No Expectations, No Life
I have often pondered the terms “non-attachment” and “no expectations” as to how they may relate to one’s spirituality and daily life experiences. It puzzles me when those who are deemed masters of the human condition and of spirituality suggest that we form no attachments and have no expectations.
I on the other hand, fail to see how we would accomplish anything without some level of attachment and expectation. Yes, I am a rebel! I don’t immediately believe everything I hear or
read. I don’t simply fall in line with a new train of thought because a “master” said it is so. To better explain my point of view, let’s look at the English definitions of the two words in question:
1. The act of attaching or the condition of being attached.
2. Something such as a tie, band, or fastener that attaches one thing to another.
3. A bond, as of affection or loyalty; fond regard.
1. The act or state of expecting or the state of being expected
2. Something looked forward to, whether feared or hoped for, a prospect of future benefit or fortune: “We have great expectations for his future.”
3. An attitude of expectancy or hope; anticipation: to regard something with expectation.
4. The degree of probability that something will occur: “By adhering to a healthier way of eating and working out, she expects to improve her physical and mental health.”
You Can't Have One Without The Other
Now that English class is over, let’s take the meaning of the words attachment and expectation, and apply them to one’s everyday life. For me, I looked at the attachment I formed with my newborn child and the obvious attachment my child formed to me.
If I had not formed an attachment to my newborn and no one else was there to fill in the gap, do you believe my child would have thrived? It’s a proven fact, infants will not thrive unless someone forms a beneficial attachment to them.
To form an attachment, I had to have and hold expectations of being the best mother/parent/care giver one could be. Quite frankly, we both would have been on the losing end of an “unattached, no expectations” relationship had I not. For
every positive experience in my life, attachments and expectations were crucial. I held expectations of being the individual I envisioned myself to be. Which includes the many levels my individuality encompasses; mate, friend, mother, teacher, provider, etc.
If I had not done so, I wouldn’t have chosen a course of action in life. Nor would I have sought a path leading to a place I held zero expectations of going to!
In other words, how can anyone even be a thing without attaching themselves to the expectation of being? Why stick with/attach yourself to something if you don’t believe/expect it will pay off or be beneficial in some way? What would be the point? Exactly! Without attachments and expectations, we’d revert to lumps of useless clay. No one creates, enhances (these are forms of attachments) without desiring, believing–expecting to be a different or greater vessel, and no longer a lump of unformed/unaware clay.
Balancing Attachments And Expectations
However, I do understand that attachments and expectations can get out of hand. We’ve all heard of or witnessed instances of fatal attachments by a loved one or a stranger. Their attachments and expectations became delusional, one-sided and sometimes dangerous.
Also, there are people whose desire for greater physical, mental or spiritual levels of growth have formed similar fatal attachments and expectations.
The initial intent may have been good, but the means and the end became too extreme. Extreme attachments or expectations, regardless of one’s initial intention of them being good, creates an
imbalance. Balance is what’s needed; balance in all things generates the best outcome.
Instead of denying my obvious need for some form of attachment and expectation, I allow myself to attach with a greater awareness of the process. That the end goal, the expectation is to be in balance and harmony with mind, body, heart and soul.
However, I agree with not attaching yourself to only one course or outcome. Sometimes the thing we desire and the way we expect things to go, turns out to be the very thing we’re not ready for. Or we simply didn’t need it and it would be better to let that notion go, to become unattached from it. Again, I believe it is a balancing act of attaching and un-attaching, of expecting, and in some instances having no expectations at all. But only those who are ready and willing to accept whatever and however things come their way, can have such fluid expectations and attachments.
Expectations + Balance=Harmony x Growth
Yes, I’m attached to my spiritual growth and to a path that will hopefully lead me to unlimited, optimal experiences. And yes, I do expect to have great and small accomplishments, be happy and sad, witness great beauty and ugliness. I will continue to experience tenderness and pain, hear soul stirring harmonies and uncomfortable noise.
Plus, I’ll have the pleasure of tasting mouth-watering delights while rejecting what I refuse to acquire a taste for. Yes, I will continue to allow my attachments and expectations to come and go as needed. To your attachments and expectations, may they be balanced and always in harmony. ~ ♥ Yvonne L. Jones