Putting fear and hope out there


It’s sometimes easy to put fears “out there” in others, or the future. And also to do the same with hope.

And we do it in many different ways, including these:

It’s difficult now, but it will lead to something good, because…..

A woman will save me. A good job will save me. More money will save me. God will save me.

Technology will save us. Sustainability will save us. God will save us.

One I know from myself……

I am in a dark night of the soul, a kundalini process, an awakening process. It’s difficult now, but will lead to something good sometimes in the future.

And another from people into new age thinking:

Humanity is in an awakening process. It’s difficult now, but it will lead to a bright future.

Human evolution will bring us into a golden age, one of peace and prosperity.

When I notice I do this, I can ask myself: What is it I don’t want to feel right now? What would I have to feel if I didn’t go into these stories? And then feel it, rest with the sensations.

Also, I can see if I can find this future anywhere in immediate experience. Can I find it outside of these images, words, and sensations?

I can ask myself: Is it true? Can I know for certain it’s true?

I can examine what happens when I believe those thoughts. How do I live my life? What is it I avoid feeling or doing?

I can turn the statements around, and find specific examples of how that may be as or more true. For instance, what are some of the specific and realistic options for what may happen to humanity, ranging from what I hope for and fear the most? Can I really know? And does it really matter if I cannot know?

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A couple of things about hope:

Hope, in a conventional sense, is often (a) images and words, (b) associated with sensations, (c) which makes it appear real and solid, as if it’s about a real future. It rests on an experience of time and the future as real and “out there” somewhere, and what’s imagined in that future as real as well.

There is another form of hope. It’s when we see that future and what may be in the future – to me – is created by images, words and sensations, and I cannot find it outside of these. And also when the ways I stop myself as recognized in a similar way. That gives a sense of curiosity, openness, interest and a quiet natural confidence.

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Fear/hope life will show up outside of the boundaries of beliefs


From the previous post:

… any belief creates boundaries for life, for what can and should happen. So when life shows up outside of these boundaries, or even when we fear/hope that life may show up outside of these boundaries, there is also stress. When there are beliefs, we get stress from two sources.

This is something else to explore about beliefs: when we believe a story, when we take it as an absolute truth, there is both hope and fear that life will show up outside of the boundary created by the belief.

We hope, because somewhere we know that no story represent an absolute truth.

And we fear, because we have invested time and energy into the belief, and we (think we) are not familiar with the landscape that opens up without it.

Hope, fear and wishful thinking


After having done The Work for a while, it becomes even more clear how hope and fear are two sides of the same coin, and also how any belief is stressful, no matter its content.

In some evolutionary spirituality groups, they see human evolution as moving towards a larger-scale awakening to who (as individuals) and what (as spirit) we are. Humanity as a whole is evolving, and we are evolving towards awakening.

In some groups, they see us evolving towards God awakening to itself through groups and even humanity as a whole, or even as the Earth awakening to itself through humans.

And yet another flavor emphasizes how everything will change. Not only will all problems go away, but we will shift into another dimension etc.

It is a tricky landscape to navigate, if we want to have a differentiated view and not blindly accept or reject it (both of which are from blind beliefs and wishful thinking).

The questions to ask of any relative truth

Of course, as humans in the world, it is useful to have maps and frameworks. They help us orient and navigate. But there are also some questions to ask about these maps, before we adopt them: (a) Is it necessary? (b) What are the effects of having this map? (c) What is my motivation for wanting to adopt and use it? (d) And finally, is it valid?

Is it necessary?

In the case of seeing us evolve, on a large scale, towards awakening, as far as I can tell, it is not necessary at all. A not-knowing mind seem quite sufficient, and far more practical. It keeps my thinking receptive and responsive to changing situations.

What are its effects?

What are the effects of these beliefs?

Complacency is one possibility. Everything is taken care of, so I can just sit back and relax. A related one is denial. It will all be OK. Just trust the process. I know it will happen, and nothing can make me change my belief.

Fear and compulsion is another. What is my role in this awakening? What if I don’t discover my role? What if I am left out? Maybe I will be the only one who doesn’t get it, who is left behind? Maybe I will be the Neanderthal in this evolutionary shift? What if humanity screws it up? What if it is all planned out, and we do something to derail it?

Cognitive dissonance is yet another. I know that it will all work out, but it certainly doesn’t always seem that way. There are still lots of huge problems in the world, and not much movement in the right direction. Also, I know that it is only an idea, so it feels false to try to make it appear as anything more than that. Something in me knows the deception in trying to make a relative truth appear absolute.

And eventually, hopelessness and disillusion. I thought it would happen by the magic year 2012, but it didn’t, so what now? My one hope fell through, maybe even my whole worldview.

(Of course, all of these are really gifts. They are invitations for us to examine what happens when we cling to ideas as more than just a relative truth, and see that every belief – no matter how nice and supportive it looks on the surface – has stress and suffering built into it.)

What is my motivation for adopting it?

And why would I want to adopt it? The only reason I personally can find is to feel better about myself and our collective situation, or in other words wishful thinking.

Is it valid?

There is certainly data to support evolution, but not much solid data to support the idea of larger scale awakening. And in any case, the future is always wide open. Trends do not equal certainty of outcome.

Any amount of support still leaves not-knowing mind

Since any idea, including any map, has only a relative truth, it is something to hold very lightly. It can, at best, have practical and temporary value. There is nothing absolute about it.

I may have amazing visions showing me the future. I may have solid research, showing clear evolutionary trends. I may have the most sophisticated and refined theories and explanations about it. I may have the support from the most respected scientists or gurus.

Yet, what it comes down to is that it is only a map. Only an idea.

The idea of gravity has lots of support. I have a great deal of experience with it. It seems consistent. It has the support of science (although they don’t know exactly what it is.) Yet, it still remains only an idea. And if I believe in it, a belief. The idea and belief tells me that if I hold a ball out and release it, it will fall to the ground and it may even bounce a few times. But if I am honest, I cannot know what will happen. It may stay suspended. It may float away. It could happen. I don’t know. No amount of evidence can tell me for certain what will happen in the future.

It is true for gravity, and it is even more (and far more obviously) true for our human and planetary evolution.

It is a nice idea that we will evolve towards becoming more awake to who and what we are, but that is all it is. If solid data seems to support it, then it may help us navigate that terrain. But if data does not seem to support it, then we can let it go.

Personally, I cannot see much solid data for it yet, in spite of all the anecdotal support from certain groups and people. At best, it seems flimsy, and also as wishful thinking. (It may also be one of the side-effects of an initial awakening process, a projection out there of what is more truly going on right here.) We believe in it, because we want it to be true. And we do so without exploring the consequences for ourselves and others of that belief.

As an idea, as a map clearly seen as having only limited and temporary value, it may turn out useful, but maybe not yet. And as a belief, it brings stress and dissonance as any other belief.