Falling into basic trust
Spirit said to Mind, “I keep giving you inspiration and ideas of things to try. Books to write. Businesses to launch. Products to develop. People to serve. Why haven’t you acted on any of them?”
Mind said, “I’m afraid of going out on a limb and taking risks. I worry that things won’t work out, that I’ll fail, and that I won’t be able to handle the consequences of failure.”
“Ah, said Spirit, “you haven’t yet learned basic trust.”
“Basic trust? What do you mean by that?” asked Mind.
“Basic trust is the deep, innate knowing that life is fundamentally benevolent — that everything that happens is for your ultimate benefit. It is faith in action. It is leaping with complete trust that a net will appear — and if a net doesn’t appear, it is for your own good.
“Meditation teacher Phillip Moffitt put it this way:
‘Innate trust is based on the understanding that if you live mindfully moment to moment and have the intention to act according to your values even in difficult or confusing situations, your life will unfold in the most harmonious manner possible…You surrender measuring your life by future outcomes, concentrating instead on how well you are able to be present in this moment.’
“Basic trust is a complete surrendering to life as it is, letting go of fear and anxiety, tuning into your essential nature, and acting without effort.
“The irony is that you haven’t tried any of my ideas because you think all of them will be too hard. Yet that very thought is precisely what has made you work so hard your entire life.
“Your problem isn’t that you’re unwilling to do hard things. On the contrary, your problem is that you work too hard and strive too much. Everything you do is effort because you’re unwilling to surrender your delusions and attachments — your fear of what might happen and your attachment to what you want to happen.”
Mind stiffened defensively. “What’s wrong with working and striving? Anything worth accomplishing requires effort.”
“‘Take no thought for your life,’ Spirit quoted, “‘what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink…Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them…Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? …Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.’
“What do you think Christ meant by that?”
“I dunno,” Mind shrugged. “Sounds like a bunch of mystical mumbo-jumbo to me.”
“Nature works but it doesn’t work,” Spirit patiently explained. “A flower doesn’t try or strive to be a flower — it just is a flower. Basic trust is tuning into your inner nature and, like a flower, simply being who you are versus trying to be something.
“When you are in attached striving mode, you are fighting against your nature. You are not trusting in the universe to supply everything you need. You play all kinds of manipulation games to get what you want because you’re so desperately afraid that you won’t be taken care of.”
“You call it fear,” Mind protested, “but I call it responsibility. Without working hard I would be an apathetic loser, a couch potato, a leech living off the efforts of other people.”
“Is that really who you are underneath all your egoic striving?” Spirit asked gently.
“I don’t know,” Mind conceded.
“Exactly,” Spirit laughed. “But trust me — I do know who you really are, and it’s not that.”
Mind thought for a moment, trying to find the loopholes, as usual. “Okay, you say that when I live from basic trust my life is effortless. So does that mean that every time I encounter opposition, I’m off track?”
“Good question,” Spirit said. “Basic trust doesn’t mean you won’t encounter obstacles when you’re on the right path. It isn’t about the obstacles themselves — it’s about your attitude towards them.
“Basic trust says, Whatever happens is for a benevolent reason.’ It is understanding that obstacles get placed in your path for a reason, and that reason is to help you in some way.
“When a flower root encounters a rock, it doesn’t say, ‘I’m off path.’ It simply grows around the rock — and it does so without trying or striving.
“If you’re trying too hard, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re off path. It could mean exactly that: you’re trying too hard.
“When you feel like you’re trying too hard it’s usually because your attitude isn’t right in relation to your obstacles. You’re frustrated by them. You’re feeling entitled to a path with no obstacles. That’s not basic trust.
“Dealing with obstacles doesn’t have to mean hard work and effort and striving. You can deal with obstacles with a cheerful, effortless attitude.”
For the first time in a long time, Mind was completely silent.
“Okay. I think I get it,” he finally said. “So how do I actually do it?”
Spirit smiled and said, “Leave that to me.”