From my exile, I tell you this.
Your expectations are what constrains your own happiness. Trying to predict what will delight and ennoble you is a pointless task. The best things that have ever happened to you were beyond your imagination before they unfolded, and the best things that will happen in the future are also unrevealed.
The divine surprise is the joy of life, that moment when the flower opens in front of you and you suddenly see the world in a brand new way.
Expectations, as the Buddha reminds us, are the basis of suffering. You will always endure pain and hardship, but it is where your expectations are crushed that suffering occurs.
Your grief over things not working out like you want them to poisons you and the people you love. They cannot reveal possibilities beyond your expectations if they stay chained to your own limited views, bound to those old tapes about how things should be, trapped by your own narrow view of desire.
When people share their stories with me, I have to remember how their understanding is bounded by their fears and assumptions. They don’t echo back what happened, they reflect their experience of what happened, tainted and tunnelled by their own preconceptions.
Finding the surprise in their limited vision is difficult, but it is only by re-contextualizing, opening to the miracle of new perception, that we can find the growth and healing which comes in the new surprise.
People who really believe that they know perfectly what they need and want baffle me. How do they participate in process, become open to the world, clear out their blocks and receive the blessing of the divine surprise? Do they really believe that being a pushy bottom, tricking others to play out the roles we already have in our head, will ever be really opening and satisfying?
Settling for fake edge, a trendy whiff of the current, seems so much less potent than actually being on the cutting edge where the unrevealed is sliced open. The presence for the surprising is what keeps the heart and brain vital, life’s energy flowing into us with challenging delight.
Holding open the space for your transformation, for you to surprise me beyond expectation and habit, is hard. While I know the odds are good you will just do the same old thing, I need to be present to sense your changes, to engage and affirm them, to help you come out from behind your old routines. I need be ready for you to surprise me.
When we don’t get what we expect, that doesn’t mean what we get is bad or wrong. Just because a computer isn’t running Windows™ doesn’t mean that it is broken.
As weak and emotionally spare as I am, I live for surprises. I want to see blossoming, metamorphosis and transformation in the world. Being bashed by the routine, though, shut down because I don’t simply fit into your expectations always has a cost, a deep and crushing cost. You don’t want me to surprise you, you want me to fit easily into what you already think you understand, slipping into the stereotypes of your life.
Having your old beliefs die to be reborn in a fresh, new way isn’t something that you really want to happen. Your dogma comforts you, wrapping you in the insulation a consumer culture depends on to keep you functioning as part of the economic machine. You have been trained to follow the patterns, to respond properly to stimuli, to be a tame member of the masses. Wild, raw, and vibrant is shunned.
Being present opens you to too much, to overwhelming, to the demands of twist. Trained to resist revelation, you reject surprises, papering them over with your own canned version of reality. You stay defended, less than vulnerable.
Opening is the transformational moment, not only changing our view of the world, changing our stance to understanding and compassion, but also opening our heart and drive to emerge, to expand, to be more effective and loving in the world.
Your powerlessness is locked in your expectations, not in your essence. When you fear being exposed, fear opening, fear change, you resist all the possibilities within you. The old tapes that tell you the limits of who you are, warning of pain beyond the current knowns, keep you small and compliant, playing a game that can never be won.
The world opens up when we open up to it, opening in the moment of the divine surprise. As your expectations drop, your reality expands, growing along with your heart and your vision.
From my own exile I tell you this, battered as I am from a lifetime of other people’s expectations being imposed on me.
The reality that I experience is not necessarily the same reality that others know, nor is the reality that they experience anything that I know. Knowledge is a search for correlation between all our realities.
Being open to that correlation is being open to divine surprise. Just add some laughter to help the lubricate the revelation and divine surprise can save you.
Even from yourself.