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How hope and mindfulness fit together

Updated: Jul 1, 2023

I always strayed away from talking about hope in mindfulness practice group. I couldn't quite figure out how hope with its mental time travel and mindfulness - which orients our attention toward moment-to-moment presence - fit together. I always knew hope was integral to what it means to be human though. It is necessary, especially when circumstances are most dire.

When I was involved in the non-profit world of education and populations with refugee status, I was struck by the hope that was present in the face of complete uncertainty. Hope fueled families' journeys from their homes toward a future free of persecution. The capacity for hope, even in the face of such suffering, reminds me of our hearts' capacity to endure.

Hope is a response to despair. We can intentionally turn toward hope by acknowledging the toughness present and holding the possibility for peace at the same time. It motivates us, eases our pain by reminding us that the situation will change and can help us take action to create the future we want.

To choose hope is to step firmly into the howling wind, baring one’s chest to the elements, knowing that, in time, the storm will pass - Desmond Tutu

Some say that hope involves a trust that life will find a way to work out. For others hope involves faith in a bigger power orchestrating life. I am particularly intrigued by Jane Goodall's interpretation of hope in The Book of Hope. She believes hope requires action. It is not fanciful or wishful thinking which exists mostly to entertain us. Hope connects to human resilience and inspires us to take steps to see it realized. It involves a vision or goal, a pathway to that vision, the confidence to know we can attain it, and the support to help us along the way when things get tough.

This formula for hope helps me see how we can be mindful with our hope. Hope grounded in mindfulness is intentional, helpful and fuels resilience. How does hope manifest in your life with mindfulness?


Jul 03, 2023

Great post. Would love to hear more about how to obtain hope when hope is lost. Thank you!!!

Replying to

I appreciate your comment - I imagine others also have this question. Two things come to mind after reading your words. The first, is the quote by Carl Rogers: "The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change". Acceptance and seeing life as it really is feels like a first step. This doesn't mean you necessarily like the way things are, but it does mean that you can see them clearly and then decide how you'd like to be with the situation. If you'd like to envision a different way, that is where the hope comes in. Sometimes the hope has to do with how we're relating to a situation - especially…

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