The last month of this year begins. Sometimes we can be more conscious of the passing of time, as when we visit home after being away, or go back to a place where we used to live and find that things have changed. We can sometimes find that the event or the return did not live up to what we had looked forward to. Often what happens is that we form fixed ideas or expectations about some things in the future or we look forward so much to seeing someone or doing something that we play out in our minds how it will be. When the actual event turns out differently, we can find that our mood changes. Such expectations are part of a normal mechanism of the mind which thinks that happiness depends on conditions turning out exactly as we imagine or want them to be. We attach our happiness to a fixed expectation, and close out other possibilities. We do it unconsciously many times each day, fixing the manner in which things should turn out. But, as Philip Moffit reminds us here, we are continually changing, and by the time we arrive at any future moment a whole set of conditions have altered. Let us practice today being open to whatever way things happen, not fixing possibilities into determined expectations.
Always the rationalization is the same -“Once this situation is remedied, then I will be happy.” But it never works that way in reality: The goal is achieved, but the person who reaches it is not the same person who dreamed it. The goal was static, but the person’s identity was dynamic.