Monday, May 01, 2006

No Expectations

I don’t mind what happens.”

I experienced an important realization, perhaps a brief moment of Satori Saturday night playing Texas poker (there’s a name to the game…can’t recall it right now- ‘hold ’em’ or something like that). It was only the third time I’ve actually played the game with our group of friends…I’m usually working when they’re playing, so it was a treat to be able to spend some time with my wife and nine friends.

The night ended four hours later with me taking first place ($120 bucks) and beating out some very experienced players. How did I do it? Well, a lot of luck, some skill and the truth be known….I didn’t mind what happened. I wasn’t in the game to win or lose- I just wanted to play, learn to play better and have a good time, so I didn’t "invest" emotionally anything into the game, especially expectations of winning.

Now it certainly wasn’t a stupendous round of poker playing mind you, I barely knew what I was doing especially when it came to counting my chips…but I won, basically by staying with hands that others told me later they would never have kept…because they felt right- and, the cards turned in my favor more times than for the others.

I know this doesn’t mean much in the scheme of things, but I did learn that not minding winning or losing let me play the game without any expectations and that, in itself created a certain amount of freedom in which to play.

How can I use this simple, fun lesson to shed light on certain areas of my life that seem to be invested with so much expectation? What would be the outcome of living as many moments as consciously possible not caring what happens…meaning, not assigning “good” or “bad” to what unfolds? I’m just like most people- I want good in my life, but there comes a point where "good" and "bad" become confusing, easily interchangeable and then eventually fall aside all together into moments of clear being.

Anyway, I’m the “newbie” who has won this week and I’m supposed to play again Friday (defend my title, as they say). I’m really not expecting to win, but it will be fun to play again. It was a “good” lesson for me.


Blogger Buford said...

Only a true philosopher could find a life lesson in a poker game. And not only a life lesson, but a damn good one.

Life is like a poker game. You play the cards you’re given, bet what you can afford, understand that skill only plays a small roll, and hope that lady-luck carries the day.

Hope to see you soon. You guys have to come see our gardens.

All our love
Buford, Red, and Jebbers

11:45 AM  
Blogger Pastor Doug Hoag said...

An excellent example of living in non-duality and loving what is at the present moment! Life is much more pleasant that way than hoping for desired outcomes or unrealistic expectations. That's just too stressful and soul-draining.

2:48 PM  
Blogger kevin beck said...

Fun for the sake of fun. Living w/o expectations. Awesome!

5:19 PM  
Blogger xianchick said...

reminds me of a dichotomy at work...

there are these three evil clinicians (I work in dentistry), and three of us who just love teeth.

The mean ones are cruel to patients; the owner is one of the kind ones (way too altruistic in dealing with the capitalists, in my opinion).

Kelly (the owner), just reminds us sensitive types to let go, and do what seems right to us.

So we help them.

We sterilize their instruments, take their x-rays, and clean their operatories. They bitch us out, and ask for more. We let go and do all we can to help.

Strangely enough, they are coming around... I've heard empathetic words of comfort, and have even glimpsed them in moments of weakness (which to them is kindness, and to us strength).

Things are coming around.

The point is... letting go is the most beautiful thing in the world.

And God is always present when 2 or 3 are gathered in His name.


11:07 PM  
Blogger anonymous julie said...


Directly to the gambling experience: that sort of approach is essential to playing poker well; money can really swing in an evening. If you let that affect your play, the day's done. I've met some traders who'll just go home if they lose $10k in a morning. Yes, it's Texas Hold 'em.

I can attest out of my experience to the value of living without expectation. My fencing coach, years ago, began to teach me. The lesson from all my stories is this; no-expectation gives room for discovery, room to fully realize one's true self.

Peace is with you!

1:31 AM  
Blogger Trev Diesel said...

:) Cool observations/realizations!!!

9:52 AM  
Blogger Larry said...

Great stuff, Isaiah. Re tennis: I've lost most of my need to win; this morning I noticed that Ellie wanted to win more than I did (completely uncharacteristic). At the risk of immodesty I have to say I was playing better.

I got to thinking about two of my tennis idols: Borg and Roger Federer: they both have (or had in Borg's case) "fire in the belly": without exception their poise gets better the closer the match. (Of course they both want(ed) desperately to win.)

2:23 PM  
Blogger Jon said...

You got to know when to hold 'em.
Know when to fold 'em.
Know when to walk away.
Know when to run.

And it's sounds like you've learned.


9:08 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

While we think otherwise, we are all newbies, all the time. When we realize this - how completely and utterly fresh our being is at every moment - our individual lives are infused with a vibrancy and intuition that is unimaginable.

1:38 PM  

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