Letting Go of the Belief That There Should Be a Guarantee

A while back, I read an article about His Holiness the Dalai Lama, written by Stephan Talty. Stephan describes the life of this man—how he was taken away from his family very early in his childhood, how he had to study and meditate, and live a life that he did not choose for himself. His country, Tibet, was taken over by China and he was forced to go into exile. Now 88 years old, he has been given many awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize. Stephan says about the Dalai Lama: “He thinks like a man that is guaranteed nothing.”

Reading this created a profound awakening for me, as I realized the degree to which I have believed that because I did good deeds, I loved well, studied and worked hard, I was guaranteed everything I desire and more. By reading this sentence about the Dalai Lama, I realize the degree to which my personal suffering is created by my disappointment that the guarantees I thought were in place, have yet to be honored.

I have had to take a hard look at my anger and bitterness, the wrongdoing, which I believe has been done unto me. In doing so, I realized just how much of my suffering comes from my belief that there was a guarantee that I would have what I wanted. However, it appears that if I want serenity and well-being, I’ll have to start thinking differently.

People who live in what we consider to be physically impoverished countries actually see the United States to be a 3rd world country when it comes to spiritual prosperity. They see how we have very little capacity to be happy and content with ourselves. We constantly seek stimulation and self-gratification from external sources. Even if it is just in the form of our fantasies about a future, we imagine gaining power, love, beauty, financial wealth. With that, we will get all of the security and safeness we imagine, because we believe in the guarantee.

The United States has such abundance when it comes to material resources, yet we have the most unrest and violence within our homes and neighborhoods. We have huge health problems—obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, mostly caused by the consumption of food. We are satisfied with our material attainments for only moments; then, we are on to the next want and desire. We have the most, yet we live in a state of “It’s Not Enough.”

In the book, To Diet Like a Guru, I talk about the importance of thinking differently about what we really want. However, we usually are only willing to consider the possibility of thinking differently if there’s a guarantee. “Promise me that I’m guaranteed I’ll get what I want, and I’ll consider thinking differently!” Grrrrrr!

We’ve been told how good it is for our soul to declutter our homes as well as our minds and our hearts. Again, though, there is the demand, “I want a guarantee that I won’t need what I’m letting go of. Promise me that I won’t have any regrets or grief in letting this go.” 

How much money is spent on storage spaces, as we live in the fear that there’s no guarantee this may not come in handy someday! I imagine that it would cost a whole lot less to buy a replacement for something I let go of. But, there’s no guarantee for that either!

Letting go of guarantees requires developing trust that you’re okay, and will continue to be okay without guarantees. Raise your hand if you are willing to develop the trust that you are okay—with or without a guarantee! YIKES!!!

In the beginning of Diet Like a Guru, there’s one specific rule that for me is fundamental to coming into right-relationship with yourself. Rule #1– there is no deprivation required—guaranteed. Just for a moment, imagine, if you will, who you would be if you gave up the fear that you’ll be depriving yourself of something, even when you are giving yourself what you really and truly want. 

This question stirs the pot, to support the possibility of thinking differently. Without cultivating awareness regarding the many imaginings that keep you and I tethered to our current reality, we haven’t the capacity to think differently or to choose differently. We maintain constant vigilance against loss and deprivation. This is a very hard way to live. Guaranteed!

Just for today, if you want, notice your thoughts as you move through your day. Notice how often you might say: “I haven’t used this or worn this in years.” Or, “I wish I could let go of the thoughts that clutter my thinking.” Or, I want to spend more time with myself, but I feel like I can’t let go of the people in my life.” Or, “My time is cluttered with social media and television. I wish I had the courage to just turn off my electronics and go outside.” Or, “I wish I didn’t keep filling my body up with stuff it doesn’t need or want. I’d like to experience what it would be like to stop!” Or, “Once I have my house, my spouse, my career, the money, aren’t I guaranteed I’ll be happy and content?”

This isn’t how it works for most of us. Our hands are not free to receive when we are grasping for security and safety—always believing that what we have will be the safety net that guarantees, well, safety. 

To think differently—letting go of guarantees, requires trust, that to have what you truly desire you need to just let go of what no longer serves you, which includes the fear of lack and losing.

Just for one second, be in the Dalai Lama’s shoes, experiencing the loss of family, home, country and freedom, yet live in compassion, in kindness and in serenity. He shares that he surrendered his willfulness and found something greater within himself. He had to work diligently to come to where he is in peace. If he can do this, so can I? 

I believe that this is what each of us is up to—to surrender our willfulness for the opportunity to experience who we are without it. It’s a big practice, yes. It requires the willingness to think differently. But to take each incremental moment as a point of choice, allows us to know that it is safe to travel this spiritual path to well-being, one step at a time.

The guarantee to have or to not have is not the issue. The surrendering of our attachment to the guarantee, I believe is where we will find freedom to be in a world of our own making; one that is full of love, peace and joy. For me, that is what it’s all about. What’s it all about for you?

Related Posts

Aging – Who Me?

My 68-year-old client, Miranda, was profoundly impacted by the results of her cataract surgery. Without the need for glasses, Miranda was confronted by the fact

Read More »

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Thank you for signing up! Please enjoy my Pre-Flight Checklist for Success in Life!
Read daily to check in with yourself & stay on track.