Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Expectations - To Have or Not to Have

Having expectations is not a problem. They are necessary for working towards achieving our goals. Expectations are connected with our actions. What are the drivers of our actions? Are they essentially based on  Love or fear? What makes 'expectations' problematic is having 'unrealistic expectations'! 
Unrealistic expectations are born out of  unbalanced and unhealthy drivers. 
Fear,  Loss, are the main ones I guess!

Having expectations is not something I have a choice over. Most actions before they are performed have expectations which propel them. So nothing will be done if there is no expectation of a result.
Expectations can be valid and yet create problems because many a time what I expect and what I get are poles apart! Is this because I am a poor judge? Or is it because I do not have the capacity to project? Any answer only shows me how limited my capabilities are!
So expectations become a problem when disappointment is the result and not a problem if one knows how to handle the disappointment.  

Why is having expectations a problem?  This is especially true in situations that are beyond our control - when no action is possible.  If one can try his/her best, then at there is the satisfaction of having tried.
We do not have much choice over what is out there - could potentially feel like stress. But we have a choice over is whether to feel distress or act objectively and continue performing actions with "no guarantee expected" over the results.

18th Chapter Verse no. 18 - 45 - Swe swe karma explains that the WORK WE DO IS WORSHIP . With great sincerity and love one should do our work what ever it may be. This life / profession is being chosen by us and we should work with love and affection towards the same. In this way, Life will not get boring and we will able to convert our difficulties into Oppurtunities.

MAA KARMA PHALA HETUR BHUR: Do not be the cause of results. This does not imply that     we do not expect results. It just means leave it to the Laws to decide the results. You can only invoke the laws, you cannot control them. What is needed is to recognize that we cannot play god. We need to accept the results sportingly. 
Unrealistic' expectations  is when we feel insecure and want some one else close to us fulfill our incapacities. I EXPECT a person A to behave in a particular way whereas if I were in a similar situation I would have never reacted that way.
Karma phala tyaaga - this is usually (mis-)understood as "giving up" results, or "giving up expectation" of results. A better meaning would be "giving up expecting guarantee of results". In an probabilistic and multi dimensional universe, there can be no guarantees. To expect guarantees is to cheat ourselves - our false expectations can hurt us because expectations do not match the truth. 

Veda tells us is the action/karmic adhikara, but the expection fo results becomes irrelevant with veda anta. Do you agree?
All actions are connected to expectations. When I write these words, I expect you will understand them. My expectations will help me frame the words better.
Creative Visualization is basically capturing expectations on a mental camera and framing the picture.This is also the truth behind upaasanas. You become what you think.
Vedanta resolves action by negating the agent of action. Agent, action, cause, effect, are all mithya, so the question of action and expectation is irrelevant in Vedanta. The Atma is ever free from all action and results. Hence Vedanta is a separate topic from rest of the Veda which deals with action and results.
"expection for results becomes irrelevant with veda-anta". I think the word "irrelevant" was probably too extreme to have used. What I implied was the expectations become a "non issue" as far as vedanta is concerned.
I see your point.You are right. All our discussions regarding expectation comes within the scope of the relative, whereas Vedanta is speaking about the absolute. As the absolute, I am neither a karta (agent) nor a bhokta (experience of results).
I think as far as living this life, every single day, expectations are nearly impossible to extinguish as long as we have desires. But it is the objectivity about the choices that matters (vairagya?)

Expectations are part of the role play that we have assumed as human beings. To be human is to have human aspirations – ‘Purusharthas’ like Dharma, Artha, Kaama, and Moksha. 
As long as one lives, these purusharthas will drive all our activity. Hence extinguishing desires totally is neither possible nor necessary.
Even after self knowledge, relative desires will still continue as long as the role continues. The difference is that these are not desires for self fulfilment. Rather they are expressions of the role. Put in another way, one person depends on fulfilling desires to reach one's purpose, while another person  desires simply because it is a human privilege to desire.
Disappointments are just a small part of life and not our whole life. This too shall pass away. S..., this awareness can help us be objective about choices (...and results).

Karma yoga does not speak about eliminating desires – rather, it refers to right attitudes that help manage our desires. 
Desires can be either our servants or our masters – it is upto us to decide. Karma yoga helps us discover that life is a Yagna that involves  ‘Arpana’ and ‘Prasad’.
The attitude of Ishwara Arpana helps us take responsibility for our actions. We choose actions that conform to Dharma while at the same time working for what we want  (artha and kaama). This attitude is one of ‘thanksgiving’ – I honour the Lord by my well chosen actions since Ishwara is the one who has gifted us  with the ability to think, choose, and act.
When we love what we do, we are willing to face our fears. When our attention is on the goal, obstacles become small. But when our eyes are fixed on obstacles, we give up on our goals. The choice for us is whether to choose love and manage fear, or to choose fear and lose out on what we love.
Many a time, however, we find ourselves in situations where we have to do what we do not enjoy. This is especially the case with respect to relationships and duties.  

The attitude of Ishwara Arpana helps us here to do the right thing – we surrender our likes and dislikes to a larger purpose. Our acceptance of Ishwara overcomes our personal likes and dislikes.
Failure and Success are both results that are blessed by the hands of ishwara through the universal laws of action and result. The attitude of ‘Prasaada’, helps us overcome fear of frustrated expectations. We are empowered to take risks because we trust that we will survive. Our ‘love’ of Ishwara is greater than the ‘fear’ of failure.

The life of Karma is a therapy for experiencing and learning (first-hand practical knowledge) about actions and results. This is called ‘Pariksha’ or research. Going through the process, we come to a stage of maturity where Moksha becomes more important than Artha and Kaama. 
Our priorities change, and hence our desires. We move from Tamas to Rajas and subsequently towards Sattva. 

Sattva indicates a balanced personality and maturity. Success and achievements become less of a priority and learning and fulfilment become more important in life.  The mature person questions the nature and purpose of life and pursues self knowledge.
Ultimately, it is self knowledge that frees the person from limitation. The realisation is that all limitations are part of conditions that appear and disappear, whereas we are the nature of reality that is eternal and free from change. The searcher self and the sought self are one and the same. Moksha and Mumukshu are one and the same.
Expectations, I guess also stem from being judgmental. Maybe the best way is to rate a person (if at all) at Zero with zero expectations. 
You are right in your observation we have double standards as far as others’ behaviours are concerned.  What we need to do is to put ourselves in their shoes and understand their beliefs and thought processes. 
We can avoid being judgmental by staying objective and adopting a balanced point of view.

You mention zero expectations. The fact is that we can only tend towards zero expectations, but we can never actually reach zero. Even expecting to have zero expectation itself is an expectation, right? 
Zero expectation is neither desirable nor wise.  In relationships, we need to be in touch with each other’s needs, expectations, feelings, and beliefs. We also need to express our feelings and needs and ask for what is important to us. We may have to experiment with different ways of asking, and a very important way of asking is by first making the atmosphere comfortable for     the other to feel like giving.

There is always a possibility that we may still not get what we want or expect. That is how the creation is. Everything that we want or expect will not be fulfilled. What we don’t have is always more than what we have. This is a fact that we need to bear in mind while asking. We have to work with probabilities for that is how the universe works.

Aware of this fact, we can face our disappointments objectively rather than take it personally. Expectations can go wrong – This is murphy’s law. Sad but true. A better way of handling the truth is to ask “what is in it for me?” or “how do we get over this without much damage?”.

Things can go wrong once in a way, but it really requires absolute genius to go wrong all the time. I am happy I am not a genius. Phew!

Serenity Interactive
Topics of Interest

Personal Growth Pages

Fear      Beliefs      Control Dramas      

No comments: