Those Pesky Expectations

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The Buddha

Humans create all manner of problems for ourselves with our expectations.

In some sense, the core teaching of the Buddha is to give up your expectations. The problem is that we have a really bad habit of creating hugely unrealistic expectations, especially in the form of thinking that the next X (job, car, relationship, stock pick, joint, whatever your thing is) will finally be what really makes us happy.

As the Buddha taught, all is impermanence. No matter how happy your new thing makes you when you first get it, that happiness will wear off. What is new gets old. Eventually, you have to let go of it.

Then maybe you can go find yet another new one and start the whole process over, but in the Buddha’s analysis, we spend thousands of years over lifetimes caught in this fruitless process when we would be much happier — blissful — by jumping off of the hamster wheel, giving up our expectations, realizing that all is impermanence, and enjoying what is right in front of us at any given moment instead.

So the next time you think you might want to start off on another goose chase for the next new thing, sit down and meditate instead. Eventually, you will find the lasting bliss of awakening is much more enjoyable and satisfying.

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Written by

Uppity gay, Buddhist, author, historian.

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