Equanimity for anticipation & expectations

Carly Simon sang it . . .

The Heinz ketchup bottle illustrated what it could look like . . .

And I have fallen victim to it whenever I try something new and start to visualize what could possibly go wrong.

It’s called “AnticipationAnxiety!”

Yes, I usually anticipate the worst. I guess I learned it when I underwent training to become an officer in the US army. “You anticipate the best, but plan for the worst” is what we sturdy bunch of candidates adopted for our life strategy. It worked too. If you’re always preparing for the worst to happen, you won’t get surprised with any and all outcomes. And 99 times out of a hundred, you’ll not face a cataclysmic cliff ending to your mission.

fri 13th.jpg

“Expectation” is another word I put right up there with anticipation. I try not to have high expectations anymore. Most times, they never work out and I’m depressed and vowing never to get excited about something I have been looking forward to.


Why does it always seem to me that I never meet those expectations? Why do I look at the future with such a Pollyannaish outlook?

Be realistic, Michael J. Expect the worse but enjoy the best.

No. Combine your anticipation with your expectations and look at life anyway you want . . .  You’ll find there is very little difference between the good and the bad, the right and the wrong and that the best and the worst of anything are just labels. You can enjoy equanimity that way!

Try it now, but don’t expect the anticipation to be anything different from what you have already experienced. Just view it with less attachment and aversion.

2 comments on “Equanimity for anticipation & expectations

  1. uju says:

    Anticipation vs Expectation. Hmmm I’ve often wondered about these two, and for some reason come back to the conclusion that to exist in-between alludes to an absence of hope. Because really how can I remain positive for the best if I spend my time anticipating everything that could go wrong and prepping for them? It’s like living in a constant state of paranoia, never free from it, never wanting to be free from it either.

    These thoughts are still unravelling anyway. Perhaps, tomorrow my understanding or both will change (morphing thoughts and all.)

    But I agree with you on living life like you want it, Mr. M because in the end there is truly a very thin line separating good and evil and every opposites out there.

    Fine post 🙂


  2. I ordered a new zabaton and zafu meditation set last week from Dharma Crafts. It arrived a couple days ago. The following prayer was included in the packaging.
    The Four Limitless Prayer
    May all living beings have happiness
    and the cause of happiness;
    May all be free from sorrow
    and the cause of sorrow;
    May all never be separated
    from the Bliss that is sorrow-less;
    May all live in equanimity,
    free from attachment and aversion.
    Nice post, Michael J


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