Can we rely on hope?

Hope is something that we tend to hold onto when times are tough. It is something that we use to keep ourselves focussed and it is an energy that allows us to achieve our dreams. To have hope is to have faith that you will achieve, that you will get things done. Without hope we wouldn’t be able to start our plans because we wouldn’t know what we wanted. For example: “I hope to get married someday” or “I hope to start work soon”. Hope is an acknowledgment that we make within ourselves. It is a little spark that starts the fire or a bright light in the far distance. But how much can we rely on our hopes? And does hope serve us justice?

Hope has inspired many artists in the sense that they have channelled their dreams through it. In fact some peoples’ hopes have been so strong and so passionate that they have used it to communicate with others and reassure them that hope can indeed transform our lives. For example George Frederic Watts, created a painting called Hope, which is a representation of the Greek mythological entity of Hope. Legend has it that Prometheus sealed Hope inside Pandora's box. When the evils were released from the box, Hope stayed. Watts's intent in painting Hope was not to produce a beautiful painting that appeals to the sense of sight but to symbolize the feeling of hope so that people could see that hope was perhaps a feeling that really does mean something.

Watts had received a letter from a poor man who had been “down on his luck”, but who told the artist he was cheered and encouraged by a reproduction of the painting, which brought him back from the brink of despair. It was said that a prostitute, who felt that “life had become unbearable”, saw a photograph of Hope in a shop window. She bought it with “her few saved coppers” and gazed at it until “the message sank into her soul, and she fought her way back to a life of purity and honour. Hope can be found in many different places and more than often, we attain it from the smallest of places such as a photograph in a shop window.

It may not be enough for everyone but a moment of self realisation can happen at any moment to absolutely anyone when they least expect it. Some people believe that being hopeful is like planting a seed into the universe as it allows our inner most dreams and wishes to be fulfilled as we follow a trail of our own positive thoughts. Hope can be a secret wish that stabilises us in someway, it gives us something to live for and although we can’t always be hopeful about everything we can at least be hopeful within ourselves. There are many different types of hope for example, hope is distinct from positive thinking, which refers to a therapeutic or systematic process used in psychology for reversing pessimism.

The term "false hope" refers to a hope based entirely around a fantasy or an extremely unlikely outcome and can therefore lead to disappointments and nasty wakeup calls and while the truth sets people free, lies will always shatter hope whether you are lying to yourself or to someone else. The difference between living with false hope and real hope is easy to tell apart. False hope will make you feel dazed, confused and uncertain and can also make you lack direction. But when we experience true hope we are connecting with our true inhibitions and allowing ourselves to follow the path of enlightenment with a spiritual buzz. When we hope for something, we make it happen rather than sitting on it and when we have real hope we feel a happiness that is indescribable because it is an inner faith, a knowing that your hopes are going to become a reality.

A psychologist argues that hope "comes into play when our circumstances are dire", when "things are not going well or at least there’s considerable uncertainty about how things will turn out". She states that "hope literally opens us up and removes the blinders of fear and despair and allows us to see the big picture thus allowing us to become creative" and have belief in a better future".

We may even go through experiences that give us hope or may well find hope through other people. Sometimes we may even have to open up a can of worms to find hope, even if it does feel as if it is filtering through our hands, more than often through these lessons we learn about the things that give us hope just like Pandora, when she was given a beautiful box by the gods. She was not to open the box under any circumstance, yet her own curiosity impelled her and as she opened the box-jar, all evil contained escaped and spread over the earth. She hastened to close the lid, but the whole contents of the jar had escaped, except for one thing that lay at the bottom, which was Hope. Pandora was deeply saddened by what she had done, and was afraid that she would have to face Zeus' wrath, since she had failed her duty. However, Zeus did not punish her, because he knew this would happen and therefore Pandora learnt.

Experiences such as Pandora’s box teaches us valuable things about ourselves, that sometimes when we open up mysterious boxes such as Pandora’s we learn something magical that allows us to connect with that inner hope and light that we never knew was there before. Once the box has been opened and we finally see the contents, the epitome of our dreams begins to make sense and the search is no longer needed as we feel complete, we feel reassured that hope will guide us.

So some of us can indeed live in hope, it is key in major world religions and spiritual institutions. It is the substance in our souls, it is what we are born with and it is the fuel that keeps us burning. Without it, spirituality would not exist and our goals would not be reached as it is our faith that ultimately leads us to a higher pathway where we are able accomplish things meaningful to us. But the feeling that denotes from that is something which is beyond human understanding, something which can not be settled by evidence and something which many of us simply accept as it becomes second nature and helps us to achieve the impossible, almost guaranteeing an outcome of something rather special!.

Quotes on hope:

“We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose hope”.
Martin Luther King Jr

“Hope ever prevails that tomorrow will be a better day”
Tibullus

REFS
http://www.tate.org.uk/tateetc/issue2/wherethereslife.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hope
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandora's_box

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