I recently read a friend’s amazing blog post that was a total game changer for me, my life, and my relationships. I immediately knew, while reading the post, that it could mean the end of much, if not all, of the suffering and drama in my life. I am compelled to share this simple mantra that I believe is the one of the wisest and helpful pieces of advice EVER!
Shift perspective. Surrender expectations. Embrace uncertainty
What I realized in an instant was that the sadness, disappointment, frustration, conflict, doubt, and heartache throughout my life was caused by expecting too much and needing control. I know that I am not alone in my pattern of expectation and control. There are lots of great spiritual teachers, including Patanjali, who have written abundantly on this topic to steer us away from these traps. These traps keep us bound to the past or fixated on the future and far, far away from living in the moment, which is actually the only place we can and will ever be and the only place we will find happiness and freedom.
Surrender expectations… Just totally let them go! Give up expectations of your partner, family, friends, co-workers, or boss. Let people be who they are, apart from who/what you think they should be. It is especially silly to expect something from relationships if you have not asked for anything. So…communicate! Stay detached from results. Detach from outcomes. Keep your focus on the present moment. And enjoy it! Stop the mind from wandering ahead into the future. Attachment and expectation lead to judging, criticizing, and comparing. All three are the handymen of the ego, which will inevitably leave us feeling inadequate or disappointed. Surrendering expectations and detaching from outcomes does not give us permission to be lazy. We still have to put in the work. Plant the seeds, water the soil, and provide sunlight…but don’t come back each day just to see how much the tree has grown.
Embrace uncertainty… You simply cannot control anything or anyone other than yourself and your own thoughts, actions, and reactions. (Spend two weeks with a 5- year-old girl and this becomes quickly apparent!) The only constant is change. So, the only thing you will find when you seek certainty and control is pain. It is so tempting, though…and very deceiving. Because you can very easily think you have control and think you KNOW what is going to happen. The illusion of wanting control, however, is thinking that we will ever truly have it. In the end, you will have controlled yourself out of a good day, great experience, or fulfilling relationship. It is just not worth it.
In detachment lies the wisdom of uncertainty…in the wisdom of uncertainty lies the freedom from our past, from the known, which is the prison of past conditioning. And in our willingness to step into the unknown, the field of all possibilities, we surrender ourselves to the creative mind that orchestrates the dance of the universe.
When all expectations are surrendered and uncertainty is fully embraced, you will live your life with the curiosity and excitement of a child. There is hope and wishfullness, but no desire for control or knowing. There is no fear. Everything is new and like a surprise! Stop THINKING and PLANNING and WORRYING and EXPECTING and CONTROLLING and you will find PEACE.
The Serenity Prayer is another great mantra to assist in this journey. Feel free to remove the notion of asking this of God, you can also ask this of yourself: