Hope means intentionally using the idea of a future to keep you from experiencing the present– Byron Katie
Hope as an alternative to getting caught up in worries
Conventional wisdom says that hope is good. In difficult times, we need hope to keep going.
That’s not wrong. If the alternative is to get buried in fears and worries, then hope is much better.
And as with anything out of alignment with reality, there are downsides to hope.
The downsides to hope
Somewhere in us, we know that hope is a fantasy that we invest some reality in to comfort ourselves. We know we cannot know what will happen in the future, and that any ideas we have about the future are – quite literally – a fantasy. We can never convince ourselves completely to hope even if we try.
Also, by overly relying on hope, we may not take care of the current situation to the extent we are called to.
As Byron Katie says in the quote, we use hope to avoid experiencing the present. We use it to avoid scary thoughts about the past, present, or future, and we use it to distract ourselves from sensations connected with these scary thoughts.
The alternative to hope
Fortunately, there is an alternative to both hope and getting buried in worries.
We can examine our scary stories and find what’s more true for us. (This is, almost inevitably, more peaceful.)
We can see how it is to say YES to the scary thoughts and sensations and the situation triggering them.
We can befriend the triggered – scared and worried – side of us. We can listen to what it has to say. Find the genuine care and love behind it. Create more of a conscious partnership with it.
We can find ourselves as capacity for it all – what’s triggered in us and the triggering situation. It’s not inherently “other”.
Through this, we may find we don’t need hope anymore. We don’t need to rely on it to avoid what’s here since what’s here seems less scary.