Hopelessness is a state of mind. It is a very specific state of mind, with very specific causes. I’ve dealt the tango with hopelessness, looking back it just means I’m not taking enough risks in my life to make it worth it. I’m not betting on my name, so I get bored.
But that’s me.
After a pretty bad day where shit hit the FAN, I knew the only thing I could do to recover is to read my books on Buddhism. My current spiritual beliefs were killing me, literally. Everyday I woke up not wanting to live or function, everyday I woke up in INsanity, despair, and, hopelessness. Everything I did was just a distraction from the chaos that was my mind, life, and emotions.
So I started to read Peace is Every Step by Thich Naht Hanh. I immediately felt 30lbs, come off my back. I became excited and decided to study this more. Finally a spirituality where it wasn’t life or death, just simply a path to peace. Due to the extreme nature of the situation that made me pick up this book, I focused like never before and devoured a good portion of it and other Buddhist books over the course of 3 days. Looking back they were the happiest and calmest 3 days I have had in a very long time.
So this brings me to the title of this post, why it is not hopeless.
I hope I can do this justice, it’s like trying to recreate a master painting by a master painting.
Anyways, I want to ask you this question; where is your mind?
Is it in the future? The imaginary future that exists in your head?
Is it in the past? Thinking of all the things you wish you never did?
Life can only be lived in the present moment.
Everyday when we wake up we have 24 brand new hours to live in a capacity that will bring us happiness, peace, and joy.
This is a small section from Peace is Every Step.
I want to break some of it down for you.
I was reflecting on the present moment and the future, and I realized the future is imaginary, it’s made up in our minds.
The past I couldn’t quite figure out, but it isn’t the present.
Notice how Thich says “when we wake up”, implying if we do.
Notice how he says “we have the capacity to live in a way that will bring us happiness, peace, and joy”
We have the capacity to live happily, not saying it’s guaranteed. It simply an option.
To LIVE! How do you LIVE your life? What emotions do you LIVE in?
That WILL bring us happiness, peace, and joy. WILL! We can do things that WILL bring us these positive emotions.
Not saying that we are guaranteed them, but that we can live in a way that we can create these feelings, and live them.
This was basically a small exercise in mindfulness. Breathing mindfully and smiling mindfully and consciously for a few breaths can help us to return to ourselves.
Now to hopelessness.
Like I said hopelessness is a specific state of mind, it has certain and direct causes. Which is why I tried to give you a taste of mindfulness. If your mind is in the future, it is creating “what ifs”. If it is in the past you are probably reflecting negatively. If it is in the present, you probably are thoughtless! Buddhism also talks about certain ridding certain emotions from our lives, such as hatred, attachment, desire, and our I, our ego.
You never would think that having hatred, a basic emotion could cause you to suffer, but if you imagine yourself not hating anyone or anything, you get your peace back. If you live attached to nothing, you can’t suffer, you don’t cling to anything for ego’s life. No desire, that’s simple, desire is the root of all human suffering. Understanding our ego, our I. Our I is mainly projected desire. All I’m saying is once you become aware of these things you don’t have to be hopeless.
And I would bet that people who are hopeless are very self-centered. Only concerned with them and what they can’t and never will get, thus creating hopelessness. Buddhism speaks out against being self-centered, and instead gives the alternative of being altruistic, thinking of the welfare and being of others first.
Reflect on everything and see if I make any sense. As the Dalai Lama said “When science proves something that isn’t true in Buddhism, Buddhism will change.”