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Is hope the answer?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 by Marianne Elliott

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A couple of weeks ago I talked to Brigitte Lyons about hope. She was asking some really important questions. Like:

“What keeps you going when you have a crisis of hope?

You know the feeling.

The voice of doubt that creeps up when you start to think you can make a difference.

The worry that the work you’re doing to better yourself is silly and inconsequential.

The anger that flashes when you remember a time you thought your work mattered, but now you’re not so certain.

What do you do?”

We talked, she recorded it and then posted the first half of our conversation on her website today. After the elections in New Zealand this past weekend, it was as timely a reminder for me as as for anyone else. Here’s a taste of the conversation.

Is hope the answer?

Brigitte: The reason I wanted to talk to you today is that I struggle very much with hope. Often, I allow myself to sink into feelings of futility. Coming from my experience in the U.S., I feel that our political system is so stacked against the individual. Yet, when I read your writing, I see a person who keeps going, even after witnessing much worse.

Marianne: First up, I am not sure how I feel about ‘hope’.

It has different meanings in different settings, but from a Buddhist perspective, it is the flip side of fear.

It’s not about the present; it is about some projected future. Some story we have about what might happen.

Brigitte: Oh, that is interesting.

MarianneI’m much more interested in what is happening right now. And how I can participate in what is happening right now in a way that brings more comfort, safety, well-being to myself and others.

The impetus is to act, not to be attached to the outcome.

To act mindfully, yes, having given thoughtful consideration to possible consequences of our action. To choose wise and skillful action.

Read the rest of the post here. 

And read part two here

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One Response to "Is hope the answer?"

  1. Brigitte says:

    Thanks so much, Marianne, for having this conversation with me. I’m still sitting with it, and the same seems to be true of many of the people that read the chat yesterday.

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