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Spiritual Practices: Hope
Enhances:
Optimism

Balances/Counters:
Despair, Impatience
Hope


The Basic Practice

Hope is a positive and potent spiritual practice with the power to pull us through difficult times. It is usually described with light metaphors — a ray, a beam, a glimmer of hope; the break in the clouds; the light at the end of the dark tunnel. It is often discovered in unexpected places.

Hope can be learned with practice. Certain attitudes support it. One is patience, an ability to tolerate delays, a willingness to let events unfold in their own time. The other is courage, an attitude of confidence even when facing the unknown. A third is persistence, the determination to keep going no matter what happens. We have hope when we can say, all will be well, and we mean it.

Why This Practice May Be For You

Hope is the basic ingredient of optimism, a tendency to dwell on the best possibilities. It is a frequent companion of another spiritual practice — enthusiasm. It, too, is energizing. The greeting "Be of good cheer" puts it well.

But a more common — and very telling expression — is "Hope for the best, but expect the worst." The more likely outcome, it implies, is the worst. When we are without hope, we easily fall victim to such negativism. When the light of hope is absent, we are overcome by gloom and doom, despair and defeatism.

In terms of personal style, without hope, we find it difficult to be patient and are easily frustrated. We may lack the courage to continue struggling against adversity. We are faint-hearted and quickly discouraged. We really do expect the worst.

 


 
Resources on This Practice