Theme of the Month: Trusting Ourselves
by Kevin Sahaj
At the end of the year, we asked our students to share their intentions, questions, and needs for the upcoming year with us. Out of these intentions, we shaped 12 themes to guide our community throughout 2021. We invite you to join our online Monthly Satsang and online Ayurveda Sangha for more inspiration, connection, and spiritual direction.
“Everything is as it should be”
Have you ever felt that life is against you? That painful things are happening to you, and they came from out of the blue without you asking? That your mind is troubled and there seems to be no way out, or that there is a cloud around you and everything feels untrustworthy and insecure?
Have you also ever felt that life is unfolding perfectly and there seems to be a flow that you can trust? That you can let go and feel that life is good and you are in the right place? Then this feeling eventually passes and another painful state arises in our minds, or our circumstances change and nothing is going according to plan again.
Everyone has this experience and we all would like to feel that we are in the flow and that we can trust life. So we must ask ourselves these questions: “How can I trust life totally? How can I relax and trust that everything is at it should be? What is preventing me from that trust?”
Trust doesn’t mean being comfortable and secure
First of all, we have to look at what trust is. If we think that trust means that everything in life will go according to plan based on our personal likes and dislikes, then we are bound to not feel trust. When life doesn’t go according to our plans, we lose our trust.
The first thing we should realise is that trust is not the same thing as security and comfort. In this sense, the word security means that we are safe from any problems and we will not have to face any challenges in our lives. This type of security is bound to fail as life is always presenting challenges and difficulties. In fact, the more we seek security the more fearful we become.
Everyone is desperately striving for security in so many ways; security in love, financial security, security of our health, but we cannot capture life so easily and put it into a secure box. The modern person is constantly trying to make their lives more comfortable, only to find more discomfort!
The only real secure box is a coffin when you are dead, and even that isn’t so secure as eventually, your body dissolves back into the earth and nothing remains! So to be alive means to face insecurity and change. If we are alive, then we are always facing the unknown. Can we face the unknown and uncomfortable and still rest in trust?
Best plan… No plan.
- Balinese saying
The wisdom of insecurity is a different kind of trust.
The wisdom of insecurity means that we are standing in trust as life unfolds moment by moment, even though we cannot predict the outcome. This kind of trust does not usually come by itself, it is cultivated by practice and experience. According to yoga teachings our mind is the source of trust or lack of trust. External circumstances are independent of the state of mind called trusting. But this requires practice and insight into our experiences, so we start feeling confidence in ourselves, a deep abiding in our centre, and an ability to be with things as they are with the relaxation of knowing all will be good. This is actually the real purpose and function of yoga; to be with things as they are in deep communion and trust.
But because we are animals with a brain of enormous capacity to predict the future based on the past, then our mind in its usual survival habit will keep trying to make our lives secure. That is the mind's job and he does it very well!
But when the mind takes over and we are constantly worrying about the future or constantly forming new strategies to organise our lives according to plan, then this is not a joyful state of mind. So according to yoga, we can work with our mind and verify this internal trust with our own experience, so our actions in the external world are not constructed from fear but from deep connection and trust. When we have this kind of mind, even difficulties are seen as valuable experiences, not hostile forces that we need to protect ourselves from.
Trust in Allah, but tie your camel to a post!
- Sufi proverb
Trusting isn’t a passive affair, like waiting around for God to give you what you want. Nor are we to fall into the opposite extreme of thinking we are the master of the universe, and through clever strategies, we will somehow bend the universe to our desires, We need to participate in life, fearlessly and with our totality, but also learn how to let go and just be with things as they are. If we look deep inside we can see that we have a fundamental kind of laziness. Even if we are really busy with making our lives as comfortable as possible, we are very lazy with the deeper aspects of our mind. And our mind is the source of trust from which all our actions manifest.
Practice: How to cultivate trust
Because trust is an internal thing, we are able to cultivate it. In Buddhist practice, we use the Mindfulness of the breath and our experience to cultivate trust.
First, we can just slow down and watch our breath. Just feel your lower belly rising and falling with each inhale and exhale. Moment by moment, the breath is flowing, and we can let go and trust the breath. The inhale comes, changes into the exhale and the inhale comes again. We can trust this flow as we watch it with our minds.
Breath comes from life, and to trust the breath means you can trust life. This practice seems very simple, and it is. When something is complicated, you know it came from the conceptual mind. When we learn to trust the breath, we can check our experience after a time of mindful breathing. Do we feel more relaxed and is our mind more spacious? Has a subtle trust entered your mind? These are the fruits of mindful breathing. Through this recognition, we start to have confidence in our ability to just be. Each moment has more possibilities and if we need to take action we simply respond in a relaxed way to the circumstance.
What happens when doubt arises?
Sometimes doubt can enter the mind, even when we practice yoga, meditation, and connecting deeply with the breath. We should not see doubt as an obstacle, that somehow we have failed in our practice or that our practice isn’t working and we need to shop around some more for another, better practice.
Doubt can bring us into a deeper understanding of trust. We can see doubt as a mirror that is showing us the door we need to walk through. Of course, this door leads to the unknown, and the unknown is where the mystery is, it is where the bliss is, and it is where we are truly alive. So trusting includes doubt, trusting includes everything, trusting is abiding in the moment and resting in the totality of the NOW. Past and future are constructs of the mind, the NOW is always fresh and its very nature is trust, love, and clarity.
“Why would you build a road to Rome covered in leather when you can wear sandals?”
- Jesus of Nazareth
Trust in yourself and all will be well!
Theme of the Month Special Classes
In addition to the Theme of the Month article, we are also bringing the theme into our Monthly Satsang for Delight Sangha Special Class guided by Satya & Sahaj and our Monthly Ayurveda for Delight Sangha Special Class Guided by Victoria Raven Hyndman. A spiritual community (Sangha) is very important to feel connected and supported, particularly when we are going through more challenging times, individually and collectively.
Coming up this month:
Thursday 6 May 16:00 - 17:30 Ayurveda for Delight Sangha
Sunday 16 May 11:00 - 12:30 Satsang for Delight Sangha
Kevin Sahaj is a dedicated yoga practitioner who has been studying and practicing yoga for 30 years. His approach to teaching is eclectic and draws from many different methods and teachings to help students align their lives towards awakening.