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Friday, July 20, 2007

Is hope helpful?

After posting that piece about elders and GOODNESS WILL PREVAIL, which I do believe, or most of me does, or I do most of the time ... but I just read something … this person mentioned that Thich Nhat Hanh sees hope as not entirely helpful, useful, or beneficial because it tends to take us too far into the future, rather than living in the present moment. I do know that there have been some times where hope really helped me. But I want to think about this. I’m going to think about whether there were times when it didn’t help and is there a reason for that? Or a pattern when it didn’t work and when it did? Maybe it doesn’t work when I become too attached to the hopefilled scenario that I’m creating in my brain/entire being? Or, maybe it doesn't help when it's too much like Hollywood fantasy? Maybe it works when I just look at the hopeful scenario as another option but don’t become attached to it? Therefore, if it doesn’t come about, I don’t plunge into that pit of despair. And, maybe it is helpful when I don't dwell on it like it's a fantasy, but rather, I move on and act on a useful plan that changes things.

Thinking on it …

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At 2:11 PM, Blogger Brian said...

From what I've read about obsessive-compulsive disorder, it comes about from losing an underlying form of faith that we all need to get through the day: that though there may be problems and that we sometimes make mistakes that might have disastrous consequences, things will still work out somehow. Without this sort of faith, it's impossible to leave the house without worrying that you forgot to lock the door and that everything will be stolen, or to get yourself dirty without worrying that you're risking your health, or to drive without worrying that you'll kill someone. Not that we don't worry some about these things (as we should, and take precautions), but they don't incapacitate us.

There is, also, the kind of hope that allows large numbers of people to contribute to a common cause. Some leaders can inspire this. It's important to remember that the leaders themselves are only people and the organization's potential is what's really important, so we need to look at what the organization actually does. But it wouldn't get started without a spark, so the ability to inspire hope is a really big deal.

It's difficult to create hope out of nothing, so if hope comes from being excited about some idea, then I think we should take what we can get. The tricky part is to enjoy the benefits without letting it cloud our judgement or get attached to some specific plan, because then you miss other possibilities.


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