Dr. Mike Obsatz, Professor Emeritus at Macalester College
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Journeying Through Life With Few Expectations or Agendas
We travel through life from the time we are born until we die. We go many places, meet many people, and have a wide variety of experiences. Some of these experiences bring us joy, others bring us pain. And some are just neutral.
As we grow and change, evolve and experience, we can be too caught up in appearances, approval, and expectations. What if every encounter with anyone was simply an opportunity to learn something or support someone else on their journey? What if we had no expectations of reciprocity, or continuous contact with particular people?
Letting everything go, not having an agenda, and not expecting a desired result can seem like it is avoiding the real meaning of living. However, being too caught up in the "real" meaning of everything can be restrictive and depressing.
The government changes. Politicians come and go. Their decisions affect the lives of many people. What if we didn't expect them to be wise, or evolved, or even thoughtful?
Not being attached to outcomes can result in a calm spiritual peace. There will be peace and there will be wars. People will leave us, betray us, and hurt us. But it is simply the way they are. We can grieve all the pain in the world, as well as our own. Or, we can just accept that life has its ups and downs. Nothing lasts forever. Some people are spiritually evolved, but many are not.
The world suffers from a lack of compassion, empathy, and trust. No one is totally safe anywhere. How can we live in the world, but not be too devastated by the world's inhumane, unloving ways?
Do your best. Give life your best shot. But don't expect to be loved or appreciated or valued for the gifts you give. Give the gifts because you are a gift giver. Give time, energy, attention, love, compassion, empathy, and nurturing.
Life is a garden to be continually watered, and cultivated. I think Voltaire got it right. By letting go and letting the Divine energy lead the way, we go with the flow, and have few fits of rage, jealousy, envy, resentment, and regret.
So, ease on down the road of life. Savor every minute of real beauty and connection. We are all in this together, and yet we are on our unique paths.
Let's simplify, and let's watch the "dramatic response" to life's ups and downs. It's an amazingly wild ride, and it is time to let go and let God.