How to Expect Less (and why you’d want to)

Posted on October 4, 2012

 

Therefore the Master
acts without doing anything
and teaches without saying anything.
Things arise and she lets them come;
things disappear and she lets them go.
She has but doesn’t possess,
acts but doesn’t expect.
When her work is done, she forgets it.
That is why it lasts forever. –Tao Te Ching

This past weekend I resat the Shinpiden Reiki class with my Reiki Teacher, Frans Stiene, who was in town from Australia. It’s been a couple years since I last saw him–Frans is often referred to as “the Reiki teacher’s teacher” and I couldn’t agree more. It was great to get renewed inspiration and delve deeper into the teachings of the system of Reiki.

Frans mentioned the quote above and it prompted me to think about expectations in general, and expectations of healing in particular. I’ve realized over the years that when it comes to my clients’ healing, as well as my own, the fewer expectations the better the results.

After all, what is healing? It reminds me of one of the patients I worked with at the hospital. She was explaining to another woman what she noticed from her Reiki sessions and told her that while she felt much more relaxed in her daily life, her knee pain didn’t really go away. It’s funny how we can dismiss feeling much more relaxed when we’re focused on that knee. And yes, I would love the knee pain to go away, and often that happens, but maybe your physical issue doesn’t entirely go away but you feel more peaceful in your daily life.

Another client was using hypnosis to help her with relationship issues (e.g. finding Mr. Right, trying to force a relationship into something that it’s not, etc.). We used techniques to help her soften expectations and tap into her intuition to create healthier new patterns. It’s like the idea of gripping a pen tightly in your hand, versus letting it rest gently in your open palm. It feels different just thinking about it, doesn’t it?

The photo above is of my favorite secret beach on the Big Island of Hawaii. Watching the waves roll in and out is a good metaphor, reminding me to let go of my expectations.

Try This

Maybe you know someone like the Master described above–people that are so in the present moment that they notice things coming and going, changing and evolving, but don’t hold on too tightly.

What’s one thing you’ve been holding onto–something you expect to turn out a certain way?

Take a couple minutes (you know I love to give you things you can do in a New York Minute to change the way you feel for the better!) and sit with this expectation, notice your breathing as you think about it, notice what happens when you think about this expectation not coming to fruition, notice what happens when you think about the expectation being fulfilled, just explore the breath surrounding theses thoughts.

You could do this while doing the Stop the World Technique or the Heart Breathing Technique (and if you aren’t familiar with either, then ask me to teach you one or both techniques at your next session).

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