I was going to write this blog post based on our personal lives and how many of us lose that sense of basic trust we had as children.
Now there is another factor that I believe needs to be addressed. How do we ever begin to trust life again when random acts of violence make us want to curl up and hide or get a gun and be on guard?
Of course, terrorism has been a threat in our psyches (more there than physically in this country) at least since 2011 and truthfully, the cold war left me in constant fear when I was 13. Every day for a whole year I thought about nuclear annihilation. I finally decided that was no way to live and then my father died. I went from the universal to the personal. I think ever since then I’ve been in a state of waiting for the other shoe to drop.
So how do we trust life again after the Las Vegas shootings, after 9/11, after the cold war and now during the current threat? Nothing seems safe. And if you’ve lost loved ones in any of these or from disease or accidents or it being their time, it rocks your world. It feels as though there is no ground to stand on. If you feel this way, it’s because somewhere along the line you lost your basic sense of trust.
One of the Buddhist teachers whose teachings I follow said something like there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that you’re falling without a parachute. The good news…there is no ground.
We’re free falling, always, and that’s okay. That’s what we need to trust. No matter what happens we’re okay. That doesn’t mean we don’t feel the pain of loss or even feel afraid. It means we let ourselves feel it all and still know we’re okay.
Now, I’m certainly not saying the horrible things that happen are okay. It’s not okay that a man decided to take the lives of so many or that politicians hold the threat of nuclear war over us. But if we don’t find our way back to basic trust in life, we’ll never rest and fear and hate will continue to exist through us.
The way we can build this trust is through trusting. That means you’re willing to let go of your security blankets. These can be your beliefs, ideas, another person, anything that makes you feel safe but if weren’t there would make you lose that sense of safety. What you’re attempting to do as you trust life again is to trust yourself and your experience, to know that you have all you need within.
This is a big step and can take a lot of awareness with you still holding on to all those things that you feel bring you a sense of security. That’s fine. I’ve been doing this for a while. I still hold on to my security blankets. It takes time to build lost trust. But this awareness allows you to have a little trust to use as you move through life. As you use it, your trust grows.
Once you are willing to let your false security go you can settle into being. That means you’re willing to be with whatever shows up. You don’t change it, or manipulate it to go the way you want. This is when we sit with our pain and fear and just know it, but we don’t let it control us. Our willingness to just be with it takes some of the edge off.
Once you’ve had some practice with being, you can begin to allow life to unfold. We don’t have to control everything. In fact, when we stop trying to control everything, miracles and magic happen.
None of this is easy, but as I look around it feels like the most important work there is to do. It allows us to be in touch with our hearts and the actions we take from our trust in life and ourselves will be exactly the right thing at the right time. We’ll know what to do. I know many of you want to do something. Do this work first. At least begin it before you take action. It can be the difference between a world filled with fear and hate and one of love that works for everyone.
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Learning to Live