Life on Life’s Terms

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” ~ John Lennon

The theme at the BeZine this month is Hope: Great Expectations and Secret Desires. I had plans for this post to be something extra special and was hoping to impart some hard-learned wisdom about the nature of expectations and desires.  But…I’ve started and stopped, edited and deleted so many times now that I’m just going to try and keep it short and to the point. I’m not succinct by nature, and I don’t know if I ever will be. I can practice and aspire to it, but perhaps wordiness is just a part of who I am. 🙂

Expectation LaoTzu

Image from

In Zen practices, we learn that Attachment is the root of all suffering, and expectations and desires come from what’s called the “wanting mind”.  The “wanting mind” is part of our Ego, so it’s extra clever at making us attached to things of this world (including people). Expectations and desires are ways of being ‘attached’ to a certain outcome. You are better off trying to let them go, since no one can control the future…Life is what happens, remember?

I don’t think that most people are even aware of their own expectations until they become disappointed by them, and even then, many won’t realize that the reason they are disappointed is because of expectations – they will instead seek someone or something else to blame. So, awareness of your own expectations (whether they are self-expectations or expectations of other people) is the first, crucial step in letting them go.

Both expectations and desires are natural, human qualities. They’re normal, they happen, even when you try hard to get rid of them.  The main bad thing about expectations is that you set yourself up to be disappointed, because you don’t appreciate the present moment – you are partially in the future, trying to predict or control an outcome of something (or someone). Being present in the moment allows you to accept life as it is, as it unfolds…”Life on Life’s terms”, so to speak; no stress or worry, no anxiety about what you want or wish it to be, but simple acceptance of what it is.


Image from

If I could choose one thing for you to take away from this post, it would be to work on becoming more aware of and recognizing your own expectations and desires, and then let them go. You might write them all down on slips of paper and then burn them, releasing them in the process, or practice breathing in acceptance of things as they are, right now, and breathing out attachment to what you want it to be, letting it exit your body so that your mind may be clearer.  It takes practice, but you will be happier and calmer for doing it.

I’ll leave you with a thought-provoking and common sense video regarding happiness and expectations.  I’ll go so far as to say that I expect you might even enjoy it. 😉

About dragonkatet

Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.
This entry was posted in Awareness, Buddhism, Food For Thought, Frustration, Life, Past Present and Future, Peace, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Zen. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Life on Life’s Terms

  1. Brilliant post, Corina ~ it doesn’t come across as wordy or as though you struggled with it. A long time ago I belonged to a group which taught me that ‘an expectation is a resentment waiting to happen’ ~ if what we want doesn’t happen we blame others for our disappointment. ‘Letting go’ can be hard work but I like your common~sense tips. Will watch the video tomorrow as it’s late here now ~ I’m sure I will enjoy it! 🙂

    • dragonkatet says:

      Thanks, Jacqueline. That is a very true saying about resentment. I agree that letting go is difficult (Ego wants to keep us all in check!) 🙂 Do check out the video if you get the time. I think you will like it. Thanks again for stopping by!

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