Hope is an Escape

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Hunter of Phoenix, no one can be. So take back your trap, for here, wind is all you’ll ever catch.
— Hafiz: Diwan

Q: How can you trust if there is no hope?

A: How can you trust if there is hope? To have hope is to be in a story, a projection.

Q: Trust in yourself…

That’s an even worse target: as long as you have hope, you sense its non-existence and you cannot trust. Every hope, every goal, every direction, every plan prevents this trust in life. Born with the fundamental intuition that he is nothing, the human being knows deep down that his projections are stories. All hope is undermined by this intuition; the only use of hope is to feed a belief in a separateness that doesn't exist. As long as I hope for anything, I experience mistrust in life.

I can see that all hopes are fantasies. As soon as I attain something, I want something else. My hopes can only express my pathology. My thoughts are limited by the contents of my memory, they brought me to the crisis I am living. So how could I still have hope?

Everyone wants a different life. People who live alone want to meet somebody, those living in a couple wish to be single. Everyone is convinced that everything will be much better when that happens. This hope prevents you from listening to life.

When I realize that there is nothing left in front of me, the energy that I constantly use to anticipate and to fight a hypothetical future is freed up to face the moment. I become present, available; this presence eliminates any future.

Future is a thought, it doesn’t exist. We cannot face a situation tomorrow; we always die before facing tomorrow. I notice that the future is an idea—always a disturbing, worrisome idea.

To be available―not even present; there is no present, only presence. In this presence, as the case may be, that which we call past or future may register as an intuition; but then it is no longer the future. It is as if you are asked what you will be doing in six months’ time. You can open your appointment book and, if you are free, you make a note in it, but it isn't the future. The request is now, you look into the book and this suggestion resonates with you now, you make a note, you close the book, and then it's over, there is no psychological future. The future is the present, now, as a mark in the book.

It's the same when an echo of the past comes up, it is now. What happened ten years ago, I can feel in my belly, in my throat now; it isn't in the past.

The past and the future are present. The more you develop this sensitivity, the more you notice this present space.

To trust in oneself is impossible, to trust in the future is unthinkable. Oneself and the future are not trustworthy: you cannot trust something that does not exist.

The felt sense knows no trust. There is nobody who trusts, there is only feeling. When I feel my arm move in space, where is the present, the future, trust? When I listen to a concert, taste an apple pie or feel bodily pain, where is trust? I feel and there is presence. I don't need trust. Trust is the space in which these situations, these sensations appear.

Trusting something proves a lack of maturity. As long as you trust anything, you do not really trust. Sooner or later you will be disappointed, for you project your security into that which you trust. You imagine that a situation can bring you fullness. But neither I nor that which we call others are in a position to give that to me. Therefore, trusting anything is an illusion.

When I no longer trust myself nor the environment, there remains a trust which is not directed towards anything but is simply an absence of the narrative. I stop criticizing my life, thinking that it should be or could be different. I stop knowing anything. What is left is availability. Any psychological reaction is absent, life’s simplicity appears. Everything that happens to me is presence. Trust is born when I give up all hope; trust without any object.

Hope is a form of postponement: “Tomorrow I will be happy.” That is not acceptable. For all I know I could be dead before then. There is no time to be happy tomorrow. “When I do more yoga, when I am wiser, less angry, wealthier, married, divorced, when I eat less sugar, when I am in better shape, when I live elsewhere… only then will I be happy.” That is hope!

Why wait? What more will there be tomorrow? Nothing. I will project the same misery as today. If I stop today, that will stop tomorrow as well. If I keep going today, it will keep going tomorrow. I must stop now, in this moment. I listen, I feel, and in that feeling, the mechanism of running away towards the future, towards tomorrow, is seen for what it is. So always come back to the sensitivity of the moment. Listen to the moment without tying it to the one before or the one after, without comparing it, without knowing anything, without anticipating and without remembering.

Hope is an escape.

Q: And is that the same for resignation?

A: Yes, both are a lack of listening. Resignation refers to the past, while hope looks towards the future. In both cases, I am not present.

All thoughts are born from the past. Hope is the past colored over with the words of tomorrow. “Tomorrow, in ten days, in ten years, in thirty years…” Those are words, words in the present. Everything happens in the present. Agitation leads us to project ourselves forward or backward, but neither forward nor backward exists. In resignation, as in hope, I am not available, I am lost in the situation. Hope is born when I become resigned to a situation.

What is of interest to us, here, is precisely this listening to the listening. The body is a pretext. I learn to listen to my hand, to my shoulder, to my neck, to my sadness… I am getting prepared; I become familiar with this ability to listen. Little by little, this listening of something sets itself free from what is listened to, and collapses into the listening itself. What appears is a listening to the listening. That is the key to all futures, presents, pasts—which are all concepts.

The somatic approach, the Japanese tea ceremony, and all traditional arts are designed to stimulate this listening in us. What is the hope of the person who practices the tea ceremony? Every day, for thirty years, he has been making the same movements. What is his hope? To get rich, get married, divorced, acquire qualities, cultivate himself, read? No, he makes the few gestures of the tea ceremony. They are the center of his life. Whether he a youth, an adult, an old man, or even sick, he performs the same gestures. It is this lack of hope that gives the ceremony its beauty. It has no goal, it is an art.

Art is to be without hope, without a future. Otherwise you have no time for art, there is always something better you could be doing. Those who have hope will be artists later, when they have time. But art is the art of living, the art of living without hope.

When there is even the slightest movement toward something, then once again I have left the resonance. I can't help it, I observe. When I notice that I have left the resonance, I am in it again. I can never own this opening. When I tell myself, “I am in resonance,” it becomes a concept, like the poor soul who thinks he is realized. I notice that I am not in resonance, I see myself in my dynamic and instantaneously, this noticing halts the dynamic. That space doesn't belong to anyone. It starts to resonate when I stop wanting to own it.

This article is an excerpt of Let The Moon Be Free


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