“While I breathe, I hope.” – Theocritus and Cicero
Dum Spiro Spero: Latin for “While I breathe, I hope”. Society lives and breathes expectations and hopes. People hope for so much from each other, yet experience soon teaches us to expect less than what we may be hoping for. That this hopeful train of thought only leads to feelings of continued disappointment and suffering.
The Buddhist philosophy emphasizes detaching from desires and outcomes (hopes and expectations). Doing so relieves suffering. That if we can learn to detach from certain expectations, we then can live a more peaceful life. That is not to imply we should stop caring about others – but more about changing our thoughts. What if we chose to go about our day determined to allow happiness to flow through us regardless of what anyone else did or didn’t do? What if whatever the other person is doing, does or doesn’t do is no longer your concern? What if you detach from expectations and outcomes and take full responsibility for your own happiness?
But what is hope? By definition hope is an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large. Hope…. such a simple word and yet it can mean so much to anyone going through a difficult time. It can mean the difference between hanging on and giving up. Hope is the power to believe that anything is possible — a fresh start, a second chance, or to wish upon a miracle. It’s that one thing that keeps you going when your body and mind want to give up. Hope is our dreams. Hope is having faith.
Although I embrace the Buddhist philosophy…. I’m not sure I want to move completely away from this train of “hopeful” thought – away from having hopes and dreams. I have learned to let go of some expectations and the outcomes that I had so hoped for regarding certain situations and relationships. By doing so, the weight of the disappointment slowly dissipated and eventual peace was found. So yes, it does work. But I still find it hard to embrace this philosophy fully. I find it hard to let go of all hopes –dreams – or the expectations that come with them – just to avoid all potential disappointment that may follow.
“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.”
Maybe finding the balance is the key. The balance between letting go of certain expectations and hopes … yet staying hopeful of your own future -your own happiness – even in the face of disappointment.
Maybe…. the ultimate silver lining to Hope is just this:
Hope springs eternal.
Humans are temporal.
If nothing else…. the world will always contain more hopes than people.
And that is a good thing.