A man who remained unmarried his whole life, and when he was dying, ninety years old, somebody asked him, “You have remained unmarried your whole life, but you have never said what the reason was. Now you are dying, at least quench our curiosity. If there is any secret, now you can tell it, because you are dying; you will be gone. Even if the secret is known, it can’t harm you.”
The man said, “Yes, there is a secret. It is not that I am against marriage, but I was searching for a perfect woman. I searched and searched, and my whole life slipped by.”
The inquirer asked, “But upon this big earth, so many millions of people, half of them women, couldn’t you find one perfect woman?”
A tear rolled down from the eye of the dying man. He said, “Yes, I did find one.”
The inquirer was absolutely shocked. He said, “Then what happened? Why didn’t you get married?”
And the old man said, “But the woman was searching for a perfect husband.”
Drop Your Expectation
Are our expectations weighing down our actual experiences?
An expectation says, “I won’t be happy unless x happens.” Here we must be careful, however. Having no expectations is a familiar way of saying that life is empty and without hope. That is not the goal. Instead, it’s a kind of openness in which anything can happen and be welcomed.
1. When we are centered, we aren’t so dependent on our circumstances. The ups and downs of everyday events don’t throw you off.
2. One can never see the whole picture. Room needs to be left for the unexpected. In that way, when the unexpected comes, it upsets nothing.
3. The only thing any of us can control is our own actions. Outcomes are beyond our control.
4. Life comes and goes. The universe gives and it takes away.
Nurturing these attitudes in yourself helps you not to build up expectations. It doesn’t mean that you can totally avoid disappointment. Our minds are stocked with images of things that we identify with happiness, and by expecting those things, we expose ourselves to letdowns. Yet we also know that a better sort of happiness exists. Your soul doesn’t exist to fill a mental list constructed in the past. Its gifts are unexpected. The happiness it brings is fresh because it comes from outside our expectations.
Learning from story Perfect Woman: Drop your Expectation
Expectations is a word that changes as you change, and the secret to achieving your expectations, first and foremost, is to absorb this fact. You are not the person you were as a child or adolescent, obviously. But what’s less obvious is that you aren’t even the person you were yesterday. The process of living brings uncountable experiences, each of which makes an impression. You don’t have to use the term Karma to realize that these impressions have shaped you from day to day.
But what does this have to do with expectations?
Unless you are centered in a reliable sense of self, your old conditioning, family setting, strong impressions, and social background—all of which come from the past—are guiding your expectations, not you. To expect something is to foresee it in the future, and psychologists doing research on happiness have concluded that people are very bad at predicting what will actually make them happy. Expectations don’t often live up to what the present moment brings.
The best way to get what you really want out of life is to constantly adapt to the present, because there is wisdom in its uncertainty.
We’ve all heard a lot about living in the now, but it’s hard to realize that what makes the present moment so elusive is that it exists and doesn’t exist at the same time. Most people accept that the now must exist because their lives are a string of separate experiences happening to them. But in the world’s wisdom traditions, the now vanishes the instant it is noticed; awareness on the wing is an illusion when viewed from timeless awareness.
Therefore, only timeless awareness and the higher self that exists in timeless awareness is truly real.
How to Revise and Raise Your Expectations
With this knowledge in mind, there are practical ways to revise and raise your expectations, starting right now. To begin with:
1. Establish yourself in the reality of now through meditation. Meditation brings the mind closer and closer to the experience of its source, which is timeless.
2. Place a value on becoming detached. Your true self is a witness that doesn’t get stuck in drama or distracted by the stickiness of strong momentary experiences.
3. Don’t fall for the voice in your head. No matter what it says to influence you, repeat these words: “That’s the past. I am not that person anymore.”
4. Don’t buy into second-hand opinions. Form your own opinions, instead.
5. Don’t accept other people’s stories about you. Whether the story is good or bad—usually it’s mixed—the overall effect is to put you in a box, which is more for their comfort than anything else.
In the end, the very best thing you can do is to escape the whole rigmarole of expectations, choosing instead to live your life without them. There is deep satisfaction in the now, which eternally renews itself instead of running after illusions that come from the past and deserve to remain there.