shelf. Today I am finally getting a chance to listen to Bourgeault's audio teaching on the Wisdom Jesus.
I have always wanted to ask someone like you, "Have you found a community of like-minded people and, especially, teachers?" I live abroad and can't attend church here but I would love to here of a place to go, even online.

Diane Walker said...

I'm lucky; I have indeed found a community of like-minded people. Most of them I have met at Cynthia Bourgeault's workshops and retreats (you can find more about those at www.contemplative.org); some I have met online (visit my bloglist at left)and some I have encountered in local churches.

You can find Cynthia -- and other folks who follow her or think like her -- several places on line: at the spiritual Paths Institute, at Gwyneth Paltrow's GOOP, at BeliefNet, and at the Spiritual Practice website. Good luck in your search -- we're out there: open your heart, and fellow-believers will emerge...
(PS: the Wisdom Jesus is AMAZING!)