The Four Candles flickered in the darkness. They were the only source of light in an otherwise dark night. The night ambience was so silent that you could hear them speak.

The first candle said, “I am Peace! How can I stay lit when the world is full of war, terrorism and conflict?” Then the flame of Peace slowly diminished and went out completely.

The second candle said, “I am Truth! How can I stay lit when people are full of lies, deception and manipulate even their loved ones?” Then the flame of Truth slowly diminished and went out completely.

The third candle said sadly, “I am Love! How can I stay lit when people have no time for love? Forget about loving the neighbours, they don’t have time or heart to love the ones living in their homes.” And then the flame of Love went out in a puff of smoke.

About then, a child happen to pass through the night and without the flames of Peace, Truth and Love the dark night appeared more dark and cold. The child began to cry. “Why aren’t you burning?”, he asked. Without peace, truth and love what kind of a world are we children going to inherit?

Then the fourth candle spoke gently but firmly to the crying child. “Fear not my child, for I am Hope and while I still burn, you can relight Love, Truth and Peace with my flame.” With shining eyes, the child took the candle of Hope and lit the other three candles.

Never let the flame of Hope go out. With Hope in your life, no matter how bad things may be, Peace, Truth, and Love will shine brightly once again.

Now, the question is: What is hope? And how can it relight all that is lost?

Most of us confuse “Hope” with “Faith”.

According to C. R. Snyder, who dedicated his career to studying this topic, hope isn’t a mere emotion as is commonly believed; it’s a way of thinking or a cognitive process. Hope is a combination of setting goals, having the tenacity and perseverance to pursue them, and believing in our own abilities.

It means if we have hope:

  • We have the ability to set realistic goals (I know where I want to go).
  • We are able to figure out how to achieve those goals, including the ability to stay flexible and develop alternative routes (I know how to get there, I’m persistent, and I can tolerate disappointment and try again).
  • We believe in ourselves (I can do this!).

Simply speaking, “Hope” is having some goal in life to pursue, the belief in our ability to achieve it, and having, or knowing how to get, the knowledge and skills to achieve that goal. “Hope” is the cradle of goals and their achievements. A purposeless life is a hopeless life.

To create and maintain peace and love within and outside in the world, it requires efforts and work. Mere hoping for peace and love as per our old definitions of “Hope” doesn’t bring about any peace and love, neither inside us, nor outside in the world. But with this new definition of “Hope”, you can create anything. Now, the question you have to ask yourself is: What is your purpose? Why are you living?

Faith, hope and expectation are three different things.

Yes, as we all know that it is far easier to say “Don’t expect” but it’s far more difficult to not expect in reality. We do expect and then we face disappointment. Because who doesn’t expect, can’t feel disappointment. But, as the definition of “Hope” teaches us, to keep on trying again and again inspite of disappointments, to not get bogged down by disappointments – is to have “Hope”.

First please take a look at the antonyms of these words, you will have a better understanding.

Expectation <—> Disappointment/Frustration
Hope <—> Despair —> Depression
Confidence/Belief <—> Doubt
Faith <—> Fear

Now, “Expectation” is a mere desire. You can keep on expecting things to happen, you can keep on expecting other people to behave in a certain way that you like, you can expect something to not happen to you. And when things don’t happen as expected we are disappointed, we are frustrated.

Confidence is belief in your abilities. The opposite is self-doubt.

Faith is knowing. The opposite is fear which grows out of ignorance.

Four friends planned a trekking trip in the Himalayas. Shraddha, Vishwas, Kamana and Aasha.

Kamana was very excited and she imagined all good things happening on the trip. That how they will enjoy, how it will be so good and fun.

Vishwas was quite fit physically and was confident of undertaking the trek.

Shraddha had already been to this trek many times before and knew all it took to make this trip a success. She knew the weather that how quickly it can change and she packed accordingly.

Aasha was also very excited about the trip. She felt confident in her abilities to trek as she has been regularly going to the gym. And to prepare for the trip she started jogging too. Moreover, she consulted Shraddha about what it takes, and she prepared and packed accordingly.

On the appointed day, they embarked on their trip. By afternoon, they reached their destination, the weather was very nice and all of them felt very good to be there. They were all excited about their trek that they were going to start the next morning. But by the evening weather took a nasty turn, which eroded all Kamana’s excitement, although she didn’t show it to others. Although Vishwas was still full of excitement, he was cold and uncomfortable because he didn’t pack the required woollens, but he kept on showing a brave face to others.

They all started their trek early morning. Just after trekking for two kms, Kamana’s excitement crashed and she felt very disappointed with the cold weather and the tiredness she felt because of the trek. She started blaming the weather, the mountain track and Shraddha for everything. This trip was nothing like she imagined. She could not continue the trek and went back to the hotel. She vowed never to come to Himalayas again. But before she left, she tried to convince Vishwas and Aasha that they should also come back with her and not follow Shraddha. But Vishwas and Aasha were enjoying the trek and they stayed with Shraddha.

Vishwas was cool about the trek, but as they went further along the trek, he started doubting his ability to complete the trek. He caught cold last evening and his body was not as fit and prepared as he had earlier thought. Mid-way he gave up and had to stay in the mid-way camp.

Shraddha and Aasha kept on with the trek. Although Aasha was also tired, even fell a few times during the trek. But, she rose right back and continued with her trek. Along the way, they both enjoyed the Himalayan views that only were accessible from that height.

When Shraddha and Aasha reached the top, it was already dusk. The Sun was about to set. And both of them witnessed the most amazing sunset they had ever seen in their lives. Now, Aasha had increased her faith a little that much more regarding this adventure.

You must have already realised that Shraddha is faith, Vishwas is Confidence, Kamana is Expectation and Aasha is Hope.

Now, “Hope” as per our new definition is a combination of three things:

  • Having some goal in life to pursue,
  • The belief in our ability to achieve it, and
  • Having, or knowing how to get, the knowledge and skills to achieve that goal.

The one who has no goal or purpose is already a hopeless person. But a person who wants to achieve something but doubts his abilities to achieve it, soon becomes a victim of despair and prolonged despair leads to depression. What about a person who wants to achieve something, is confident of his abilities, but lacks the perseverance, knowledge and skills to achieve his goals? Of course, soon he will also fall into despair and depression.

If you look at the world, it is full of depressed people who have lost their hope. Sometime back two famous Bollywood Celebrities – Deepika Padukone and Karan Johar, related their tales of depression.

How many celebrities and commoners in the world commit suicide because they have no hope left!

It may surprise you that India has the highest youth suicide rate in the world. Even here in the Himalayas where we live, we keep on hearing stories of suicide committed by young men. It is too common even when the population here is so scarce vis-a-vis the metropolis.

Why do people get depressed, that too young people?

Because, one, they have no meaningful purpose in their lives; two, they have no confidence in themselves; and three, they lack the perseverance, knowledge and skills to achieve their goals. And a lack of any of these three can lead to depression. And it’s more common than you think.

Even you might be depressed without knowing it. Check, ask yourself? And when you find traces of depression in your psyche, work on it.

Pursue a worthwhile goal, work on your abilities, find a coach (CFEL is already here to help you, join God Yoga) and, increase your knowledge and skills.

Do you have problems in your life?

Financially, professionally, psychologically, sexually, emotionally, etc.?

Lord Jesus Christ said: “If you have FAITH as big as a grain of rice, you can move mountains.”

Now what kind of mountains, is he talking about?

And why would anyone want to move mountains?

Oh, dear! He is not talking about physical mountains here.

By mountains Lord Christ means – problems.

Through a little faith you can move problems of the size of mountains.

Reflect, how you make mountains out of mole hills in your life – in your relationships, profession, business, etc.

On the other hand a man of faith makes mole hills out of the mountains in his life. It’s just so easy and simple for a man of faith.

But for a person full of fears, pride – even simple things become complicated and difficult. Oh la la… if only you would have a little faith!

To hope and faith….

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