Friday, March 20, 2009

Home Again, Expectation and Serenity

Sometimes I really can't wait to get back home. This is where I live and I've always lived in places I liked. I'm lucky. Always have been. Since I first moved out on my own 35 yrs ago I've had options. I know I'm lucky because I've been around a whole lotta people who didn't really have much option in their life. So I've always chose to live where I was comfortable. On the rare occasion where I found myself uncomfortable, I've moved someplace comfortable.
So coming home yesterday was a little disconcerting in that I wasn't excited about getting home. Maybe it's because I'm getting much more comfortable in our home away from home. Maybe it's because I'd left unfullfilled. I'm spoiled in many ways and my expectation sometimes ambush me into thinking that I should get everything I expect to get and I wanted to do a whole lot more of this while I was on vacation:

Unfortunately (by my standards), I didn't do a whole lotta that and did what it took to go from this:

to this:

Why did I expect anything else? I'd committed to doing the remodeling job long before we left. What made me think I was going to be able to spend every day out running around in my boat doing exactly what I wanted to do?

Where do our expectations come from? Mine come from my ego. My ego tells me what I want, how things ought to be, and why all these things should be this way. My ego can drag me around like I'm a sick puppy with a ring through it's nose.

So why do we let our expectations drag us through the mud and sit on our head? My egoic mind can construct all sorts of senarios that I think ought to happen in the future. These are expectation. It might be as simple as what I think someone I am about to approach ought to say to me that or it might be something as complex as how a week long vacation ought to progress or even how an entire career should evolve. Nothing will set me up for disappointment and resentment faster than my expectations. Expectation have been referred to as "premeditated resentments."

Most of us are hampered by one or a combination of a number of psychic conditions: insecurity, fear, inferiority, jealosy, and anger, just to name a few. These character defects cause us to need things to be a certain way. Our ego wants us to look good maybe physically and intellectually. The egoic mind might want us to have the best looking woman or man in the house. It could demand that we be adulated and adored by those around us. It may demand that we drive the coolest car or the best boat. Yes, it makes demands. It tells you how things should be in your world and then drags you around like that whipped pup demanding that you fulfill those expectations. When those demands aren't met, your ego tells you you're a failure.

The demands of my egoic mind are very rarely in synch with reality. The difference between those two things; reality and what my ego tells me things should be is the primary source of my psychic disturbances. For me, it is pretty much the totality of my mental bullshit. It can get in the way of all my relationships and sabotage all my successes. It makes my failures unbearable. It causes me to be malcontent and hateful.

How do I overcome these psychic handicaps? It's simple. All I have to do is accept the moment for exactly what it is. All I have to do is not resist what is.
Some would think that total acceptance of the moment means to sit back and do nothing while the world might be falling apart around you. On the contrary. It means that you see reality for what it is, accept it and then with a clear and calm head you take whatever action is necessary. Once you accept the moment of now, the action you then take will be one of three things. 1) You can totally accept what is and simply live with it. 2) You can accept what is and then remove yourself from the situation if it is unbearable. or 3) you can change the situation. To do anything else is insane. Wars are fought because people seek some other solution. People are beat-up and sometimes killed because of the insanity of doing something other than those three things. All the domestic abuse and violence in the world is from people seeking a different solution.

There is a popular prayer among recovering people that goes like this:

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I can not change
The courage to change the things I can
and the wisdom to know the difference.

That last part; the wisdom to know the difference is the hard part, but by accepting the now and not fighting what already is, one has a much better chance of being able to clearly define what one can change and what one can't.

Accept where you are. Accept who you are. Accept what is right now this moment. It's exactly the way it's supposed to be. Does it provide you opportunities to change things? Probably. and perhaps the #1 thing you can change today is YOURSELF simply by accepting what is and going forth in a positive constructive manner.


MacDaddy said...

That last paragraph is precious; and may be the key to happiness.

rainywalker said...

Welcome home. Sometimes it is more fun to plan a vacation or trip than taking the actual vacation.

SagaciousHillbilly said...

Mac, It's so basic and so easy to comprehend. . . at my age. Why is it so hard to understand and follow at 25?
Rainy, I disagree. I really, really like vacations!

Wva said...

Training the mind is something that should begin in childhood. Well, it does, but it's generally the wrong training. Figuring it how later means more work and constant reminders.

I'm so sorry the "comin' home" was less than glorious. I just posted Kirk Judd's poem that ends with "the comin' home feel so good" - often, especially after a good vacation, the arrival home is the best part.

SagaciousHillbilly said...

Wva, You've restricted access to your profile, so we have no way of getting to your blog without knowing the address.

In retrospect, I wish I hadn't posted the first part of my post. It's very whiney and probably give the meat of the post some degree of triviality.

Thanks for stopping by. Please post an address so we can read the poem you've posted.

W. Va. Fur and Root said...


I didn't restrict nothing, but apparently setting up an account first thing in the morning is too much for me.

Anyway. After further cogitation, your post provoked a Lao Tzu quote at

Kirk's poem is on the right.

Sorry for the confusion.