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Trust

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

Excerpts about Trust

Completely Trusting the Truth of true Nature

When we see that awakening is the self-illumination of true nature, this doesn’t mean that we should stop practicing. It doesn’t mean that we get a free pass and can be lazy and simply rely on true nature to do the job. It means that in our practice, what we have faith in is not the mind or the heart or the body but true nature and its truth and love and power. This trust is similar to how the monotheistic traditions talk about faith in God, except here it is not faith in an other. True nature is not something outside of us or other than us. We completely trust the truth of true nature, and we have unwavering faith in its loving and illuminating and
liberating power. The only thing left for us to do in the light of this kind of faith is to stay oriented toward true nature. We continue whatever practice we are doing without believing that we are making any illuminations happen, without believing that our practice or our capacities are what make awakening occur. This is a subtle and controversial point, one that takes a great deal of experience and wisdom to understand. This is why nondoing, which is the core of inquiry, is such an important part of our practice. When we inquire, we are not trying to do something to our experience; we are simply interested in letting it be and understanding it so it can reveal itself as fully as possible. In some sense, we could say that reality, because of its pure heart—its true nature—appears in a dualistic way so that we can practice, so that we can begin to inquire into and investigate who and what we are, whether
we do that individually, dialectically, or in groups.

Experiences of Different Kinds of Trust Feel Different

First, it seems that trust has different levels and different varieties: for instance, trusting yourself, trusting somebody else, trusting a situation, trusting a certain truth, or certain knowledge, or a certain belief. The experiences of these different kinds of trust feel different. When you trust yourself, you don’t feel the same as when you’re trusting somebody else. When you’re trusting yourself, you’re more surrendered to what is happening inside you, to your own promptings, to your own truth. When you’re trusting somebody else, it feels different. When you trust yourself, you don’t have a feeling of surrender—you just do it. When you trust somebody else, there is more sense of surrender, allowing yourself to be vulnerable, allowing yourself to be there without needing defenses. And trusting a situation means you’re feeling somewhat secure in the situation. There is a kind of security and safety
that things will be okay or that what’s supposed to happen is going to happen. Maybe there is a common factor among all these kinds of trust. In trusting yourself, or somebody else, or a situation, isn’t there an implied security? A sense of safety or a sense of no need to protect yourself, a sense that you are in a friendly land, not a hostile one? A sense that you can allow yourself to be whatever you are in that moment without having to be too careful, without feeling paranoid? So, trust has to do with the absence of fear and paranoia. The simplest kind of trust essentially means there’s no need for fear. That wherever you are—with yourself, with somebody else—you’re in good hands.

Many Connections Between Trust and Compassion and Truth

There are many connections between trust and compassion and truth. Compassion can lead to truth. Truth can lead to trust. Truth can also lead to compassion towards yourself and others. Your conditioning may make it easier to experience one quality while blocking another, so that as Essence unfolds, truth may come before or after compassion and trust. The issue of hurt enters when there is work on the truth. The compassion connected to truth is not just the compassion of wanting to help someone alleviate hurt. Compassion, in this case, means having the green center open and trusting the capacity and willingness to experience hurt in order to see the truth. The objective is the truth. Hurt is one of the things you allow yourself to experience because it is needed to be able to see the truth. So when I am compassionate toward you, it is not because I don’t want you to feel hurt. The function of my compassion is to allow you to trust. The trust then allows you to experience your hurt so you can see the truth. Compassion is needed to generate the trust to allow yourself to tolerate the hurt that will help you be and see the truth. The final point is the truth. Only at the most superficial level is compassion for hurt. It is true that compassion relates to hurt, but it is in the service of truth, not in the service of eliminating hurt.

The Arising in Us of Trust and Faith that We can Know, that We can Experience Direct, Unmediated Knowing

So the more we recognize this capacity for direct knowing, the more there arises in us a trust and faith that we can know, that we can experience direct, unmediated knowing. If we don’t know about this kind of knowingness, or if we don’t have faith in it, we tend not to have faith in understanding. We think, “What will understanding do? It will just teach me somebody else’s ideas.” If you don’t know about this knowingness, you say, “Well, I’ll just apply somebody else’s ideas about understanding and I’ll probably get her or his knowledge.” You don’t trust that you can have your own independent knowledge. But the moment you recognize that you inherently possess this capacity of knowingness, you will tend to trust understanding more. You will know that you can be certain through your own experience, not just because somebody said so. Such knowledge is autonomous knowledge, truly our own. We are not using any intermediary. In fact, this is the only way to have autonomous knowledge. We may find such complete autonomy in knowing intolerable. It might frighten us because it makes us feel our aloneness. Immediate knowing in its purity can also be terrifying because we are left without access to our usual ordinary knowledge. The absence of ordinary knowledge erases the foundation of our usual sense of self, for this sense of self is based on mental constructions that use memory traces from the past. In other words, without ordinary knowledge we have no familiar identity. Using only pure basic knowing, the self cannot maintain itself; it has to be surrendered, melted. Hence, the Blue aspect is an especially selfless aspect. It is in some sense the most undefined and formless of all aspects.

Trust in Truth Comes out of Valuing the Truth

This brings us to the third level of trust that I talked about before. Remember I said there were three levels. At the first level, you trust that the person won’t hurt you; at the second level, you trust the person wants your well-being; and at the third level, you have objective trust in the other person. Objective trust has to do with truth. You know that the person is objective or is dedicated to truth. When you have trust in that person, you see that the person is truthful. Because of this trust, you can let yourself feel the hurt, even though you might not see for a while that what’s happening is good for you. You perceive truth. And that’s the deepest kind of trust because what you sense is something about the truth that transcends hurt or no hurt, feeling good or not feeling good. Of course, seeing the truth by itself will not necessarily bring a belief in truth. What will bring the belief is valuing truth. If you see the truth and don’t value it, you will not necessarily feel a sense of openness and trust. So trust in truth comes out of valuing the truth, and this allows the green center to be
open. The green center is the door to Essence which leads to deeper truth, absolute truth.

Trusting Because of What the Person Is

Then there’s another level where you trust, not because you know the person isn’t going to hurt you, not because you know that the person wants what’s good for you, but because of what you know about the person. The person may not be concerned about hurting you or not, or about doing what’s good for you. At this level, you trust because of what the person is. You have the knowledge or the feeling that the person has a kind of integrity, which has nothing to do with you, but you know it is something that is to be trusted. That’s yet a deeper kind of trust. It is not a very common one, but it can exist. It can go very deep, that kind of trust. The knowledge, the integrity, the reality, the truth of a person can be so clear that you continue to trust him even if you feel hurt by him, even if you don’t understand why you’re being hurt. What allows this kind of trust? It involves a perception or a sense of something bigger. You might not see a specific truth about why such a person’s behavior is good for you, but you might see or feel a bigger truth. Either the quality of the person or the nature of the interaction can lead to this kind of trust.

Two Levels of Trust

Let’s look further into what trust is. Let’s say that trust is what gives the security and the safety and the confidence to allow yourself to be open in a situation, allowing whatever is there to happen without resisting it, without having to protect or defend yourself against it. That’s a good operative definition of trust for now. Within this concept of trust, there are two levels. The first level, the superficial one, is the willingness to trust. You feel no conscious resistance. You can say, “Yes, I trust. I don’t want to resist you or the situation.” That is one level. The deeper level is actually doing it—not resisting, even unconsciously. So the superficial level is consciously not wanting to resist, consciously not defending, consciously feeling safe and secure enough to let yourself be open and surrender to the situation. Perhaps that’s all a person can do at a given moment, even though there is still an unconscious distrust. On the deeper level, the person trusts all the way; even the unconscious fears are gone. Then there’s a complete openness, a complete lack of resistance, defensiveness, or protectiveness, a complete lack of fear or paranoia, a complete surrender. Not just willingness to surrender, but really surrendering. On the first level, there might be a willingness to surrender, but not the capacity to surrender. On the deeper level, there is the capacity to surrender, to be there, to yield to the situation. Does this make sense so far?

When You are Trying to Make Something Happen, You are not Trusting the Natural Order

As we have seen, when you are trying to make something happen, you are not trusting the natural order; you don’t trust that essence itself will manifest in the way it is needed. The first point of departure from this trust is always a rejection of the now. To apply the perspective of basic trust, of true will, you must have the complete confidence that staying completely with what you are experiencing in this moment, will result in what needs to happen, without your
having to think about a certain outcome. When the confidence is there, your awareness of exactly what is happening in you will allow you to see that your organism will do the best it can in the situation. Your mind, however, doesn’t allow that complete presence in the now; it thinks it knows what is best for you, but of course it knows only what has happened in the past, and can lead you only in ways conditioned by your history. Because you don’t know that you have an innate intelligence that knows what needs to be done, you don’t allow it to operate. You are always trying to direct it this or that way; and this is what we usually call “will.” But when we are directing and controlling ourselves, we are stopping our spontaneity. We are not able to trust, and thus are blocking our true will.

When You Have Compassion for Yourself You Begin to Trust Yourself

It’s interesting too that compassion goes along with trust. Trust and compassion are almost the same. A lot of the time we don’t trust the truth, but the truth is the best thing for us. When we don’t trust the truth, we don’t have compassion for ourselves. Dedicating ourselves to seeing this truth and living according to it means going all the way. All the way to the knowledge that truth is truth, regardless of your situation, regardless of whether you like it or not. The fact that it scares you won’t make it false. What is, is. Who we are, the way reality is, that’s just the way it is. If you are compassionate toward yourself, you will let yourself see that truth. The Work and life itself are a matter of seeing the truth, knowing the truth, and being the truth. There is something about the life of truth, the life of Essence, the meaningfulness of it, the significance of it, the depth of it, the subtle, intrinsic joy and satisfaction of it that when you experience it, you don’t want anything else. You are willing to see through anything to have the truth. It is closer to who you are than anything else. We usually want to hold on to our beliefs and conceptions of ourselves, thinking that if we let them go, we will lose something we cannot live without. But when you have compassion for yourself, you begin to trust yourself. And you begin to see that it is the truth that saves you, finally.

You Don’t Need to Trust Other People as Much as You Need to Trust Yourself

What ultimately needs to happen is for each of us to develop faith in ourselves, which means having faith in human nature. When we have that, we can’t help but have faith in all human beings. This does not mean blind trust. It means that you know for sure that every human being has an essential nature, even though it might be buried and a person might be acting out of ignorance or cynicism. It means that you give the other person a chance, that you allow the possibility that she can be kind and selfless, even though she doesn’t always act that way. It means that you know that such a quality exists in her and in you. The real battle is not with other people but within yourself. You don’t need to trust other people as much as you need to trust yourself. The meaning of faith is the certainty that your innate nature is good and supportive—it does not imply trusting other people or even trusting yourself all the time. It means that you know that there is a quality within yourself that is fundamentally trustworthy. That faith will help you persevere in the Work so as to make that quality more available and more permanent.

Facets of Unity, pg. 245

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