Motto: The best way to simplify life is to eliminate what complicates it.
Imagine an orange. Ripe, juicy, on the table in front of you.
Your mouth starts to water. Expectation means that, in your mind, you can already taste it on your tongue.
And then you bite into the orange.
There are 2 possibilities:
1) Either you find out that it ISN’T as you expected. It’s bitter and full of seeds. You’re disappointed.
2) Or you find out that it IS just as you expected. Fine. Bear that in mind.
Either an orange IS NOT good enough, or it IS good. Nothing more. But when can it be amazing?
A different situation: The orange is on the table again. And we erase all expectation from our mind about how it MIGHT taste. We just don’t know. We don’t think about it, because that would be futile – every orange can taste different. So we are just open to ANYTHING. Any possible taste or flavour.
Can the orange disappoint us in this case?
Yesterday I finished writing a book that readers have been asking me for recently. Over 260 pages. My friends called me, a wonderful married couple, and they chose to regenerate my powers. What with? “Wait and see. You will experience something that you could not even imagine in Prague. Just don’t expect anything, OK?”
She is the manager of a top hotel, he is the chief lawyer for one of the most valuable brands in the world. What can they think of as unusual – in Prague, which I know so well? But so be it, I let go of my expectations.
They took me to a place I had seen many times before, but that I didn’t know anything about. First of all, through catacombs, they led me upstairs – to my astonishment – right to the roof of the National Theatre. The sharp glow of the spotlights, staring at the golden crown. On a huge stone patio, there were waiters in dinner suits with dickie bows, waiting to serve us – in a place where there is no restaurant – the dinner is a stand up affair. Sparkling wine, marinated skewers, fresh cream soufflés from the Hilton, which I would have killed for. I was in seventh heaven, that I could touch those beautiful stone statues, see Prague Castle like never before and, long after midnight, to suck in the genius loci, the indescribable charm of a place that is not freely accessible, and I had no idea that I could even experience the evening there.
This was unforgettable mainly because I did not expect it. I had no idea it was possible. Anyone can have such a feeling anywhere, even without being on the roof of such an edifice. It is enough to live in the moment; to just give up the idea of the next moment; give up all expectation about any person we are about to meet or any event to come.
Just do nothing, expect nothing.
Whenever we put into our minds a presumption of what might or could be, or how someone could behave towards us, we condemn ourselves either to disappointment or to zero excitement, simply setting ourselves up for nothing worth remembering. In this mode of thinking, we will just go from disappointment to boredom, every day, all of our life. Nothing will enchant us, no matter how objective it may be.
Getting rid of any expectation means enjoying the pure value of a person, an event, or a thing; to see the magic of every moment, even if it is self-sufficient; to appreciate everything, even the little things, as they are. Without embellishment. Without pretence.
Then every event in our life can be a unique experience – unvisited previously, either in the mind, through expectations which we have built to varying degrees, or in actuality, because we have not lived through the experience which is yet to come.
Why am I writing about this? Since art does not anticipate anything in advance, it has three basic benefits that lead to a significant simplification of life. Are you interested in what they are? Then read on.
Please, continue to the 2nd page