What do you expect from reading this post?

Post written by Evgueni

During recent months, the topic of expectations showed up for me again and again. I start working on my excessive planning habit and notice expectation lurking around. I do a breathing exercise and at the back of my mind I expect an immediate result. I put a book on my chair to create an element of voluntary suffering, and here it is again – something in me expects a miraculous effect in just a few minutes.

I need some expectation to start the exercise – why would I even try otherwise? However, at some point this continuous expectation becomes detrimental to the exercise. Results of the Work go beyond the realm of imagination and are not governed by my intellect. In my expectations, I cannot foresee possible miracles of the Master.

The situation warranted a closer look, a more focused observation. Digging deeper, I started seeing expectations everywhere. I talk to my family in a slightly changed tone of voice, expecting them to understand my mood. Moreover, I expect them to not only understand it, but also to accommodate this mood. I expect friends to arrive on time. I expect my Internet service to function uninterruptedly. However, people are not always attentive to the swings of my ever-changing moods. Appointments start late or get cancelled altogether. And my Internet connection goes down occasionally. My expectations aren’t met, inevitably leading to the spikes of negative emotions.

One evening I didn’t have anything planned, and I noticed some negative emotions were arising as if from nowhere. What was this about? I observed closer and realized that I expected boredom of the approaching evening. In this case I started suffering “in advance”.

What are all those expectations? Is it just another habit? For me, it feels like expectations are weaved in the very fabric of my ordinary day-to-day life. At the same time, I don’t remember expecting anything when being struck by an emotional wave of the live symphony, or when I was absorbed in the “now” of the looking exercise. But as soon as I fall asleep, my life gets surrounded by expectations. Maybe expectations is an attribute of the second state, a particular case of imagination?

Can then this faithful companion of my sleep be used to make my lower state more obvious and serve as an alarm?

Earlier this week I had a dentist appointment. As usual, I arrived 10 minutes earlier. 10 minutes passed, but I was still waiting. After 15 minutes a strong group of negative I’s occupied my entire inner space – “Why am I still waiting? They are disrespectful of my time! They are always late, what lousy people they are!” And then amidst this riot, I heard a quiet voice of my inner observer: “Here it is again. Your expectations are not being met and you are pissed off, wasting energy, falling deeper and deeper down the serpentine”. Immediately, the tension was released, the wave with the recognizable higher-state “taste” arrived, and I regained my inner peace. The group of intruding I’s retreated freeing up the field for something good.

As long as I’m in the second state, expectations are everywhere, and therefore they have a great potential to become a reliable and inexhaustible source of wood for the fire of my consciousness.

Has this post met your expectations?

Responses

  1. Kalev K

    Hello Evgueni,

    Thank you for the good description here.
    Has the post meet my expectations – yes and no.
    In point of view of “yes” – you have mentioned expectations so many times, that this is not so big surprise to read about.
    In point of view of “no” – expectations as habits – very good new point of view for me, also your description “when tension released”.

    Has my comment met your expectations?

    1. Evgueni Z Post author

      Hello Kalev,

      Thanks for your feedback. The way people reflect on the Work topics almost always exceeds my expectations, and that includes your comment.

      My question in the beginning of the article was intended to be of a more general nature – “What do you usually expect by reading ANY blog post on BePeriod?” To what extent expectations penetrate your life?

      I’m still not sure whether expectations can be reduced to just a habit, or it’s a property of the second state (as was suggested to me by Asaf). Regardless, I verified that expectations can be used for the “David and Goliath” judo.

      1. Kalev K

        Hello Evgueni,

        I see here another possibility too – I try to take the same readings, exercises and other topics without expectations – (till now with moderate success). I have noticed in my case how much of disorder the expectations may create and how energy wasting those can be. Also it may be surprising, what you can find without expectations.

      2. Kalev K

        Evgueni, hello again,

        What do you think:
        Goliath – the expectations or most expecting “I”;
        Saul – the observing “I”;
        David – the exercise that first bring the Goliath into sun, then defeats that or the exercising “I”.

        Or is the exercise just sling?

        I do meet new people at business sometimes. I just try to take them without prejudice, just as they are, and look and listen. This is pretty fresh for me, may-be there will be something to share in future.

        1. Evgueni Z Post author

          I think I won’t be able to eliminate expectations as long as I’m in the second state. However, I will try to use them as often as I can to detect this sleeping state. So it’s a judo trick of my inner David against the Goliath-Expectations, which I know will be returning again and again to the battlefield.

          1. Kalev K

            I am completely agree with you – until we do not work to conquer Goliath, we remain at second stage. What do you think, how long time the stone from sling may fly – a week, 40 days, half a year? Cutting the head off? Would a year be enough? With family and old friends the “non-expectations” exercise is impossible for me, as well as with long-term colleagues. I mentioned up here that I try to meet new business contacts without prejudice, but meanwhile, when there is no any new, I can answer to phone, let’s say at morning time at least, without expectations.

            1. Evgueni Z Post author

              I think I will never win the war against expectations, since they are inseparable property of my sleep. So Goliath-Expectations will never be defeated completely. But I will strive to win as many battles against him as possible. And by winning, I don’t mean destroying (or judging, or ignoring, or suppressing) the expectations, but rather using their energy to wake me up.

  2. Fabrizio Agozzino

    Dear Evgueni,

    I appreciated very much what you wrote and I can relate to it.

    Recently, even though it might seem a bit intellectual, I had a practical understanding.

    Gurdjieff said: “The transmission of the meaning of symbols to a man who has not reached an understanding of them in himself is impossible. This sounds like a paradox, but the meaning of a symbol and the disclosure of its essence can only be given to, and can only be understood by, one who, so to speak, already knows what is comprised in this symbol”

    And…

    “Man, in the normal state natural to him, is taken as a duality. He consists entirely of dualities or ‘pairs of opposites.’ All man’s sensations, impressions, feelings, thoughts, are divided into positive and negative, useful and harmful, necessary and unnecessary, good and bad, pleasant and unpleasant… The creation of a permanent third principle is for man the transformation of the duality into the trinity”.

    What you described in your article seems to be very much related to the ideas G. described above: useful or not useful? Did I get anything or not?
    Yours is a personal expression of this law.
    But now you have seen it. You have seen this duality in yourself and It can became a very powerful ‘symbol’ of a form of sleep.

    Asaf’s monthly exercises in working (by observing and accepting our I’s) seems indirectly pointing to this mysterious ‘third principle’ that we have to find in our-self.
    I have observed that ‘my’ I’s never came alone. One says something and right after I can photograph another I that says exactly the opposite. This process is very powerful and useful, but mechanical.
    If the I’s are coming from the intellectual centre, than I get ‘words’, ‘phrases’, ‘sentences’. If the main centre working is the emotional centre, than I get images, sometimes ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ came almost simultaneously.

    Few days ago I got an unexpected phone call from a dear friend that I did not speak to from some time. The first I I caught was happiness and an image of her face, right after these I’s, the image of her face got a bit blur and I started to experience a feeling of sadness… all of this in the time span of two seconds.

    Ciao,
    Fabrizio

    1. brant smith

      Fabrizio, your comment along with Evgueni’s post helped me to solidify what Gurdjieff might mean by all phenomena are the result of three forces. Further, after viewing the video on the discussion of Saul, observing I, it gave me an inkling of an understanding that the third force might in fact be observing I. Once we start to realize the duality in ourselves just as Evgueni’s post reflects his observations it introduces a small amount of light into the working of the machine that starts to transform the whole thing, sleep becomes less and less comfortable as soon as we start to realize the habits that are ingrained in us. To observe however, we must not be asleep, we must remember ourselves.

      1. Evgueni Z Post author

        Very interesting connection to observation as the third force. Also, what wakes us up? Do I wake up (even if just for a few seconds) because I observe, or I’m able to observe because something woke me up?

        1. Tim

          I think Nicoll would say we awaken when we detach from personality. Every word, every thought, every emotion, every inkling, every yearning that floats through your mind comes from personality – these are hard earned assets if you live your life based on the outer senses. Personality is the endosperm, the food, for the seed of essence to grow. And I personally conclude that thinking is just another sense. And why not? Sharks and plenty of other animals in the “farm” have more than the usual five senses.

          Your essence (mine, too) is so child-like that it may not even use words and is yet undiscoverable. A single instance of self observing wouldn’t wake you up but a collection of observations would create a roll of memories and that roll gives us a taste of something different from our personalities.

  3. John

    Expectations are a dilemma that plagued me until I identified them and dispelled them. The magnitude of the disappointment of unmet expectations was brought home for me on the golf course; set up the shot and expect it to be just right only to have it not be. When I recognized what was happening, i.e. expectations weren’t being met, I began to enjoy the game more. This spilled over into daily life as well. Actions taken, plans made, preparations all put in place don’t necessarily ensure the result one expects. Not identifying with the expected result brings more peace of mind.

  4. Neide Maria Amado Cruz de Campos Dias

    Expect … expectation … it is a thing that we have to deal with since one is preconceived. In fact since we are in uterus – maybe before – we are Involved by expectations. The verb become intrinsically recorded, remembered – however vaguely. How to overcome such human condition? As far as it seems , to overcome the verb “to expect” is to be free … free from being human? Free from being a expected human? Apparently, in the final analysis, free to be. Not this , not that … free to be. Be

  5. Vatsal Desai

    Nice Post.When I read the topic title,I was expecting that “something new” might be there to read or know or think in the post.This was more of a kind of wonder or curiosity hence with that “expectation” which was relatively very little in form of expectations,I started to read this without any notion or pre-conception about the topic itself hence I felt that I enjoyed reading the post!The element of surprise or unpredictability or lack of desire to guess the article in advance made my experience better!

  6. Myrto

    Evgueni, thank you for helping me seeing the storm of my expectations during the day. After a long day at work, I usually get sad when I meet my husband at home and he doesn’t meet my expectations of behavior. He is tired, not enough cheerful, not willing enough to talk with me, closed in himself. Realizing that my resentment comes from my expectations, has been a great relief. Giving “room” to someone, giving “room” to someone ‘s dark side without judgment, frees up energy and the relationship gets stronger and more substantial.

  7. Adriana

    Thank you all for your comments on expectations. I am working with this from the other side, observing the things I do because they are expected of me. My adult daughter visited me last weekend, I realized that is more my own idea of what is expected of me than what they really asked for.

  8. Tim

    from http://www.etymonline.com:

    1550s, “wait, defer action,” from Latin expectare/exspectare “await, look out for; desire, hope, long for, anticipate; look for with anticipation,” from ex- “thoroughly” (see ex-) + spectare “to look,” frequentative of specere “to look at” (see scope (n.1)).

    Figurative sense of “anticipate, look forward to” developed in Latin and is attested in English from c. 1600. Also from c. 1600 as “regard as about to happen.” Meaning “count upon (to do something), trust or rely on” is from 1630s. Used since 1817 as a euphemism for “be pregnant.” In the sense “suppose, reckon, suspect,” it is attested from 1640s but was regarded as a New England provincialism. Related: Expected; expecting.

    Expectation can only happen if I have already internally considered (ahead of the event) but the funny thing is this internal considering is so previously established that there isn’t a direct linear progression in time from one to the other. If I go to the grocery store and wait online at the cash register and the person at the head of the line runs to grab their wallet out of their car, it’s somehow already there that I have just been wronged and my turn is now “deferred” by 45 seconds. I didn’t go to the store that day thinking “I really expect to get processed quickly at the cash register”. It amazes me how much is latently going on in my mind. Once I make a track in my mind the track gets deeper with each use and even my memory of this track makes me feel like it is ‘me’. The trigger to remember this track must be an association I pick up on, like seeing everyone else on the grocery line raise there hands up in disbelief or seeing the cashier rolling his eyes. For me I am realizing my associations, aka triggers, are visual and auditory. The visual associations are much more mechanical whereas if I hear someone at lunch talking about something that happened in the news I can catch my associations easier. I really bank on the visual.

  9. Dean Whittingham

    When we went through the period of attempting to find our chief feature, the initial one that stood out at the time was ‘expectation’, and that all my reactions were stemming from already formed expectations and the lack of having them met.

    It is quite laughable to imagine a planet or a solar system, which comes near to another system of its same type, to form expectations of how that other system should behave towards it when all those systems are under the same laws.

    Having discussions with Hannah and Asaf last month we chatted a little bit about ‘dropping’ expectations, not before they are formed so much, but the moment we realize they have not been met, and then asking the question ‘what is the worse that could happen if I drop this now?’

    An example is being a passenger in my friends car, who from my perspective, is an impatient driver. My reaction is to become anxious inside which manifests into ‘huffing’ and ‘sighing’ as a way to try and alleviate the anxiety. I was able to stop the ‘huff’ before it occurred because I became acutely aware that I was very anxious and then just as I was about to ‘let it out’ with a big huff/sigh I held back and asked the question ‘what is the worse that could happen if I deliberately stop myself releasing this sigh/huff?’…the result being was that I was able to observe the anxious emotion from a far more detached space (the trinity or third force that Fabrizio touched on?) and I could also see to some extent that my friend was not deliberately trying to cause me anxiety – it simply was what it was.

  10. STAVROULA KOURTIDOU

    Evgueni, thank you for sharing these experiences of yours, which are very helpful to all of us. As for my “I” that started reading your post, it was just a “wanting to read” one. Then arose an “I” that said “Oh, yes. I do feel the same, I do have the same expectations, I do want the same…. e.t.c.
    Two years ago I wanted desperately to get a job. I had all the necessary qualifications, I was very high in the rank but besides that a group of colleagues had to give me their vote in order for me to get the job. I got one out of 20 votes and I did not get the job. My expectation together with my vanity nearly swallowed every energy out of me. Two years later I got the job out of nowhere, without expecting it and without having had any expectation.
    In the last years it has become clear to me that everything happens, I am not able to do anything. It is not me the one who manages to achieve something but whenever some expectation of mine is fulfilled, it happens because and at the time my expectation is no more prevalent.

  11. Jim Vander Noot

    This discussion of expectations came at a very opportune time for me. My wife and I have just returned from a long anticipated cruise to Alaska. When I saw the topic, I thought about my longtime desire to travel as far north as possible, wondering what gave rise to it, and examining what I expected to experience when I got there.

    I realized that in traveling to new places, especially after a long anticipation, I expect to feel different, to feel changed in some way. But of course, this doesn’t happen. “I” still “feel” the same and sense the same flow and dialog of internal personality components. This leads to the thought that I am missing the experience of being in the new place, which triggers an emotional tensing as I try to take in impressions and attempt to “experience” what I imagine I should be feeling.

    During the trip, I was able to observe this process more closely, and at times had some success in detaching from habitual reactions.

  12. Dakhxesh

    Dear Friends
    Wish you a very productive workshop on this Saturday.
    Recent days what I observed in myself that feel very fear about my physical death , thought if I die today, what than, might I am more aware about my higher centers , my responsibility towards family, our new school Beperiod, my offices,etc. This is just a thoughts. Very hard work on myself to reach that state. Finally all fears are useful with right attitude. To Be

  13. Hicham B.

    Thanks Evgueni for this interesting post and topic.
    Expectation is one of the main root causes of my suffering. It’s always a matter of expectation versus reality. Of course vanity plays an important role here, because “it” believes it is important and deserves to be treated accordingly. However, experience shows there is no cause-effect relationship in these matters. I studied hard, graduated as the top student, still I’m unemployed for the second year. I expect something and external circumstances give me another result.
    I believe I have to study closely the mechanisms of expectation to free myself from it. Any suggestion is welcome.