When we are faced with suffering and uncertainty or life becomes overwhelming we can tense up, resist or try to control. But when we open and let go in the midst of change and release expectations we get in touch with enormous possibility and a powerful freedom. Practicing inclusiveness of what is and especially of suffering and difficulty, is one of the faces of love, and it is a power that can help us meet the intense challenges of the multiple pandemics we face, of Covid-19, climate chaos, racism, and economic and political breakdown.
I learned a beautiful way to practice this from the French Canadian dharma teacher and co-founder of True North Insight, Pascal Auclair, in a meditation that guides us to practice renunciation as a form of love.
We first renounce our expectations of someone that we are close to, the ways we put demands on them, or ask them to be other than they are. We give them space and freedom to be who they are. We experiment with what it might be like to release them fully from the boxes of judgement that we may put them in, just for a moment. And we wish them well.
Then we explore what it would be like if they would release us of their expectations in the same way. What that would be like? How would we feel?
We continue then to let go of the expectations we have of ourselves in the past, in the present and also in the future, the way we are holding onto judgements and demands of ourselves, how we should have been, how we should be now, how we want to be in the future. What would it be like to completely release these attachments to how we want ourselves to be? Just for a short time. And we wish ourselves well.
Lastly we release our expectation of how life itself should be, as an act of love, renouncing the demands and requirements for how life should unfold. And we wish all the beings who participate in our life well. This profound inclusiveness of how life IS is a radical act of love.