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Based on previous experiences,

expectations prevent us from opening up

to what may be truly wonderful.

Expectations, by their very nature, bind us to the familiar and to the past. Expectations prevent us from imagining something new and, quite possibly, more rewarding; they color everything we set out to achieve. Upon hearing of the lotuses and ponds in the Western Pure Land, we diminish these by likening them to what we now see every day. Being told of the learning environment, we remember going to school and conclude it’s similar. Reading that we can visit other Buddhas without leaving the Pure Land, we envisage it will be like holding a meeting via the Internet. All these ideas and expectations hold us back! Letting go of expectations, we free ourselves of remembered images and begin feeling—begin sensing—the wonder of things beyond our imagining. And we throw open the door to what is new and truly wondrous.

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