[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Expectation, satisfaction, and trust have a curious relationship. To be peaceful, we must release our expectations back to the dust from which we conjure them. We are happiest when we are satisfied and our expectations have been met. We cannot open our hearts and minds to others without trust, so we cannot be happy without forging expectations and being open to betrayal. If happiness is built on satisfaction and trust just while bliss arises from the release of expectations, then do not happiness and peace oppose each other?
It is in some ways a semantic game, of course. One might attempt to break down the definitions of all these terms, but that would not yield any deeper happiness or peace. It is far better to look at the dust from which we conjure all these mental constructs. If we do not understand the duality of expectations, we cannot fruitfully seek both happiness and peace. Just while, there is no lasting happiness without peace and no deep peace without happiness.
Expectation in Duality and Unity
In duality, an expectation is a desire that the world and self manifest in a certain way. Invariably, as we are unwise Children of God, the tumbling forms of love take on other shapes. The dualistic desire of expectation is doomed from the outset because we are ignorant.
But in unity, an expectation is not a desire at all. In unity, expectation is the always-fulfilled understanding of faith. It is the certainty that the forms of things are illusions and the stuttering of time. It is the certainty that the underlying sea of love eternally throbs with peace and acceptance. So, when we say that you must lay down your expectations, we mean you should stop attempting to force your fever visions onto the world. We do not mean that you should refuse the garden of peace and bliss that lies at the root of your consciousness. You very well should expect that to continue both in and out of time, eternally. We do not mean that you should stop believing that all things will change in time – that is an expectation but it is also simply comprehension.
Release the dualistic version of expectations that arise out of ego, and you are peaceful. That peace includes new expectations that arise from spirit. The expectations of ego are always failed because ego itself is an illusion, a mere distortion of the mirror. The expectations of spirit always succeed because they are characteristics of the limitless, eternal love.
Satisfaction in Duality and Unity
Taking this understanding to satisfaction, you can then unwrap a lower and a higher satisfaction. The lower satisfaction is the temporary flush of validation in ego – a confirmation that we are in fact just a little role or mortal being because we got what we wanted. It is a doomed, little satisfaction even if it lasts for a lifetime, for death is a grand fire sale of all those identifications. The higher satisfaction is nothing other than grace, the daily bread, gratitude, and acceptance. All these are the same, just looked at from different angles.
Knowing that your journey and life lessons reflect the providence of the Beloved is higher satisfaction. Truly communing with a tree, the winds, a pet, another person, or the infinite is higher satisfaction. Unlike the lower satisfaction, the higher satisfaction does not wither every winter. Like the expectations of unity, the satisfactions of unity are always there – it is we who look away at times.
Release the dualistic version of satisfaction, and you are released from cravings and attachment. Look toward the unified version of satisfaction, and you are both happy and peaceful even when things don’t go “your way.” That is because it is no longer your will – which is to say your ego – that you seek to satisfy. Rather, it is the will of God that you seek to satisfy. One cannot imagine how the will of God can not be ultimately fulfilled.
Trust in Duality and Unity
Finally, consider the duality and unity of trust. We cannot feel close to anything without some degree of trust. Nobody can come close to us unless we yield a bit. We must open the wall of our hearts and minds to let them in. This we intuitively feel, and we collectively pity the poor souls that have frozen and are unable to forge connections. The hermit is an admirable figure when we feel he’s gone off to forge a connection with nature or God, but we pity that same figure when his heart sounds like a wailing lost spirit.
The walls of mind and heart are only fear and expectations. We fear that we will betrayed – that the loved one will refuse us, the vendor will fleece us, or we will open our house to a monster. In duality, there is common sense in not trusting. Our expectations of others will, sooner or later, not sync up to the vision in our heads. If we imagine that we are our relationships, possessions, and social status, we cannot trust. Since we cannot trust with such beliefs, we cannot be happy with such beliefs.
In unity, however, our trust is not that people will fit into the hierarchy we prefer. Our trust is instead in the understanding that everyone is doing the best they can from their perspective. Everyone is seeking happiness and peace in accordance to the images they have forged. Even when those who thrash about in fever dreams cause the forms of love to be unpleasant, another fulfilled trust is that the timeless within us can not be burned by fire or pierced by arrows. One ego can never trust another ego, but the candle flame of the divine in me can assuredly trust itself in you.
Expectation, Satisfaction, and Trust
The self-inflicted suffering through which so many of us wade is not the state of the world. It is a striving within us after dominion and a conjuring based on a dualistic worldview. The tumultuous nature of a worldly being is that, in one moment, he or she is at best either happy or peaceful. But never both. The combination of the two is refused by the insistence on fixed identities. One who simply bides away the time until retirement is content but not happy. One who wins great victories in some worldly marketplace is occasionally happy but never content. The ocean sometimes searches to find the perfect wave and freeze it, impossibly, forever.
Expectation, satisfaction, and trust do not need to arise from worldly success or the perfect circle of families and friends. They do not need to come from anything whatsoever that you might do or temporarily be. Instead, these are your natural attributes. Sit in meditation or wander the garden in mindfulness, and you will see these bloom and find yourself astonishingly in Eden. It is not that these attributes must be forged, but rather that you must stop looking away. Happiness and peace are synonymous with presence and faith, two things you’ll never find on an itinerary or a map.