The Two Faces of Hope by Colleen Kanna, Photo by Laura Allen on Unsplash
On my way home from a recent road trip to Toronto, I decided to listen to a podcast by Tara Brach about the two faces of hope. I typically listen to business/entrepreneurial type podcasts, but on this day I really needed to listen to something different. Tara is a psychologist, author, and teacher of meditation, emotional healing, and spiritual awakening. So, there’s a big clue on my state of mind.
It was a 2 part series about hope. I have always considered myself to be a hopeful person. Despite all the chaos in the world, I mostly see the good. And, I believe the world is full of kind, decent, and caring people. But lately, I’ve been feeling a lack of hope. I keep a smile on my face and a cheerful disposition but inside is a different story.
Tara talks about two kinds of hope. There is what she refers to as egoic hope. This hope is short sighted and narrow focused because it’s a grasping type of hope. It’s when we hope for something to go a particular way. We have all felt this. For example, “I hope I get that job, or promotion, or client”. It comes from a sense of lacking. The shadow side of this hope is fear. What if it doesn’t happen? It’s like riding an emotional rollercoaster. Your hope goes up and down.
Then there is the more evolved or soulful type of hope. It has 3 characteristics:
Aspiration. There is an aspiration towards our highest potential. To be all that we can be. There is a sense of being connected to what really matters. What do we really long for?
Trust. We trust that it’s possible. We trust that we’re evolving to our highest potential because our future self is already here guiding us to become all that we can be. It’s like an acorn aspiring to be an oak. The oakness is already embedded. It’s already here. It’s the same for us. We can only get there, from here.
Engagement. There is an energy to engage and support the manifestation of our highest self. If we long for something, we dedicate energy towards it. We get moving.
I followed Tara’s prompts to take a moment to reflect on the type of hope I experience when I’m feeling hopeful. I was surprised to find my hope is often tied to things being a certain way. I’m on that rollercoaster ride. Hence, my feeling of lack of hope these days. I guess it’s not surprising given the life changing events that have been thrown my way this past year. But, I also see the potential to evolve my hope. to move between the two faces of hope to the more grounded type of hope. I trust that it’s possible. So, my new mantra which is written on a bright pink sticky note attached to my bathroom mirror is “Change is Possible”.
Hope matters because it makes a difference in how we experience life. Hope gives us resilience. It shows us the light. It acts like a buffer during stressful times. There’s always a beacon of hope if we look for it.
To hear more of Tara Brach’s wisdom on hope, go to Hope Can Heal and Free Us – Part 1 and Part 2. Let me know your thoughts on hope in the comments.
Until next time,
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Great blog Colleen. I have often avoided hope as a value or discussion pint for the very reasons Tara discusses, egoism hope. It has always felt empty to me as it is tied to an outcome. However, when you shift this to aspiring to live your best life, evolving your spirit, it takes on new meaning. I believe even when life gives us more change than we wanted or expected, it is all perfect. The meaning often escapes us in the moment, and when the dust settles, we can often see that everything was in our highest good. Not saying this is an easy journey, certainly interesting.
Betty, thank you so much for your thoughts on hope. This is certainly a different way to embody hope, moving away from being tied to outcomes towards more of an aspirational hope of being the best that you can be. Not an easy journey for sure.