We plan our lives, looking into the future with dreams and aspirations. The plans turn into fantasies, movies of the mind. We ‘see’ ourselves living the life we planned in great detail and identify with the fantasy. Plan a vacation to some exotic destination. You decide who, what, where, when, how, and make reservations accordingly. Once this essential activity is accomplished the fantasy begins, the mind movie of how it will play out. You identify with the fantasy, forming an expectation. This is how it is going to be!
The day comes, and reality sets in. The plane is delayed two hours before takeoff. You find yourself seated next to someone who has bad breath and insists on talking in your face the entire way. The plane experiences turbulence. It’s raining when you arrive, they lose your baggage and the hotel clerk cannot find your reservation. I may have exaggerated the story a little, but these are all things that commonly happen.
Your emotional reaction to all this in the face of your expectations may run the range from frustration and disappointment to extreme outrage. In the process of resisting what is, you miss the opportunities in-the-moment. Your attention is focused on your frustrated expectations, you are not present to the reality of your Now.
As a therapist I have had occasion to treat cases of depression that were entirely the consequence of this dynamic. “I am so depressed!” Why, I say. “At my age, I expected my life to be different than it is.”
Thinking you ‘know’ how your life is going to be because you have plans is a serious mistake that robs you of the gifts the Now has to offer. Winston Churchill said: “Planning is essential, plans are useless.” The moment we set forth in a planned direction, some unanticipated event intervenes necessitating new plans, new directions. Life is an adventure into the unknown. When you Surrender to the unknowable, you are prepared to effectively deal with what shows up. The necessary preparation is the development of Presence skills. Learn To Be every moment and you will never be disappointed.