Expectation of meditation; expectation is the belief that something should happen or will happen in the future or that something will happen because a situation should follow a normal sequence of events. We often have expectations of others, which often lead to a perceived positive result or leads to conflict when people don’t live up to our rules, desires, beliefs, etc. of how things should turn out. When it comes to meditation, some practitioners become disillusioned by what they expect from their practices.
The pupil became angry and disheartened with the teacher. “You speak of peace of mind through meditation, peace from the anguish I endure from the loss of my beloved. Peace from the longing and desire to be by their side, to hear their voice, to know they are still here with us. You tell me to mediate and observe the thoughts that rise in my mind that I might experience peace, love and joy again. As if meditation is the magic cure to all the negative things that go on in the world. I try to meditate to alleviate my suffering, yet my suffering knows no end. I expected meditation to end my suffering.” The teacher was silent for a few moments, allowing the pupil to feel the expression of their anguish fully, then the teacher said, “I understand. I see your anger and your sorrow. I see the suffering you endure at the loss of your loved ones. There has been no claim that meditation would end your suffering. Meditation practices bring forward your being. Brings awareness. Allows your true being to access a peace under the suffering. A level of presence which transcends the conflicts created by your mind, your sorrow, your attachment and desire.”
Meditation offers a space for healing and awareness that transcends the workings of the mind. For many, the awareness of the peace that is beyond understanding is felt in the midst of their suffering and they find comfort for themselves despite emotions that seem to have no end. The conflict is the desire to want the suffering to end, which often strengthens its hold on you. By meditating on the suffering, we learn to see it for what it is and find a place to live with it, while we also allow a space for peace, love and joy; experiencing all aspects of the human condition at the same time, and finding wholeness in one’s self. Meditation practices lead to a state of conscious presence that includes awareness of all external and internal workings of all that is. A state of being that no longer holds conflicts with anything and the end of labeling things as good or bad.
A meditation: Practice it here and there, throughout your day, when it comes to mind, or not, focus your attention on an expectation, doesn’t really matter what it is. An expectation or desire of an individual, a mindset, an expectation of humanity, it doesn’t really matter what… For a moment, if you can, drop the desire. If you cannot drop it, imagine it is dropped, then tune your mind into the relief or comfort that surfaces, even if only slightly, as you let the expectation pass. It’s a new day, the best day of your life.
Real thinking includes a conscious awareness of the thought stream.
Guilt and regret. Guilt is that feeling that you did something wrong or offended someone. A self-motivator that often keeps you from doing wrong or harm to others. A moment where you have acted poorly or did something that does not fit your own particular standard of conduct. A violation of a societal norm. Regret, of course, is that painful, thought-provoked emotion that we deliver to ourselves as we reflect on the things that cause our guilt. A negative reaction to decisions we make or actions we failed to take.
The young pupil sat with his teacher and proclaimed, “I have learned so much and come so far; yet, I spend many moments wrought with thoughts of guilt and remorse for many of the things I have done and said and for many of the things I do now. I practice what I have learned, I meditate on the coming and goings of these thoughts and the emotions they provoke. I remind myself that these thoughts just come, I’m not looking or trying to think of them. Often the meditation helps and the thoughts fade quickly into the past where they belong; other times I am stuck in the thinking and the guilt and the remorse they provoke. What would you suggest I do at moments such as these?” The teacher lovingly looked upon his student and said, “You are correct to first turn to meditation, acknowledge the thoughts, understand they are coming from your mind, they are not you, just compulsive thinking creating suffering in your moment. When you remember, tell yourself the guilt and remorse are thoughts and feelings that result from a time when you were asleep or unaware of your true self, which caused you to act in ways you now regret. Even now, when your tongue slips into carelessness, remind yourself you’re waking up now, you’re coming out of the confines of your mind. The actions you take and the things that you say will change as you enter a state of conscious awareness.”
In the state of conscious presence, your behaviors are clear and concise, rarely causing any negativity to the world or others. Your actions will leave you no cause for regret. Love yourself. Forgive yourself for the things you have done that you label as negative from your past as well as those things you label as negative that you do now. You are new, waking up, born again, dying to the past, alive and present in the moment.
A simple meditation, here and there, now and then, when it comes to your mind, or not, bring your attention to the thoughts or actions that you guilt yourself about. Take a moment and reflect on the origin of the thought provoking the feeling. Be aware of your mindset at the time, what your level of consciousness was and whether or not you were in the same situation today, knowing what you know, being as present as you are becoming, how differently you would have handled the moment. Just as you would not guilt a child for an innocent act of ignorance, set yourself free. It’s a new day! Your day! The best day of your life!