Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light, where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love, For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.-Prayer for Peace by St. Francis of Assisi
St. Francis, in his prayer for peace, mentions hope among the necessities of pardon, faith, light and joy. These are all requisites for peace. Hope is therefore not just the absence of or freedom from despair, but rather victory over despair, desolation and despondency. If you think about it, hope actually is faith, light, joy and pardon. When you have faith, you hope to be right about what you believe in, light ensures hope to overcome darkness, you hope to fight sadness with joy and when you pardon, you hope that forgiveness would offer someone motivation to right certain wrongs. Hope is what keeps us going.
Seeing the Glass as Half Full
So, what is hope? Hope is a feeling within us that is essentially futuristic in nature. It could be anticipation, trust or belief. The primary characteristic of hope is optimism. Hope is when you are able to dream of the stars and the rainbow even when your life has become dull, difficult and gloomy. Hope is seeing the glass as half-full. Hope is thus being able to provide yourself and others with the promise of something better even when things are steadily going worse. Hope is knowing that if your life has hit rock-bottom, the only way it can go now is upward.
Despair is a powerful emotion that feeds on hopelessness. It acts like a parasite sucking out the life-force of the person who harbours it. Life will have its challenges. Whether you let these hassles and obstacles get the better of you or not is the question.
“If you are not exposed to the vicissitudes of Life, it is not good. It is like being exposed to germs.
You have no immunity. You have no inner strength.”-Grand Master Choa Kok Sui
What does not Kill You, makes You Stronger
Master Choa Kok Sui thus emphasized on the fact that hardships are not only just a part of life but that they are essential aspects of life. They help in building inner strength. Without inner strength, one cannot progress on the spiritual path. Having hope is what helps in dealing with these hardships as it serves as a constant reminder that “this too shall pass”. When you give up hope, you fill your heart with negativity and forsake any positive possibilities. It is thus wise to remember that no matter how difficult life gets, no matter how much you want to give up hope, things will get better. Every dark cloud has a silver lining after all!
Source: Experiencing Being, The Golden Lotus Sutras on Life by Master Choa Kok Sui