Life Without Hope

The process of hoping, wanting, and longing for things in the future is the great destroyer of life. Assuming ourselves to be incomplete and lacking, secretly or overtly suspecting there is something fundamentally wrong with us, we remain habitually expectant and fearful we will not get what we want. This is the process of self, the bondage of self. And it’s not just one “me,” it’s an endless stream of them, each with its own clingings and cravings and frustrations and disappointments, a massive river of mental scenarios and commentaries and emotional upheavals over whether “I” will get hold of whatever I want, whatever I think I need (at the time) for this completion, and whether I will be able to keep it.

In our hopes for love, happiness, peace, and freedom, we fixate on some “thing,” one-by-one, some object, like money, or sex, or power, or enlightenment, or some kind of personal recognition or acceptance, or some kind of relationship that we imagine will bring us permanent security, stability, joy and affection. But continually indulging in these hopes is precisely the process by which we block the discovery that we already are what we are so busy hoping for. In the Zen tradition, this is called “looking for the ox when you’re riding it.”

Where is joy, if it is not here, everywhere, right now?
Where is happiness, if it does not saturate every molecule of your being?
Where is infinite peace, if it does not contain your body, your heart, your mind, and the whole universe this very instant?

Can you drop all prior assumptions, and let, even for just a moment, your mind be completely open, curious, unpretentious, and not-knowing? Can you let your heart be spacious and without limits or blockage? Can you let your heart be turned inside out by the simple, radical, unexplainable, yet undeniable truth of it?

If you truly give up obsessing on the freedom you seek in so many future objects and experiences of physical, social, mental, and spiritual pleasure and security, you will realize you are freedom itself, and security itself, with no center and no boundary to be found anywhere. If you stop trying to get or become anything at all, you will realize you are compassion and happiness itself, and there never was anything that could ever limit or harm you. So it’s all up to you, of course, but if you stop hoping for anything, you can simply go ahead and let yourself be, completely, all that you already are. Nothing real is in the way.

-Scott Morrison-


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