I think these two are connected; not necessarily in a linear fashion, but through a few twists and turns of autonomy and independence you can get there.
Should any of us expect anything from anybody, or, for that matter, from life?
Well – I expect the nine o’clock train to London to arrive on time; if it is late, I guess my expectations are not met, but not really; I am only truly disappointed if the train is cancelled and my plans are significantly altered – I get to miss the Big Event, or whatever.
You could say, I am dependent upon the train’s arrival at my station, prompt departure and my conveyance to London in relative comfort and on time.
Anything short of this – too hot, cold, noisy, delayed and things are a little off.
Every morning I phone my mum to check on her; she is frail, unsteady, at risk of falling. I call to check that she is out of bed and OK. If I stop calling, what will she think? Does she expect my call? Is she dependent upon it? Or, I am dependent upon her answering the phone to allow me a sense of relief; ‘Phew, mum is OK.’
Indeed, it could be argued that my mum could do without the phone calls – it might limit her having a long-lie or popping out to the shops; that kind of thing. This is when expectation, dependence and reliance become mixed.
I guess where I am heading with this is that there are some things I feel are reasonable to associate with expectations – the sun rising, if you’re a kid, food on the table, clean water, if you are fortunate enough to live in a rich country, and so on.
Now, beyond this I guess you get into special circumstances;
For example. Speaking with my friend, we agree to meet at such and such a place on a certain day and time. At date of sorts.
If I arrive early, that is my damn fault. If, however that friend doesn’t show and an hour passes and nothing, and, you try calling and no answer on the phone, you might start to worry.
Are they OK?
Did they forget?
Why didn’t the answer?
Have I got the wrong day?
There are lots of permutations that pass through our consciousness, one after another;
If your friend arrives late, all because someone collapsed in the street, they resuscitated them and held their hand as the paramedics transferred them to hospital. That is one thing. You could call that a reasonable justification.
But, why didn’t you answer my call? ‘I was busy.’
Another situation might be, ‘There was something on TV that I didn’t want to miss,’ ‘What about the phone?’ ‘I had it switched to silent – the programme was so fascinating,’ probably, particularly in the days of iPlayer, etc. not a particularly reasonable justification.
Was it reasonable to have the expectation that the friend would arrive – I’d say yes; was it bad that they ditched you for an episode of The Simpsons; Yes.
And what about the circumstance when you are waiting, and the friend never appears; you never see them again.
Kind of weird.
Are they OK?
Did I say something wrong?
You look internally – what did I do? Or external, what is wrong with them?
These sorts of things.
This again, is probably a situation where failure to meet expectations and the associated feelings are reasonable.
Were you dependent upon the friend arriving? Well, perhaps they were going to hand you tickets to a concert or something similar and they didn’t show. Yes, that seems appropriate.
And so, we are independent creatures travelling in space and time.
Most of our lives happen by chance. From the very start of sperm meets egg, through to cholesterol plaque rupture.
The vagaries of circumstance are in many cases what give flavour to life.
When we need the flavour, when not having access to that taste starts to impact upon our experience, our feelings or emotions, our sense of happiness or satisfaction, that is when you need to determine the direction of the flow.
I need you just as you need me.
We need each other.
I need you, but you don’t need me or, I don’t need you, but you need me – dependence.
I don’t need anyone, no one needs me – seems a little sad. OK if you are seeking the Dharma.
We need each other – perhaps the start of something; what, however, if the scales are tipped towards one side more than another?
Probably no reason to be upset, but, a threat.
How do we mitigate the risk? How do we protect ourselves from the vagaries?
I suspect we can’t, so long as we remain human.