The essential challenge is twofold – to surrender both our will and our life.
Most of our judgments and opinions are negative ones. The way of the world, according to us, is essentially disappointing in nature. It has, by and large, failed to live up to our expectations.
We learn much about our strengths and our capabilities when faced with trial and adversity.
There is no guardian spirit or higher power of authority that will validate the choices we make in life.
You might think I’m avoiding a paradox at the heart of this relatively straightforward proposal, but I’m not. Here it is:
What is a decision, and what sort of decision are we making in this case? The famous, elusive, and sometimes derided, “Decision in Principle” is at this point probably no more than a statement of intent, which is a resolution to carry out some action at some future time.
The basic premise with which we began was that much that we experience in life is impossible to control, manage, or direct according to our wishes, and that our failure to admit this fact and desist was in large part responsible for making in so.
The primary cause of our discontent is the incorrect and misguided application of our will.
The phrase, “Everything will be OK,” is a vague and sometimes irritating consolation if we’re not in the mood. But it does work.
Another characteristic of pain is that it is disorienting and confusing. If we cut our finger and it bleeds and it stings, we are clear about the course of events that led up to the event of cutting our finger. We understand the cause.
Emotional pain isolates us from the world and our fellow man, leaving us feeling alone and abandoned. It is often because something that we have come to depend and rely upon has been taken from us, and we have no recourse to change or affect the course of it.
I hope that I am going to have a full and productive and happy life, but I am also in the process of living it, right now. I’ve just wasted a nanosecond thinking about it, that’s all, instead of just getting on with it.
Hoping gives us something to think about, to occupy our minds, until we know, and we hope for a whole series of things to not happen, as well as do happen. This doubles the number of things that we can hope for.
Hope is lovely, but we sometimes misuse it to attempt to conjure into actuality the existence of very particular physical facts in the world, based on no greater justification than our own personal preferences.
Yes, some of us struggle with terrible challenges, but many of our difficulties are the epitome of ordinariness. But though they be mundane and insignificant occurrences, they nevertheless have to be met with a commensurately focused response if we are to contest their effect on our lives.
Few of us are oppressed by tyranny or engaged in a bitter life and death struggle for existence. Our battlegrounds are the supermarket and the sidewalk, the boardroom and the bedroom.
What seems obvious is that the nature of Hope cannot be defined. It often defies reason.
There is sometimes something recognisably glorious in failure. A man might not meet his objectives, but the struggle itself could be deemed a success if what he was striving for had become something greater than the issue at hand.
How is it possible, you may ask, that a man can hope for a particular outcome, sometimes in defiance of all expert opinion, all reasonable expectation, and all considered evidence?
As soon as we categorise or label any event as having a particular emotional content, we are then ourselves emotionally committed. We have not only defined the event, but also our relationship to it.