Trust is in the news – or rather lack of it. Did anyone ever trust Rupert Murdoch or the News of the World? More tragically, we hear how the young people swimming away from the gunman dressed as a policeman inNorway, asking their rescuers whether they could be trusted. Who or what do we trust? And why is it important?
We live in fearful times and trust is the antidote to fear, that’s why it’s important. As children we have blind faith in other people and that gets knocked out of us as we grow up, but we are hard-wired to trust. We survived as a species because of our ability to work together and trust each other, but who can we trust when everyone seems to have their own agenda?
In September last year, my husband lost his job unexpectedly. My income as a therapist is insufficient to cover our outgoings and we had just spent our meagre savings on some essential house maintenance. Suddenly I was afraid. What if we couldn’t pay the mortgage? What if we couldn’t afford dog food? What if the car broke down? What if? What if? What if?
I spent a sleepless night, looping what ifs and trying to formulate a plan. My default programme is to think myself out of trouble and come up with a plan. Even if it wasn’t a complete solution it would make me feel as though I was making progress and provide the Illusion of Control. The plan eluded me. There was nothing I could do to earn more money. I have been out of corporate work too long to go back and that would seem like a denial of everything I’ve worked through and learned over the past eight years. My mind whirred.
In the hour before dawn I finally realised that this was a real, God sent opportunity to learn trust. It is easy to talk about Trusting the Universe when life is running smoothly and according to plan; a different beast when the rug seems to be suddenly pulled from under your feet. I found peace that morning in accepting that this was not a test, challenge, or punishment, but an opportunity to explore, learn and grow. In that moment of acceptance, my fear vanished and I understood Trust, perhaps for the first time. It was five months before my husband found work again and during that time we made various adjustments, survived financially and continued to enjoy life. It would have been more difficult in every respect if I had remained consumed by fear.
That might have been the end of that chapter, but three weeks ago his new contract was terminated. The same lesson again? More opportunity for growth and learning? What had I learned about fear and trust?
Well, we have even less security than we had before, but I don’t feel afraid at all. Fear lives in the ego, which is always afraid because it doesn’t really exist. But we are not our egos. We are not our bodies, not our emotions, not our thoughts and experiences, not our attitudes or beliefs, or personalities. These are all just aspects of our physical manifestation enabling us to interact with the material world, but making us feel separate and disconnected, feeding the fear.
Over the years I have got to know my Higher Self, the aspect of the unified consciousness of existence that is accessible within each of us. 15 years ago, I would not have been sure of the existence of a Higher Self – it sounded like wishful thinking, a nice idea to make life more bearable. However, as I went through my process of questioning the purpose of life, dealing with my fears surrounding my husband’s illness and learning to meditate out of desperation, something almost magical began to take place. The recognition that there was an aspect of me that could observe my emotions, thoughts, fears, actions, behaviours, attitudes, roles and personality, but was actually none of these things, was fantastically liberating. Suddenly, I had more choice and I didn’t have to respond to life challenges as I had done in the past.
It is through the Higher Self, Atma, or Witness (there are other names) that we access the deep, foundational Trust in existence that dissolves all fear and keeps the ego in check. The more time we are able to spend not thinking, analysing or doing, the better the balance between the Higher self and the ego and the easier life becomes. My Higher Self enables me to feel part of a larger process of life, which is unfolding according to its own intelligence and pattern. I am able to consciously participate in that process through the choices I make and, whilst I have certain responsibilities, I am not in control of the process – and it is far more intelligent, creative and loving than I could ever comprehend. Having become consciously aware of existence in this way, it is impossible not to trust it. We can trust in the process of life because it is always going on to make the best possible version of everything and we are an inextricable part of it. With this trust in place we can trust ourselves, because we have self-knowledge and we can trust others because they are us too.
This does not mean that we no longer have problems or challenges, but when something seemingly negative happens to us, we have choices. There are all the logical, sensible action things to be done – in our case, reduce expenditure and take action to find more work – and there are the emotional and contextual things to consider. Last September, I felt afraid in my little ego but chose to consider myself as part of a bigger process and work through it. There were wobbly moments; it doesn’t feel great to contemplate having to tell friends and family that you can’t afford Christmas presents, but the reality is not so bad. We got invited to Christmas dinner and it felt good to receive generosity without expectation. Being slightly detached from the whole consumer-fest that is Christmas these days was also instructive and meaningful. Looking back, throughout that five-month hiatus we were exposed to many different and unexpected joys and challenges. Whichever way we looked at it, life had moved out of ‘business as usual’ to something a bit more exciting. This time around we are just moving more deeply and easily into the flow and feel more alive.
When we are thrown into the Unknown, the Illusion of Certainty dissolves behind us; we can’t go back there because it doesn’t exist – it never did.. When we confine ourselves to the limited experience of our egos we create the Illusion of Certainty and the Illusion of Control, so that we can convince ourselves that we know what’s going on – that there is no Unknown, life is planned. Sometimes, life plays along with us. We can live for years in which everything seems to be going according to plan. During this time, the ego will create all sorts of new illusions, dramas, experiences and challenges to convince itself of its own existence and keep us from stepping into the Unknown voluntarily.
Right now, many more of us are being thrown into the Unknown. We used to think that the future was predictable, that there were recognisable patterns we could follow; if we studied hard, worked hard and followed the rules we would be OK. Now, it seems as though those rules don’t work anymore, but did they ever? It is much easier to start meditating, connect with your Higher Self and discover Trust, without waiting until your life gets turned upside down and forces you onto another path, but it is never too late. Trust enables us to play in the Unknown without fear.
Yolanda Dolling – About the Author:
I’m here to support people in their awakening and to play a tiny part in raising global consciousness. Everything seems to fall in place behind that purpose. I try to take on what life teaches me and to apply what I’ve learned to the highest purpose – and to have fun doing it!
I work as a kinesiologist, transpersonal psychologist and laser therapist from my home in London, where I live with my husband and two Dobermans.