And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation – some fact of my life – unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I can accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.
from Alcoholics Anonymous
(commonly known as The Big Book),
4th edition p.417
To carry an expectation is to have an appointment with disappointment.
All disappointment comes from unfulfilled expectations.
If we would be rid of disappointment, first we must be rid of expectations.
If we are disappointed in our life as it is today, it is because we expected it to be something other than what it is.
If we are disappointed in our fellows, it is because we expected them to be something other than what they are.
If we are disappointed in ourselves, it is because we expected to be something other than what we are.
When we allow ourselves to live in expectation, we never allow ourselves to see what actually is.
We use expectations to give us an idea of future happiness: “I will be happy as soon as ‘X’ occurs.” And when X doesn’t occur, then I will have a reason for my unhappiness. I will have something to blame.
My lack of happiness, though, has nothing to do with what did or did not happen with regard to X.
The Veda is very clear about this: happiness exists only within. Nothing outside the Self can bring me more happiness than what I have found within, nor can anything outside the Self take away from the happiness I have found within.
All happiness is self-referral happiness. If I have no relationship with my inner Self, I will not be capable of happiness.
My task is to know the happiness that I am, and then become present in the world. From this place of self-referral happiness, I can see the world clearly. I can see what is, rather than what is not, what is, rather than what ‘should be.’ And I will begin to recognize the rightness of the world, of my fellows, of myself.
Everything, absolutely everything, is exactly as it is meant to be at this moment. To deny this is to choose to be unhappy.
Life is an adventure we are meant to enjoy. By being present to the unknown in each moment, we make ourselves available to this joy that is our birthright. We let ourselves and everyone else off the hook of what ‘should’ be happening. We let God off the hook for not giving us what we thought we wanted. We begin to have the life we are meant to have, full of happiness, meaning, service and gratitude; and when we have this, we realize it is what we were looking for all along.
Today I will let go of expectations and see my loved ones as they are, rather than as I think they should be; and I will love them for who they are, rather than in spite of who they are. And as I learn to do this with those closest to me, I will begin to find the way to accept and love myself, exactly as I am; and I will begin to accept and love the world exactly as it is; and the people in it exactly as they are.
Saraswati, Goddess of Knowledge and the Arts, DTPC LA CA