An old teaching says, “Those who grow old, cherish no expectations.” We live in a chaos filled world, growing more chaotic each day. Order as we know it doesn’t seem to be as aligned. We have a post-truth discussion. People identify with their belief systems, so a different belief system is regarded as an aggression against their identity. If we identify with our expectations, we are going to be perpetually disappointed. When you are perpetually disappointed, you are creating stress on your endocrine system, your immune system, and your sense of wellness dissipates.
There are some other problems with identifying with your expectations and beliefs. Because they are the ego’s expectations, they are not necessarily in the Divine flow. These expectations are simply what you’re believing in the moment or in the year. How do we become aligned with the Divine will, also known as the “flow of the Tao”, without getting caught up in our expectations? Perhaps the best way to start is to release all expectations. That doesn’t mean you don’t make plans. It means we have an overall game plan of what we are doing with our life, but we are not attached to it. Nothing appears as it is.
That’s a very freeing way to live, perhaps more aligned with reality on the physical plane. We are open to what is, but we’re not attached to what we think it is. This creates an exciting world, because we understand nothing is real and everything is the play of consciousness, regardless of how we think it’s supposed to play out. The physical plane is an illuminated illusion of the Divine, and on the higher planes we ultimately have the Divine will unfolding. When we are aligned with that we are in the Tao, in that flow. We don’t get upset, because there’s nothing to get upset about, except with our idea of being attached to our expectations and our expectations not being met because we have a certain idea of how it should be.
The Tao Te Ching says, “The master does what she can and then lets go, knowing that the world is forever out of her control.” That’s a good way to live. This is the essence of the Tao. With the unfolding, we’re aligned the best we can be, and if it isn’t going the way we think it’s going, we let go of our idea of how it should be going, in alignment with the way that it’s actually moving. This doesn’t go well for people who need to be in control, because control is an illusion. You can’t be in control. The world doesn’t work that way. Do what you can. Make your plans. Organize the best you can, and then let go and don’t complain.
The lack of comprehension of this principle causes a lot of difficulty in the world and a lot of mass anxiety, because people would like to feel that they have some control over life. The outer world is saying, this is a spiritual teaching, and it is all out of your control. Do your best, and don’t worry about it.
There’s a story called The Great Fixer. The Great Fixer fixed things for a living, and he was always happy, but he lived in a kingdom where the king enjoyed everyone being unhappy. Disguised, the king went about the kingdom to see that everyone was satisfactorily unhappy. He came upon the great fixer who was sitting there with a lit candle, food and drink, and playing his guitar, and this was very upsetting to the king. The king asked him about his livelihood, and he replied that he was the Great Fixer – everyone knew him. He went out into the street each day and fixed things for people.
The next morning, when the Great Fixer went out to find work, no one responded. Someone said, “Don’t you know? The king outlawed fixing.” So then he asked if anyone needed their barn cleaned. He started making his money cleaning barns, and returned home to sit with his candle, his food and drink, and his guitar. He was having a good time, when the disguised king returned to check in and see if he was unhappy. He told him, “No, I am happy. But the king outlawed fixing. Who’s ever heard of that? So I cleaned out some barns.”
The next day, he went out and asks if anyone needs their barns cleaned and the people tell him, “Don’t you know? The king outlawed cleaning barns.” So he found some older people who needed some sweeping. He got paid, and returned to his candle, food and drink, and his guitar. As was becoming routine, the king dropped by to make sure the Great Fixer was unhappy. Of course, he was not. He was having a good time. He replied that he felt that the king was acting a little crazy. He couldn’t clean barns, so he started sweeping people’s houses. This pattern went on and on and on until finally society shut down.
Now, in that kind of society there is one thing that never shuts down – the army. Seeing that there were not a lot of jobs left, the Great Fixer joined the army. He got paid, and the king discovered that the Fixer joined the army. The Great Fixer later learns that the army is no longer paying a daily wage, but, rather, payment every six months. So, the Great Fixer decided to pawn his sword for cash and to replace it with a paper maché sword. When disguised king dropped by the Fixer told him how the king had made things a bit tough, so he’d pawned his sword.
The following day, the king went out dressed as himself and announced that he had a prisoner to execute. He pointed to the Great Fixer and said, “I want that one to take out his sword out and execute this prisoner.” The Great Fixer told the king that, with all due respect, he needed to think about it, because he didn’t join the army to kill anybody. The king allowed him that night to think about it, believe the Great Fixer to be trapped. He really had him now.
The next day the Fixer had his paper maché sword perfected. It looked like a real sword. The king brought out the prisoner and ordered the Fixer to kill him. The Great Fixer pulled out his paper maché sword, handling it with pretend proficiency and said, “This is really a magical sword. If this prisoner is innocent, it will collapse like paper maché. If he is guilty, it will run him through, and justice will be served.” He then took the sword and stabbed the prisoner, and, of course, it collapsed. The king went mad, because all of his expectations of trapping the Fixer had been completely foiled, and everyone began to celebrate. The Great Fixer fixed the whole society. It was not that he tried. This was not his expectation, and it was certainly not in his game plan.
That is a little story of how we can keep life. The great fixer was always celebrating. He was always having a good time. He didn’t get stuck on his expectations, and he was at peace. When we are at peace, we live long.
May everyone be blessed to learn how to be in the world like the Great Fixer, cherishing no expectations, while doing our best.