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Don't Let Broken Expectations Bring You Down!

Talk summary: In this podcast, Guy Finley explains how expectations, while being necessary for daily living, can also become the source of conflict within us when we identify with the outcome of the moment.

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Talk notes: When events do not go according to our expectations, we often light ourselves on fire with anger, blaming life for not having fulfilled our expectations. Then the mind will say, "That's it. I have figured it out. I will live the rest of my life without any expectations." But this one-sided mind does not see that thought as being an expectation in itself. Setting the expectation to have no future expectations sets up a hidden conflict within the mind. In reality, it is impossible for the mind to live without having expectations.

Expectations have their place. We would not be able to bake a cake without the mind using its imagination to form an expectation as to how the perfect cake should taste. It is not the expectation that punishes us. What punishes us is when the desire for a certain outcome lives on past the moment of the expectation. In other words, when events do not go according to our desired expectations, we are punished when that desire for a certain outcome does not match what takes place, and we begin resenting the result. It is the identification with the imagined outcome that produces the conflict. Within the divided mind there exists a self that sits and compares what has actually happened to its expectations. It is out of this comparison that the conflict comes.

We slowly begin to avoid taking risks because we do not want to experience the same feelings of anger, rage, and disappointment when another expectation breaks down. We unwittingly go through a cycle of expectation, followed by the result, rejection of the result, and finally the confirmation within ourselves that life has somehow wronged us. The pain of broken expectations comes from the unseen idea we carry around that who we are--our sense of self--depends upon our expectations being fulfilled by the moment. Who you really are does not depend upon how events unfold. Do your best, and when you have done your best, leave the rest.