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Going Beyond Hope and Fear

--by Meg Wheatley (Apr 14, 2009)


For me and most of my colleagues, life these days is a roller coaster ride between hope and fear, oscillating wildly between what's possible and what is. Like all roller coasters, this one is both exhilarating and terrifying, often simultaneously. We are fully engaged in being part of the solution, and then we plunge into despair at the enormity of the challenges and the fear that our efforts will fail.

And yet, such a wild ride between hope and fear is unavoidable.  Fear is the necessary consequence of feeling hopeful again.  Contrary to our belief that hope and fear are opposites where one trumps the other, they are a single package, bundled together as intimate, eternal partners. Hope never enters a room without fear at its side. If I hope to accomplish something, I'm also afraid I'll fail. You can't have one without the other.

Hope is what propels us into action. We've been taught to dream of a better world as the necessary first step in creating one. We create a clear vision for the future we want, then we set a strategy, make a plan, and get to work. We focus strategically on doing only those things that have a high probability of success.  As long as we "keep hope alive" and work hard, our endeavors will create the world we want. How could we do our work if we had no hope that we'd succeed?

Motivated by hope, but then confronted by failure, we become depressed and demoralized. Life becomes meaningless; we despair of changing things for the better. At such a time, we learn the price of hope. Rather than inspiring and motivating us, hope has become a burden made heavy by its companion, fear of failing.

So we have to abandon hope, all of us, and learn how to find the place "beyond hope and fear." [...] Willingness to feel insecure is the first step on the journey beyond hope and fear. It leads to the far more challenging state: groundlessness -- knowing that nothing ever remains the same, learning to live with the unrelenting constant of change, realizing that even the good things won't last forever, accepting that change is just the way it is.

--Meg Wheatley, in Shambala Sun


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7 Previous Reflections:

 
On May 5, 2009 Phyllis Linane wrote:

Let someone show me the word FEAR in the word of GOD.  Is fear only a manifestation of a worldly state of mind?  Absolutely and if you surrender and live in Faith alone guided by the WORD then you leave your worldly state of reflection and find hope everlasting.  This is the state of being which brings peace and joy.  Try it sometime, amazing things happen.



On Apr 16, 2009 marti wrote:

Inspiration from God our creator, the creator of all heavens and earth.

L (Learn of)

O(Obedience) to natural and spiritual laws

V(Vigilance) to strife, negativity, envy, jealousy, in other words, the workings of the flesh

E(Empathy) for all Gods creation, which delivers Goodness, Order, Discipline.

In other words, Love thy neighbour as though love thyself.

Or don't we love ourselves anymore?

 



On Apr 16, 2009 BK Vinay Pandya wrote:

As a matter of fact and as one saying goes : Whatever happens, happens only one way, and thats the Right way. This removes all our illusions about happenings around us. What we need to know is the significance of that particular happening for us. We need to interpret and link it to the next happening and the successive happenings.

A child, succing from mother's breast, starts crying when the mother attempts to change the child's mouth from the emptied breast to the full breast. Actually, the child looks to the present loss and hence starts crying. We as individuals and adults, need not behave like that. We need to become mature enough to understant the transitory nature of all happenings within us and around us.



On Apr 15, 2009 Stephanie Y. Cox wrote:

This was so close to where I am right now.  Knowing  that our ability to manifest our destiny - or work for change in our lives means that we must embrace change.  That there is a place within toward which we are growing.   Growth requires change.  Our emotional response to climbing onto a step, becoming comfortable with that space and then being nudged (or kicked) to move on - for me this is where fear and hope come in - each step is the first step of The Fool in Tarot and requires the faith of a child and the steadfastness of all previous experience.   The comfort of the current known situtation is the most prevalent quality of our western society - a belief that change can be stopped - that what you see today is how it will always be - a denial of change - fear.  Regardless of campaign slogans - Change of direction is a source of great fear.  Fear is a great manifestor and attractor - so truly, we personally and as a countr  See full.

This was so close to where I am right now.  Knowing  that our ability to manifest our destiny - or work for change in our lives means that we must embrace change.  That there is a place within toward which we are growing.   Growth requires change.  Our emotional response to climbing onto a step, becoming comfortable with that space and then being nudged (or kicked) to move on - for me this is where fear and hope come in - each step is the first step of The Fool in Tarot and requires the faith of a child and the steadfastness of all previous experience.   The comfort of the current known situtation is the most prevalent quality of our western society - a belief that change can be stopped - that what you see today is how it will always be - a denial of change - fear.  Regardless of campaign slogans - Change of direction is a source of great fear.  Fear is a great manifestor and attractor - so truly, we personally and as a country have nothing to fear but fear itself. 

History, circumspect thought, faith, patience and solid goals are the best quellers of fear - do not forget to enjoy the journey for it is truly amazing.

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On Apr 14, 2009 Ganoba Date wrote:

Why do so many people keep riding the roller coasters inspite of the thrills and the terror?

Because we are more than assured that the roller coaster has been

designed, manufactured and maintained

by experts in a flawless manner.

We know that all is well.

If we have the same faith in our Creator (represented in the Hindu pantheon by Bramha, Vishnu and Mahesh)

then we can go through life without fear and without the need for hope.

We would have no need to worry about results and can focus our attention and energies fully on the task at hand.

Ganoba



On Apr 14, 2009 Tara McClintick wrote:

Interesting, I haven't thought of hope and fear being together.  Reminded me of this quote:

Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. - Thomas Merton



On Apr 14, 2009 Rod Templin wrote:

I see "hope" as a prerequisite to "faith". If one truly has faith, there is no need for hope. True faith springs eternal  from a deep place of silent stillness. It is the residence of the "peace that passes all understanding". Living in the depths with this awareness allows one to look at both hope and fear as mere ripples on the surface of life where form is always changing. If we truly realized the beauty and perfection of what is in this moment, we might all just bliss out!