Dharma Glimpse by Maria Trotter
My husband and I spent most of last week in London. It was a hectic combination of work and shows that we’d arranged to attend a while ago, and some that were just spontaneous. Obviously as the railway strikes were announced shortly before our visit, we had to adjust our travelling arrangements accordingly (which meant it cost us a lot more) and I didn’t end up meeting some of my colleagues I’d been meaning to as they could not get into the office.
As I looked back on last week (which was a lot of fun in the end, even with disruptions), I realised that a couple of years ago similar circumstances would have brought me a great deal of stress. I probably would have spent a few days worrying about the trains running, would have struggled to combine work with that much extra activity and also be disappointed about not meeting the people I’d meant to meet. I would have stressed about the queues and get annoyed about the stuffy tube, cursing the big city life that I generally resent, not to mention how much it costs. This time I sometimes noticed my husband stressing about things not working out on various occasions, and I would generally just say “don’t worry, it’ll be what it’ll be”.
I think deep down I anticipated London to be chaotic and unpredictable, I expected plans to be fluid and arrangements to change. This is the form of acceptance that I used to find really hard as I always tried to be organised and used to get annoyed at experiencing the opposite. However as I’ve been slowly moving on the Dharma path I’ve found that sometimes having clear expectations can cause a great deal of distress and disappointment. Even though having no expectations at all is a bit too much of a leap for me sometimes, I’m rather learning to “expect unexpected”, kind of like a form of the “suffering of change”. I find facing the modern chaotic life much less stressful if I just accept that things will change and plans will sometimes fail – and some good may even come out of it. I even find London more agreeable with this kind of a mindset. I’m just expecting it to be unpredictable!
Namo Amida Bu.
Sign up to the temple newsletter on Substack for teachings, Dharma Glimpses and news from Bright Earth.