Mindfulness: Anticipation and Expectation

This life needs to be lived, these moments are meant to happen.

When we have a break at work and sit somewhere eating lunch, we tend to think that this is some in-between-space we occupy. We are waiting for something else to happen. What is happening is not what we do, but something that is an insignificant necessity. We can be present and mindful, but we still consider it a “break”.

When we have some event in the future that is making us anxious, we start to worry and contemplate on it. We see this as a special sign that the event is in fact nerve wrecking. It differs from all other moments by its effect it has on us. It is not the “norm”.

When we are overwhelmed by work, we tend to search for our silver lining later that day… sleep, going out or a nice meal. We see what is happening now as something to be endured as if we weren’t in control. We know we have to work hard, that’s an investment.

I remember a silly moment while being in my kitchen a long time ago. In the corner of my eye, I saw a full bottle of soy sauce is suspended in the air. I must have hit it while cleaning vigorously and now it’s well on its way to explode on the kitchen floor. I remember noticing the whole situation in an instant and being fully calm. I did not complain or get angry. I did not even sigh. I knew that I could never catch it from where I was. As soon as it hit, I cleaned it up and that was that. It’s such a small example but it stuck with me.

Everything that happens wants to be experienced. We are actors and we do not know the script. We have no idea when the current act will end and the next will begin, when the story arc will take an unsuspected turn or the butler will kill us.

This is not to say: “We don’t know what will happen.” We don’t, but that’s not my point.

We don’t know how we will react when something happens.

Mindfulness does not mean to bring your full attention to your current action by forcing it there. It means to realize that cleaning up an unsuspected mess is just as significant as breaking that personal record in this thing you love so much. The attention will follow.

“This life needs to be lived, these moments are meant to happen.”


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Fenn Talk
Fenn Talk

Thanks for sharing your post. Lately I’ve been using the mantra “Accept the moment for what it is, stay with what arises and try not to control that which is out of my control.” When I can be present it certainly helps with those soya sauce kind of moments.

Stumbling On Balance
Stumbling On Balance

Sounds very similar to the serenity prayer…. I like it 🙂