How often does your expectation cover up what's really happening?
How often does something an occurrence in our daily lives turn our differently to our expectation? e.g. A conversation that we've been dreading that turns out positive, a response to something that's the opposite of what we thought, an event unfolding very differently to what we had in mind...
And that's just it - 'what we had in mind' . Our mind layers our experiences on top of each other, storing them for future use, these experiences are individual to each of us, our circumstances, our culture. The mind is there to make sense of the world as it unfolds around us, but it only has our stored experiences to call upon.
So some expectations can be useful - keeping us safe and healthy - such as knowing that a boiling kettle is hot or that crossing the road we need to check for cars.
But other expectations or as Patanjali say here 'false impressions of reality' are less helpful because they are just impressions and expectations based on things that we have already experienced or learned, they may not be closely related to what we are experiencing now. The layers of experience are clouding what is actually happening which can lead to misunderstanding, false expectation and sometimes some form of stress or anxiety in the process.
So this week in class we have been exploring where we hold expectation in our practice, when it is useful and when it isn't. We've been practising letting go of expectation and being open to how our practice unfolds, being open and relaxing into the things that are a challenge and the things that create freedom - whether that was our expectation or not.
When we do this in our daily lives it can help us - when I went to the opticians earlier in the week I found myself 'expecting' a negative sensation when the pressure in my eyes were checked. This was my mind bringing back previous experience. But my mind had misrepresented the memory, and the sensation wasn't as forceful as I expected. My first reading wasn't accurate and I reminded myself to let go of expectation, to soften and experience the check as it really was, not how my mind thought it would be - this turned my reaction to pull away into a more relaxed and open approach and there it was the reality was that the sensation was not as bad as i had thought.
Try to notice when you are holding expectation and misinterpreting things day to day - can you let go of the expectation? Does it help? Are things more positive?