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Expect No Fruition

Expect No Fruition

How are your New Year’s resolutions holding up? If that question caused a little hesitation, then you’re not alone. Studies show that only a fraction of those who set resolutions actually carry them through the entire year. Even by March, commitment tends to flag and we slide back into our old habits and routines. The first glow of success fades and then we hit that period where we’re doing it through sheer willpower because whatever change we desire to make hasn’t yet become part of who we are.

I recently hit a bump in the road with some intentions that I set for myself. Like many, I felt really good about these new changes in the beginning but realized that my enthusiasm was waning as the outer results became less obvious and noticeable. My new daily routine felt less uplifting and more of a chore. I had already hit a plateau!

I realized that I still had some attachments to seeing certain results rather than taking the actions simply from pure love and joy. I was focusing on satisfaction in the future rather than enjoying the experience in the present. In her book, Start Where You Are, Pema Chodron discusses this Buddhist concept of expecting no fruition to your actions. At first it sounds defeatist to let go of any thoughts of reaching your goals, but it’s actually very freeing. It’s about letting go of expectations and surrendering to the experience in each moment without any judgment of the outcomes. Even on the spiritual path, what may seem like very evolved goals can become traps if they are so important to us that we lose sight of the value of the experience itself. Chodron explains it this way:

As long as you’re wanting to be thinner, smarter, more enlightened, less uptight, or whatever it might be, somehow you’re always going to be approaching your problem with the very same logic that created it to begin with: you’re not good enough. That’s why the habitual pattern never unwinds itself when you’re trying to improve, because you go about it in exactly the same habitual style that caused all the pain to start.

It’s all too easy for our mental selves to turn the idea of experiencing even spiritual states such as Enlightenment, Ascension and Oneness into something that we haven’t managed to achieve, which just brings us back to disappointment and self-doubt. If we start jogging just to look better for our high school reunion, we lose the experience of being in the body while running and that feeling of sending loving energy to the miracle of the body. If we start pitching new ideas at work only to gain a promotion, we may miss the pure joy of being more creatively expressive and the value of working collaboratively. Each of these life changes have rewards already built in, even if the outward goal is never realized. But if we focus solely on where we’re going or what we’re going to get out of it, we lose the bigger prize- the greater awareness of our true inner self.

So, go ahead and set your intentions to create your Soul’s vision, but let go of any attachments to the end results. When we expect no fruition to our actions, we are freed from anxiety and self-judgment and can relax into the enjoyment and insights of our actions right in this moment.

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