Thursday, July 16, 2009

i constantly get confused about hope — good or bad?

Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up.

— Anne Lamott
Buddhism says that hope is just the flip side of fear; let it go let it go let it go. But so many other things say to believe -- seize! -- go forward -- persevere.

What if I choose to believe the wrong one?


sparkle said...

as i see it, the reason people tell you to believe in hope is to counteract your fear of failure. so... if you give up hope and fear, you really have nothing holding you back. you can just be who you are and do what you need to do, and if it doesn't work it's not the end of the world you just try something else.

of course, there's always the advice not to expect ourselves to behave like buddhas when we are all still so human. so aspire to give up hope, but don't HOPE to give up hope, and don't beat ourselves up when we find we haven't.

emdot said...

sparkle -- thanks for your thoughts on that -- very helpful. :)

Stephanie said...

This is one teaching that has had me very confused for some time. I vascillate between the two. Being predisposed to Extreme Laziness, I need a little hope to get my ass off the couch.

So hope is ok without attachment?
Is that what I am hearing?
Maybe hope is too broad a word?

(I'm talking to myself, by the way)

emdot said...

it's kinda nice to know someone else struggles with it too, steph. but i think that is what it's about -- hope without attachment.

pretty tricky.

romanlily said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
romanlily said...

In line with Sparkle's thoughts —

I remember the great Pema (May Her Name Be Praised) talking about this in a book — When Things Fall Apart.

"The word in Tibetan for hope is rewa; the word for fear is dokpa. More commonly, the word re-dok is used, which combines the two. Hope and fear is a feeling with two sides. As long as there's one, there's always the other. This re-dok is the root of our pain. In the world of hope and fear, we always have to change the channel, change the temperature, change the music, because something is getting uneasy, something is getting restless, something is beginning to hurt, and we keep looking for alternatives.
In a nontheistic state of mind, abandoning hope is an affirmation, the beginning of the beginning. You could even put 'Abandon Hope' on your refrigerator door instead of more conventional aspirations like 'Every day, in every way, I'm getting better and better.'"

Lianne Raymond said...

I like what Vaclav Havel said about hope:

“Hope is a dimension of
the soul … an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart. It transcends the world that is immediately experienced and is anchored somewhere beyond its horizons. … It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense regardless of how it turns out.”

emdot said...

whoa: "It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense regardless of how it turns out.”

yes. exactly. i think.

hi grace. hi lianne. :)

Bodhi47 said...

That is the flipside. What if...? Attachment much?

emdot said...

good point, eaton. my trite answer is: damn, i want that on a t-shirt, stat. lemme ruminate on the rest of it. xoxo