Expectations and Holistic Detachment
By Swami Dr Snehananda Jyoti on 31-03-2016
Purity of intention and integrity guide our holy life. Similarly our expectations and healthy detachment are essential for holy living. Holy Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of Jesuits, is the best example I can think of a person leading a holy and detached life, talked about inordinate affections in his book of Spiritual Exercises that prevent one from achieving one’s goal. He also introduced the concept of holy discernment in choosing the right status of life and important decision-making. Our expectations and attachments fall under the rubric of inordinate affections. Expectations, our own and those of others such as our dear and near ones and well-wishers have for us, are often not in our control.
Not realizing our expectations (our desire) is the main reason for our unhappiness and bondage as the wise Buddha determined it. Passionate attachments make us cling to our ideas of what is good for us and considerably diminish our freedom to make the right decision for us. Surrendering our expectations to God is of paramount importance in leading a holistic and tension-free life. This surrendering is the same as doing one’s duty or dharma that one is called to do without desiring the fruits of one’s actions. This surrendering is the great advice that Krishna gave to Arjuna in Bhagavad Gita when Arjuna was sad, disheartened, and uncertain faced with the critical war in Kurukshetra. This is also the demand given by all religions. We have often heard that many have not enjoyed the fruits of their labor. Many have not enjoyed the fruits of the trees they have planted. And we ourselves may not enjoy the fruits of our hard labor. The most important thing is that we have the good fortune and health to labor hard living a holy life while the life of many others has been cut short due to no fault of their own.
In sum, we need to have realistic expectations, and try to realize them the best way we can. Then we need to let go and surrender to God and the coming generations knowing very well that our own death is our final surrendering. Clinging on to our expectations coming from our desires can only stop us in our track. We need to do everything in our power to materialize our expectations that are thoroughly discerned in the full awareness of God’s will for us. Once done, we leave them to God. If our ideals have some lasting value, they will surely last and benefit humanity in God’s plan.
About The Author
Dr. John K Thekkedam (Swami Snehananda Jyoti) spent most of his life as a clinical psychologist in USA. He began his public life as a Jesuit priest. Quite attracted in distinct philosophies, he left the society and founded 'East West Awakening'.