Abandon Hope

Abandon Hope
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When I first read that Pema Chodron says “Abandon hope”, (from her book When Things Fall Apart), I thought it was silly. But when we live in perpetual hope, she says, we also have its dark underbelly riding us: fear.

And fear involves the incessant urge to make things different outside of ourselves: change this moment by increasing the temperature, needing more money, wishing it was sunny outside: all of this because I am uneasy inside and don’t want to be with reality as it is.

The solution? Relaxing in to this moment, just as it is, without needing to protect myself from the uncertainty. I don’t often do this, although I try hard a lot. But on rare occasions I feel a small, gentle pause (often after meditation). Just for a few minutes or seconds, I feel like I know what Pema, and other great spiritual masters, are telling me when they say: Just sit. Then, I don’t want to get rid of what is. I don’t want to avoid being me, with my joy and insecurities, my fears and pleasures.

Pema also says that “warding off death is our biggest motivation”. I totally get that. When I was with my mom during her dying, almost 10 years ago now, she was breathing those deep gasping, rattling breaths in the last few days. I felt the certainty of death nearby, and being with my mother as she died changed me. Forever. I cried every day for a year in grief and loss. But slowly, acceptance unfolded like a puffy white cloud drifting across the sky.

“And when you opened your wings to wind, across the punched-tin sky above a prison courtyard, those condemned to death and those condemned to life watched how smooth and sweet a white cloud glides.” by Sandra Cisneros.

And we are all condemned to death and to life. And sometimes, just for a breath, as a cloud passes over, I remember to be fully in this moment, alive and I don’t need hope to sustain me. Just breath. Just here and now. Abandon hope and you may experience more peace

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