I wrote this in response to an email I received a few days ago and thought to share it here:
Thanks for reminding me of previous meditations I have had on hope and for allowing me to reflect on where they sit for me today.
Years ago in a retreat we did individual meditation and then group exploration on the question "What am I without hope?"
For some of us - we recognised that hopelessness also meant being fearless. That when I found myself hoping, I could also look to the other side and see that there was something that I was fearing. "I hope the roads will be good tomorrow." and "I am afraid the roads will be slippery." are two sides of the same coin.
In the years after this recognition - it doesn't mean that I have been able to become hopeless or fearless, but it does mean that I am able to check in with myself on where my energy is. When I feel myself hoping or fearing - I look to the other to see what is there. What am I afraid of? Or What am I hoping for? Being honest with myself, seeing that, and then letting it be a guide forward and not a barrier to action. (Our hopes can stand in the way of taking the next, best step just as much as our fears can.)
So it is not about working to be hopeless or fearless - but an acknowledging without attachment to.
And I find that helps me have cheer, be calm, and live into the future.
In addition - I was reading some poetry this week and this was one small verse by a Slovenian poet, France Preseren:
In hope, in dread long did I dwell.
To hope and fear I said farewell.
My heart, now empty, hold no cheer:
It yearns again for hope and fear.