When you are paralyzed into in-action
How to put the dynamic of hope into action. You have the same DNA as Gandhi, Václav Havel and Goenawan Mohamad
DAVID RICKEY — Hope is a great four-letter word, but it gets lost in the shuffle of our lives if it isn’t bonded with action.
Václav Havel, the first President of the Czech Republic, said ‘Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out’.
It is this certainty that allows — even emboldens us — to take action.
We have all faced survival uncertainty since the Great American Recession of 2008, and that uncertainty — can, and has — paralyzed some of us into in-action.
Adopting a daily time-out for meditation, for example, can quiet the chatter of the ego-driven mind, and open us to deeper resources of wisdom and compassion.
It’s not about where you want to be in five years
Developing self-awareness can create a gap between our thoughts and impulses, and the choice for reactive or responsive behavior.
Reactive behavior is driven by those thoughts and impulses. Responsive behavior comes from that deeper place of intelligence that is aware of the larger picture.
Looking deeply at every experience in our relationships can be an opportunity to practice our “skillfulness” – an inward-working, rather than an outward-changing, of the “other” in your life.
We are ‘with-hope’, even if we do not want ‘to hope’ or ‘to expect’. . . There is a world of difference between hoping and expecting. ‘Being with-hope’ is not intentional and purposeful. It implies humility in the face of space and time. Muslims associate this with ‘taqwa’. This is a unique concept, because it simultaneously contains two conflicting tendencies: ‘submission’ and ‘resolution.’
Hope is living in uncertainty with certainty
It is the willingness to act in faith/trust without having any sense of outcome. It therefore requires both a submission to uncertainty and the resolve to dedicate your life to hopeful action, what Christians traditionally call a leap of faith.
There is a delicious tension here. As we move into a new year we cannot just wait in hopeful anticipation to see how it will turn out. Gandhi has said “Be the change you wish to see.”
We must work from within ourselves to embody the future we want. We choose to live from the deepest principles of Love and Compassion without focusing on the outcome. We can take action, first internally then out in the world to create the future we want.
Here is the trick of the mind
We can’t claim to know where our actions will take us, or what the results will be. We have to submit to the larger intelligence that lies at our very core, that will take all our skills, indeed all our wills, and use them beyond our own intentions and desires.
My experience is that when we stay open — trying to live from deep truth — the universe does provide, nurture and sustain, even protect us. It’s not magic, and it’s not a sure thing, but it seems to be true.
In this way we truly become servants even as we seek to be agents of change.
David Rickey was a psychotherapist in New York for two decades, before moving to San Francisco in 1997 to become the rector of an Episcopal church. A priest with a Jungian approach, he continues to help couples and individuals as a pastoral counselor. Follow David on Twitter.