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December 19, 2006


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I'm finally going to concede to the truth, Brian Hines, you are definitely hopeless! :-)

Marcel, you've made my day. What a distinction! I hadn't thought of myself that way, but it's beautiful. I'll walk prouder on the dog walk I'm about to take. Or rather, that Serena is about to take me on.

Brian I in in agreement.

Giving up hope is a sign of genuine progress. Only when you finally let go of your last lingering strands of attachment of hope can you finally move on to a new cycle of growth. You accept the facts, and only then can you begin a new cycle of growth. That is when the miracles occur.

I once had a job and my boss was demanding the impossible and making my life miserable. But I had hope that he would change when he saw that I was making good progress. However, after a year or so of misery I gave up hope and resigned even though I had no new job to go to and had 5 hungry kids to support. Shortly thereafter I received a call from another manager who had heard of my resignation. He had wanted me to come work for him on a new exciting project, but was unable to ask me until I had given up hope and made myself available. Suddenly I went from hopelessness to a new cycle of growth. My life went from misery to joy. All because I had been honest with myself and given up hope


“When love is gone, there’s always justice.
And when justice is gone, there’s always force.
And when force is gone, there’s always Mom.
Hi, Mom.”

Laurie Anderson, “O Superman”

Dante spent his early adulthood and over two decades pining for a woman he never met. He then wrote an opus castigating and punishing every member of his society and the machine of his culture for the sin of keeping him from realizing a dream. He was pissed off, knew what he had written was tough stuff, and gamely warned all his readers that he had absolutely no pity left, after having spent it all on himself.

Beatrice dodged that bullet.

And how exactly did Watts explain to his family that he was leaving the Anglican Church, and England proper, to pursue mysticism? By rationalizing to them that there was, after all, no emotion involved, Mummy. Including hope, which by all means will not be found in greener pastures? Having read Humphreys, I know that little Alan was introduced to the idea of compassion.

Compassion was the pulse in the heart of my last comment. Like any other appropriately functioning emotion, hope is not a tool to be employed like a maul, any more than anger or joy. Dante, Watts, and any lost climbers’ family will have a stew of feelings, and hope has a “kinship with these nasties.”

Enlightenment sought precludes hope, since we haven’t been enlightened before and have no idea what it will look like. Hope will form an expectation, as will fear, or pride. Whatever you own, give it all away. Oh, yes, all. But look well, the central Buddhist precept is not detachment, it is compassion. When we apprehend suffering as the condition of being in this world, the world gives us hope as the means of realizing there is no separation among the ten-thousand things.

Death will detach you well and goodly. No need to practice. So the world’s religions and philosophies shift the deadline, playing accounting games. Is it enlightenment, or heaven, the city on the hill, or the garden? These are head games, when there is another group of friends, gathered at the outfitters, planning their ascent of Mt. Hood. They don’t need to hope, the will do this like walking a dog.

Marcel, I agree. Hopelessness isn't for kids. Children believe in Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, monsters who live under their bed.

We adults have similar fantasies. That's part of being human: our ability to construct alternative realities in our mind. This includes envisioning a future.

Hope is part and parcel of our consciousness. As I type a word, there's an expectation that I'll be able to type another. And another. But this is a minimal sort of hope, a small projection of what is now into what will be.

What I've been talking about in my mini-post series on hope is something other than what children or us childlike adults are capable of. It's what sages, mystics, seers, saints tell us is possible.

To be in touch with reality as it is, not as how we'd like it to be. Now, I have no idea what "as it is" means. I just am confident that I can get closer to it than I am now. This doesn't feel like hope to me; it's more like hunger--a hunger for the truth that I'm not yet able to taste.

I have a lot of sympathy for human weaknesses and frailties, because I'm a weak and frail human. I understand why people pray and hope for a miracle. I might do so myself when pressed to the limit.

And yet...I believe there is more to life than what we consider "normality." It's normal to hope. But is this the height to which we should aspire? I think it's possible to climb higher, beyond hope, to another way of seeing.

I hope this isn't just a hope.

Hello. Would you be interested in contributing to this?


Oops! Well, I hope that link works. :)

Behold! A Christmas miracle. A Virgin birth. A child in Bethleham is born. Actually, a Kimodo dragon in London, but as we have been told, the Lord works in mysterious ways. http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/europe/12/20/uk.komodo.reut/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

I really like your thinking here, Brian.

And you quote Carolyn, who I consider breathtakingly wise. I really would prefer that a few people in my life, who hope I will be what I am not, would let the hope fall away.

And thank you, I always suspected the Pandora story had a hole, just couldn't quite find what was wrong with it. I think you have it nailed.

this post is amazing. thank you. i need to save it so i can reread it several times.

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