Hand holding a compass with string lights entangled

“As long as we have some definite idea about or some hope for the future, we cannot really be serious with the moment that exists right now….there is no certain way. Moment after moment we have to find our way.”

Shunryu Suzuki (from Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind)

This is a time when our usual assumptions, routines, and expectations have been upended. As a result, we have less to rely on. Way less. There are no maps or guidebooks. We don’t know how this situation will unfold. The pandemic will end, but we don’t know how or when. The changes coming are unknown. It’s easy to feel uncomfortable, to want this time to end, and to imagine and hope for some better, more perfect future.

This is natural and it makes sense to hope for a better future. What might emerge if we also try on, and practice giving up hope?  What if, this is it?  How might it feel and what might we learn by “being serious with the moment that exists right now.” What is there to learn from trying on becoming more familiar with our fears, resistance, and our hope?

So much of being a business person, an entrepreneur and a human being is exploring finding our way, creating how we want to live within the limitations, and possibilities of our circumstances. Some limitations are inevitable, but these retreat-like, uncertain circumstances make them more obvious. 

So often, we resist our circumstances and can, without noticing resist our lives. We wash the dishes to get to the important things. When we are with our children or relaxing, we think about needing to work, and at work we think about relaxing or needing to be with our children. Anything would be better, more acceptable, and more comfortable than our current situation. The shadow side of hope is not seeing, feeling and being with what is.

From this place of giving up hope, really giving up hope, new possibilities can open up.  Possibilities that we missed previously might emerge. We can shift from being tossed around by our hopes to feeling the power and possibility of being fully alive, fully present for whatever comes our way. From this place, everything is alive, fluid, and rich with possibility. From this place, we can find our way.

Shunryu Suzuki goes on to say:

“Each one of us must make his own true way, and when we do, that way will express the universal way. This is the mystery. When you try to understand everything, you will not understand anything. The best way is to understand yourself.”

What are you hoping for during this time? 

What if this is it; not hoping for anything different? 

What is there to learn about yourself from giving up hope? 

When you give up hope, what new possibilities emerge?