As many of you know, when I start my morning practice I pick one of Pema Chodron’s Compassion cards. The one I picked this morning – one that I pick out ‘randomly’ on a regular basis and that is a daily reminder alarm on my phone each morning – is ‘Abandon all hope of fruition’.
This is the essence of Mindfulness, letting go of our hopes and fears for our future selves and our future lives and just being OK with who we are now and being OK with our lives as they are now.
I always feel a relief when I see this phrase as it is a reminder for me to let go of my striving for myself and my life to turn out on my own terms. I can recognise that how things turn out depend on a myriad of causes and conditions that are way beyond my control. It is not even possible to control what thoughts pop into our minds, so how can it be possible to control events beyond this? This recognition can let me let go, surrender to the circumstances….for a while!
I struggle with uncertainty and change, even though intellectually I know they are always inevitably present. Nevertheless, I feel my sense of self scrabbling for certainty, driving me into thinking about all possible outcomes and how to deal with them and planning, planning, planning! Elaborating and taking me away from the present moment and plunging me into anxiety and frustration.
The idea of abandoning all hope of fruition reminds me of how things really are and I can let go and just be in the present moment. I know that if I can do this I am less tired – planning takes so much energy – and what I plan for is rarely what happens. In the present moment, there is more clarity and a more wise felt sense about what to do and how to be – and the joy, the love and the energy is only to be found in the here and now.
This weekend I was delivering a teaching skills training with Chloe, Tina and Graeme at Samye Ling for 43 participants. One thing that we all had in common was a heartfelt motivation to share the benefits of Mindfulness and kindness, that had transformed our own lives. They were just starting their teacher training pathway, but the potential in the room for growth and change was inspirational.
Towards the end of the weekend Graeme turned to me and said ‘I bet you never imagined this when you, Rob and Choden started it all’. And he was right – we had no idea or expectations of how the MA would expand and develop into what it is today.
What we had was an intention to take Rob’s teachings into the world and a motivation to share the benefit with as many as we could reach. Any expectations might have limited our vision, as we would never have been so audacious as to imagine where we are today, a mere seven years later.
Abandoning all hope of fruition creates the causes for the blocks made up of our egocentric desires and expectations to be understood and unconditionally accepted. Then the magic happens and what then unfolds – all by itself – is way beyond our limited expectations.
This isn’t to say that hard work isn’t involved. We have all worked hard to put our intentions into practice – hour after hour and day after day – but by focussing more on the now and open to opportunities as they emerge, rather than having a specific goal in mind, we have found our way to now.
Who knows what will come next?