It’s Friday evening and I am in the first floor flat on the edge of a small town near Delhi. The flat is above the house of Prakash, one of our lay Order members, and I’m here to visit the local Amida group and give some training.
The last time I was in India was just over four years ago. I stayed for six weeks, in spring time and just as I left the temperature was tipping forty degrees. Now, at the tail end of August the temperature is the same.
I have never enjoyed pouring cool water over myself so much as I did earlier this afternoon. Within a few minutes of drying myself of I was too hot again. They say it’s the humidity that gets you and not the heat. There’s plenty of each here.
I’m immensely grateful for the cold water in the fridge just outside my door, and to Prakash, for looking after me so well.
The part of the trip I was most worried about – making sure I got here – is done, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought. There was a moment, when Prakash didn’t answer his phone the first time I called, when I worried that I had somehow got hold of the wrong phone number. The driver of the taxi I had taken was anxious to leave me and get to his next job. I knew we were close to Prakash’s house. I suspected it was just a short walk away – but I wasn’t convinced I’d make it without a guide.
Prakash answered his phone and everything was fine. I probably shouldn’t have been worried though, even if he’d been unavailable for some reason most of the people here are so eager to help travellers like me that I’m sure I would have been safely delivered.
In the middle of last week, a few days before travelling, I had a powerful dream. I won’t go into the specifics here, except to say that it had a visionary quality to it and my teacher, Dharmavidya, appeared and told me to, “Let go of your expectations.”
Pertinent advice when I feel like I am reorienting my life around my ministry. I have a feeling the expectations referred to were about how I would like others to see me. That wasn’t explicit in the dream though, and letting go of expectations is good advice generally.
I was thinking about this advice yesterday. The Trust have given me some quite specific jobs to do while I am here, they are going to be financially supporting the group here more formally and have some things they’d like putting in place.
How do I let go of expectations and at the same time carry the expectations of the work I have been asked to do?
It’s about the difference between intention and expectation I think. The practice before me is to be clear about my intentions, without holding on to tightly to any specific ideas of how other people might respond to those intentions.