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May 8, 2023

When you stopped expecting too much from life, did you actually become happier?

At some point or the other in our life, we all must have experienced those times when nothing seems to be going right. No matter how huge amount of efforts we put in, no matter how good and best our intentions may be, we persistently continue to fail. Amidst such a scene, we get so angry and frustrated, that we end up asking life, “What wrong am I doing? I just want the other person to be happy. And I want that he/she never suffers. Is this wrong? Am I asking for too much from life? Why are you not allowing me to succeed? Why can’t you see me happy?”

Thus, we keep blaming life for not making the way, to have things our way!

But there comes one point of time, when we wipe our tears, we overcome all fears, and we dare life, “Come what may, I don’t expect anything from you here on; I am ready to accept every challenge that you throw at me now.” This resolution is an outcome of the realization that, “Even if you keep expectations from life, the result will be exactly what it was meant to be. Why keep expectations and become unhappy then?”

So, does it really help to stop expecting from life? Will it actually make us happier? Come, let us explore…

First and foremost, it is extremely difficult, or rather practically impossible, to have no expectations whatsoever, just by saying it! You bet, it requires a lot of homework to get there. Further, reducing our expectations without an in-depth understanding of the profound science behind ‘having expectations’, may not only fail to give us the desired result, but can also prove dangerous by having boosted our ego as we start taking pride in the ‘renunciation’ of expectations by us, without making a real assessment of how far we’ve actually succeeded in our renunciation.

It is only when Gnani, the Enlightened One, enlightens us with the entire gamut of the science of expectations – by explaining in detail the different kinds of expectations that rule our life, the real reasons behind how these expectations get born and take shape in our life, the actual causes and effects that lead to fulfillment or non-fulfillment of our expectations, and to top it all, which part of our being is really having expectations, consequently who is suffering and who is not touched at all inside this being – do we gain the right understanding!!! Thereafter, as we apply His teachings step-by-step, the compassionate Gnani holds our hand throughout the journey, so that we successfully come out of the fire of expectations that’s burnt us day in and day out. Only then do we stop expecting, after which we actually become happier indeed!

Today, we shall try and have a little glimpse of some of the teachings of the revered Gnani.

Broadly speaking, for understanding purpose, we’ll categorize our expectations into:

  1. Interpersonal – Our expectations from people around us,
  2. Personal – Our expectations from ourselves.
  1. Interpersonal

We generally have expectations from those whom we love the most. And since we love them, we want them to be happy; furthermore, we want them to never suffer in life too. And therefore, we keep defining for them what is right and what isn’t. This is a very nice thing to do! However, in the process, we tend to forget that what we consider to be right is according to our viewpoint. The other person could be looking at the situation from an entirely different viewpoint, but which may be equally valid as our viewpoint.

Now, having different viewpoints in itself is not problematic! It causes trouble only when we expect and consequently insist that the other person abandons his viewpoint and agrees with ours. If one listens to us, we feel happy; and if not, it leads to tension and clashes.

For example, a mother feels her teenage daughter should contribute at least two hours a day to household chores because that is what she did, when she was of that age. On the other hand, the daughter feels that it takes up too much of her time, which she could otherwise use to better her skills in academics and extra-curricular activities.

Now, both are right from their individual viewpoints. And therefore, if the two talk it out amicably and decide to reach a solution that gives peace to both, it would become a win-win situation. But if either of them thinks that ‘I alone am right, and it is the other one who should agree with me’, the problem commences. Not only does it cause friction, but it also leaves behind a lasting bitterness between the two; thus making everyone unhappy.

If we were to dig in a little deeper, we would soon find that this expectation to have our loved ones agree with us stems from: (a) our attachment for that person and (b) the underlying ego which prevents us from admitting any other viewpoint, apart from our own.

2. Personal

In case of expectations that we have from our very own self too, we need to understand that not everything is under our control. For instance, we may always eat healthy food, yet we may fall ill, isn’t it?

The reason is that our life is ultimately determined by the karmic accounts brought forward from our past lives. The seeds sown by us in our past births are bearing fruits now, and therefore these fruits may or may not be in line with our present expectations that we have in this birth. Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan says, “If the fruit (of your effort) is as per your expectations, it is the effect (result) of your merit (good) karma, and if it is not upto your expectation, it is the effect of your demerit karma. Where there is no expectation of even a single little thing, there arises the bliss!”

Hence, whenever things do not happen our way, if we manage to remember only this, we will be able to positively deal with every situation wherein our expectations have not been fulfilled; and we will be able to always remain happy in life; don’t you think so?…

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