Seems like expectations tend to ruin a good party.
Webster says expectation is like something “that is due, reasonable or something to consider to be obliged.” In the yoga world, doesn’t that translate to being attached to the outcome?
Human nature dictates we go into a situation and attach an expectation to it.
We go to work at Corporate America and we expect the companies to pay us. We meet someone and expect to become soul mates or life-long friends. We buy a house and expect to be in it for untold years. We buy groceries and expect the store to have certain brands. We go shopping and expect to fit into a certain size. We have children and expect them to grow up to be superstars. We go on vacation and expect to have a great time. We vacuum the floor and expect it to pick up all the dirt. (I could go on, but I think you get the picture.)
The second nasty trait of expectation is that it keeps us in a future-thinking mind-set. It pulls us 100% out of right now and keeps us floating in a Neverland.
Back to the party: You’re invited to a party where you know most of the people and some you don’t. You expect to see Jane & Joe there and to catch up with them. However they don’t make it and you leave the party completely disappointed that you didn’t see them. Plus, you were so focused on the door and seeing if Jane & Joe would arrive that it negated the good time you could’ve had by visiting with the other people you did know.
Expectations rarely lead to anything but disappointment and that’s why yoga teaches us to let go of the outcome. It’s the doing that should bring us joy and contentment, not the result. Yes, we should enjoy doing the work in our job because the pats on the back are few and far between. Yes, we should enjoy the process of raising kids without pushing them to become the next President, the scientist who’ll cure cancer, or a famous model.
And yes, we should enjoy the act of vacuuming too. (Ok, this last one is a stretch but that what seva yoga teaches us.)