Buddha became enlightened and so will I.
This is the level of conviction we are instructed to practice from. This level involves more than hope.
I’m reading Pema Chodron’s book, When Things Fall Apart. In her book, she writes about hopelessness: that it is necessary to stop hoping and start being with whatever is.
“The first Noble truth of the Buddha is that when we feel suffering, it doesn’t mean that something is wrong.”
Wait, what now? Read that last sentence again. Read it 20 times. Read it 100 times until it sinks in.
Pema goes on, “Suffering is part of life, and we don’t have to feel it’s happening because we personally made the wrong move… As long as we are addicted to hope, we feel that we can tone our experience down or liven it up or change it somehow, and we continue to suffer a lot.”
So how do we conjure change if not through hope?
Is it more productive to swap hope for determination? Or do we soak in acceptance of the present moment, and by that very revolutionary act change occurs.
And where does belief belong?
Believing is seeing.
Belief is different from hope. Hopefulness feels helpless to me: wishing, grasping, ungrounded. Belief feels deeper, toothier. But even belief has its smoke and mirrors.
What about embodiment?
We can embody the qualities we’d like to become, but…
what about embodying what is already here in this moment? Because it might not be palatable. We might not want to give grief a home or anger a stage.
Hope, determination, belief, embodiment. Each has its own energy. Perhaps a dance is in order to feel which partner is most true for you at this time.
Or, perhaps we consider Pema’s words:
“Believing in a solid, separate self, continuing to seek pleasure and avoid pain, thinking that someone “out there” is to blame for our pain–one has to get totally fed up with these ways of thinking…
Suffering begins to dissolve when we can question the belief or the hope that there’s anywhere to hide.”