Of the 37 spiritual practices in the Alphabet of Spiritual Literacy, hope is one of the most frequently written about by religious people and seekers of all stripes. It's clear we need it in these times!
Michael Stone (1974-2017) was a well-respected Buddhist teacher, yogi, psychotherapist, and author. He founded and directed the Centre of Gravity Sangha in Toronto. In an essay on "Hope Without Optimism," Stone writes:
"Hope is motivating, and hope is the belief that there's still some wiggle room — that change is possible. Hope and despair tend to go together, and they're both contagious."
Not bad— this interpretation can definitely take us into some new directions. Whereas optimism is for many a cheery bromide, for Stone it is "the toxic belief that everything is going to turn out fine.
Hope is the motivating energy that doesn't know what the fruit of our actions will be."
Here the spiritual practice of hope rubs shoulders with not knowing, taking loving action, and bearing witness. Stone ends this bold exploration by saluting our Buddha nature as our capacity for imagination and the ability to reframe everything from hope to optimism to letting go from a fresh perspective.
This same capacity is evident throughout The World Comes to You whether the creative author is assessing mindfulness, the edgy nature of curiosity, the art of blinking, unexpected altars, difficulty, not chasing things, and five-minute practice. If you are looking for something completely different to read spiritually, this is the right book for you.