I just had a rich conversation with one of my clients, where we explored the distinction between “hope” and “what is.”
I have found this to be a tricky place in my own life. After all, hope is generally considered something uplifting, inspiring and forward moving. We hear “What do we have if not hope?” Isn’t this something we hold onto? Hope for happiness? Hope for a better future? Hope for a better outcome? Hope for a better life? Isn’t this is the basis for why many engage in spiritual work or coaching, for example? Hoping that something will be better.
One could even have a type of hope about something in the past. For example, have you ever wished that your parents had done something differently? Or that someone wouldn’t have suffered the way that they did? We could actually spend a lot of energy there, that can never have its wished-for impact. I love the comment by Jack Kornfield that, ”Forgiveness is letting go of the hope of a better past.”
This leads to inquiring about the different dimensions of hope.
On one hand, hope can take a number of very active forms, with the ultimate effect of resisting ’what is.’ For example, I could hope that another person would treat me in a certain way, or that a person would make a certain choice. I could hope that I had more of something or less of something. Take a look for yourself, and see what it is that you are “hoping for.” Then, look at the outcome. What difference has it made? Has it lessened or increased your unhappiness?
Here are a few questions that I’ve found helpful for me. When does hope become a want? Where does this form of hope come from? Is it from an idea about how things are supposed to be? Is there someway that ‘hoping’ takes you away from looking at something inside of yourself? What are the outcomes of the mental activity of “hoping?”
What about the hope you experience in your heart? What are your deepest hopes? I think this is where the teaching of Gandi supports us: ‘be the change you want to see in the world.’ This is where authentic hope actually lives–in the embodiment of our lives. What is it that we can address inside of ourselves that allows just this one person to make a shift? When we make the change, then hope lives.
Herein is the paradox of hope.
Roxanne Howe-Murphy, Ed.D. www.deepcoaching.com
Through the Power of Allowing, Discover The Wonder of Being at Home in Yourself. Herein lies real peace and your life’s truest expression.
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