False Hopes. V1

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Explanation of this Guided Experience

The purpose of this experience is to resolve problems related to the future by making our projects clear and leaving aside those kinds of images that prevent a clear and sober appraisal of reality.

Guided Experience

I have arrived outside the office of the doctor who was recommended to me, and I see a small plaque that warns: “You who enter here, abandon all hope.”

When I ring the bell, the door opens and a nurse shows me into the waiting room. She points to a chair and I take a seat as she sits down facing me behind her desk. Picking up a form, she inserts it in her typewriter and asks, “Name?” I answer her. “Age? Profession? Marital status? Blood type?”

The nurse continues filling in the form with my family’s medical history.

Then I answer her questions about my own medical history. (*)

I describe for her all the accidents I’ve had since my childhood. (*)

With a piercing stare, the nurse slowly inquires, “What is your criminal record?” I answer her with a certain uneasiness.

Then she asks, “What are your hopes and dreams?” Abruptly I stop my obedient answers to her questions and demand an explanation. Unperturbed, and staring at me coldly as if I were an insect, she replies, “Hopes and dreams are merely hopes and dreams! So you’d better start telling me yours, and be quick about it, because I have to go meet my boyfriend.”

Rising out of my chair, with one swipe I rip the form from her typewriter. Tearing it to pieces, I throw it in the wastebasket. Then I turn and cross the room to the door through which I entered, but now it won’t open. Exasperated, I yell at the nurse to open it, and when she doesn’t answer I turn and see that the room—is empty!

Striding to the other door, which leads to the examination room, I feel sure the doctor will be there and I’ll tell him all of my complaints. “This must be how that wonderful nurse escaped,” I mutter as I open the door—and manage to stop myself just short of a wall. “A door with a wall behind it, what a great idea!” I exclaim. Then I rush back to the first door. This time it opens, but again I run into a wall that blocks my way. I realize that I’m trapped.

Over a loudspeaker I hear the doctor’s voice say, “Tell me about your hopes and dreams.” Regaining my composure, I testily reply that we’re all adults here, and obviously my greatest hope is simply to get out of this ridiculous predicament. But he says, “The plaque on the wall at the entrance warned anyone who entered here to abandon all hope.”

The situation now seems to be some kind of grotesque joke, so I sit down to see how it will turn out.

“Let’s begin again,” says the voice. “Remember how your childhood was filled with hopes and dreams. As time passed, however, you realized that many of them were never going come true. So you abandoned those beautiful projects. Remember? (*)

“Later on,” the voice continues, “other hopes and dreams followed, and again you had to resign yourself to the fact that many of your desires would not come true. Remember? (*)

“Even at this very moment, you have certain hopes and dreams. I don’t mean your hope of escaping this confinement, for the illusion we’ve staged here is already over. I’m speaking of something else. I am speaking about your hopes and dreams for the future. (*)

“Which of your hopes do you secretly know will never come true? Go ahead, think this over honestly. (*)

“Without hopes and dreams, we cannot live. But once we know that certain hopes are false, we can’t hold on to them forever, because sooner or later they’ll end in crisis and failure. If you can search deep within yourself and find the hopes you realize will never come true, and if you make the effort to abandon these hopes here forever, you will gain a greater sense of reality.

“So let’s return to our task. Seek out among your fondest hopes and dreams those you sense will never come true. But don’t be confused, for there are many things that do seem possible! Do not focus on these—choose only those hopes and dreams that will never be realized. Go ahead now, search out your false hopes. Be completely honest with yourself, even if it’s a bit painful. (*)

“Resolve that when you leave this room, you will leave your false hopes behind forever. (*)

“And now, let’s finish this task. Let’s study those other important hopes—the hopes and dreams you do consider possible. I’ll give you some help: Guide your life only by what you believe is possible, or what you genuinely feel will come true. And it doesn’t matter if later on some of these things don’t work out, because they have, after all, given direction to your actions. (*)

“And so, we have finished. You can leave now by the way you came in, and be quick about it, because I have to go meet my secretary.”

I get up. Walking the few steps to the door, I open it and leave the doctor’s office. Looking at the plaque near the entrance, I see that it now reads, “You who leave, abandon here all false hopes.”


In daily life notice how much confusion is produced and how much time is wasted because of false hopes. Check whether this Guided Experience (or later repetitions of it) has modified your way of approaching and focusing on your projects.

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