“This, too, shall pass.” Out of all the little sayings and advice that have been thrown at me, all my life, that one is the truest of all. It is, also, one of a very few, that I can think of, which always applies; no matter the situation.
Gladly, we accept this truth in the middle of bad situations; we embrace it with arms strengthened by the hope that this truth instills.
Sadly, though, this truth looms over our happiest moments, also. As it lurks at the corner of our reality, we feel it and its meaning. Then, with an embrace just as tight, we strive to hold onto the people, moments, and feelings that bring us our cherished joys in life.
“This, too, shall pass.” It is all temporary. This time, this joy, this sadness, this frame of thought, and this present perception of what reality is. It may last only a moment or years, but ultimately, it will change into something else.
This truth is not a truth in order to be good or bad, depending on the moment. It is, simply, the way of things. It is, also, a key to happiness no matter what the situation, if one can grasp the purity and finality of the concept.
Happiness. What is it? No matter with what details each of us define our version of “happy”, the definition can be clarified as a life without sorrow. Now, sorrow is a very strong word (and may be difficult for some to feel as appropriate) for the daily disappointments that we experience and which we may not realize are actually adding up to create our “unhappiness”. So, let’s soften it. We will define sorrow as any measure of sadness due to disappointment. We can accept this as an appropriate definition because disappointment is, most commonly, due to either losing what we had or not getting what we wanted (perhaps, both, in certain situations).
Let’s re-cap what we have, so far- Happiness is being without sorrow and sorrow is caused by disappointment. So, it stands to reason that happiness is found in not being disappointed.
Now, how in the world, do we manage to live a life without disappointment?
Are you ready for this? Here it is: we rid our thoughts and lives of expectations.
If we do not expect to get what we want, then we are not disappointed by not getting it. If we do not expect what we have, or who we have, to always be ours, then we better accept that loss. Perhaps, if we get really good at it, we can allow our lack of expectations to cause greater joy in what we do receive and if we do not expect to keep what we have, then we may be able to more appreciate having anything or anyone, at all, for however long we are blessed.
I will give you another saying that applies to this concept: “That’s easier said than done!” How, in today’s world, where we flip a switch and have every reason to expect something wonderful to happen, are we suppose to simply stop expecting anything? How, when we are supposed to learn from our mistakes and our triumphs, do we just undo the mindset that states that certain actions dictate certain reactions?
Well, my friends, it seems that the concept of “Happiness” does not come to us, here and now, without needing a bit of logical thinking. Please, do not stick the butter knife into the electrical outlet because you have decided that not expecting to get shocked means you will not end up a bit frazzled. Not expecting things does not and will never change what will happen. But, it can change how happy or unhappy you are about the outcome.
Also, not having expectations does not mean to abandon hope or to loose inspiration. It is not an all-inclusive package. Hoping is to simply have a preference as to an outcome and inspiration is just motivation of hope. It is a necessity, I believe, to have hope and inspiration, but there is a balance to be found between hoping for certain results and not expecting certain results. It can make the difference between being heartbroken or simply shaking it off and being ready to find another way.
Accepting the temporary status of it all (I mean everything from how fresh your bread is to your ability to walk) is accepting that it will all change; that everything will change, at some point or another. Accepting this to a point of being able to understand that nothing is stable enough or controlled enough for us to have any real expectations can lessen sorrow and disappointment. It may, also, give insight into just how precious the joys of here and now, this very moment, truly are.
For us to not have any expectations is a huge undertaking and why, I imagine, so few people have ever truly found “Nirvana”, but I believe it is a goal very much worth working towards.
I do not know if I will ever be able to do away with all expectations. Ironically, I have no real expectations as to whether or not I can do away with all disappointment. I do know that every step closer is a step away from being disappointed by things I have no control over, which is a step closer to happy!