Expectations

 

Coming back from upstate New York, Suzy and I listened to a wonderful program on NPR about blindness, and how people are learning to see without eyes using echo recognition. I recommend the whole hour to you I am sure it is on NPR’s Podcasts.

I was struck by the words and the personal story of a man who teaches this tool to children, and his premise that “low expectations” are the biggest roadblock to blind children being able to accomplish whatever they want to do.
Words such as “you can’t do that, you’re blind” reinforces a culture of low expectations.
How true are his words in even the broader sense. Fear, fear of failure, and even a parent’s love can all subconsciously cause us to reinforce “low expectations.”
I was especially caught by the concept that parental love and fear of injury, physical and psychological, inhibit the expansion of the possible.
Great stories, great accomplishments in sports, science, and the arts are the result of someone overcoming the “low expectations’ of others, even of those who only are doing what they think is the best.
Maybe you think this meditation is for the young, but think again. If you are older it doesn’t mean your expectations should be any lower.
We should all work at removing the barriers to high expectations, not only for the young, but for ourselves as well.

Heart

 

“If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.” –Pema Chödrön

 

My Yoga instructor is always encouraging me to open my heart in a physical sense — throw back my chest, squeeze my clavicles, etc. But I also think she is encouraging me to do it in a metaphysical sense as well.

We all have friends who drive us crazy, yet how wonderful it is when we realize we love that friend for their faults as much as in spite of them — when their craziness helps us see the world in a new and different light.

A long time ago, when I was much younger I had a rogue friend who was always flirting with my girlfriend at the time. His flirting almost destroyed our friendship until I realized he was teaching me something. His flirting with my girl meant I had something he valued and maybe, just maybe, I needed to place more value on her and on what I had. Forty-five years later that “girl” is still my wife. A valuable lesson from a friend that was driving me crazy. He had been my teacher. He still is.

What can you learn for a friend that is driving you crazy? Open up your hearts and find out.

 

 

Pressure

 

“I recall someone saying to me, ‘Anger is fear under pressure.’
I’ve found it to be true. Behind anger fear is always lurking.” —  Anon

A friend sent me the above. I much prefer the famous quote of Hemingway’s used by JFK in his Profiles In Courage — “Courage is grace under pressure.”

On vacation this week I listened to an Iraqi war veteran speak about war and its many faces. During the Q&A he was asked terrorism and decisions to go to war. He got emotional when he answered, “Never, ever should fear be the driving force behind war.” He answered.

God tells us to “fear not, for I am with you.” Yet how often have I (you) allowed fear to drive my decisions. A lesson I hope I have learned.

 

Meditation and Service

It is easier to meditate than to actually do something for others. — The Dalai Lama
I write often about the benefits of meditation and prayer especially first thing in the morning. But the Dalai Lama is correct. Our meditation should form the basis for action, for going forward with the opportunities that God sets before us daily.
I listened last night to a woman talk about being challenged by a homeless man to build permanent housing in Charlotte for the critically homeless. After he convinced her to go forward with a plan, he told he “not to be afraid, those people who will help you already know they are going to do so.”
I mentioned this to a great friend and my muse this morning, and after laughing he said he wasn’t sure that those people even know they are going to help until the moment is upon them to do so. Nevertheless, they do so without reservation.
Either way this women’s meditation and willingness to listen to one of the invisible people in our society has led to two major facilities being built and more on the way to help deal with Charlotte’s homeless problem which is greater than LA’s.
Her meditation formed the basis for her action.