“You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment unless you trust enough.” ~Frank Crane
I am not very good at this whole issue of trust. I tend to either way trust too much or not at all, but I seldom manage to find a sensible middle ground. I would normally say that if I had to choose one extreme or the other as being safer, it would be much more prudent to trust less rather than more. And, in general, that’s what I do after having been burned so many times for trusting too much.
However, Oriah Mountain Dreamer recently had the following to say in her post titled The Unpredictable regarding the unexpected ending of her marriage this past year that has me reconsidering my stance.
“And, the truth is, I’m glad to discover I hadn’t anticipated it. I was there fully until I left. Despite past difficulties, I hadn’t been scouring the horizon for trouble, waiting for disaster. Did this mean I felt blind-sided when the end came? Absolutely. But that’s okay, because the alternative—living in a state of hyper-vigilance, anticipating and looking for what can go badly—can suck the joy out of the moments we do have.” ~Oriah Mountain Dreamer
“I was fully there until I left.” I love that line! And I know exactly what she means by this. I spend so much time looking over my shoulder, fearing the worst, always assessing the risk, that I am seldom able to fully be where I am. I am intrigued and encouraged by the fact that even having been through the pain of being blindsided, she still finds that to be a better alternative than having protected herself.
Even though Oriah never mentions trust in her account, it seems to me that this boils down to the same thing at its root. Trusting another person, a relationship, a situation allows me to be fully there, until perhaps I’m not, if I find that my trust was misplaced. But if I refuse to ever trust at all or I don’t trust enough, I will live in the torment of never being fully present with my life or the people in it.
This is not easy for me. It is incredibly challenging with the people and situations I can see and touch and physically experience in my life; it is an even larger leap for me to try to trust a Universe or the Divine that I cannot directly see or touch.
While I was struggling with this concept, I came across the following in a Facebook note titled Life, Only Sideways by Robin Rice:
“We accept the Great Mystery on the Great Mystery’s terms, which is to say, we agree that there are none. We stop trying to draw a line in the sand, and instead agree to stand without even a foundation under our feet. We drop the desire for “ten steps to more money, love and every other bliss” and ask for total freedom right here, right now. We ask not to heal this pain and that, but for a quantum healing–a healing from the illusion that we have ever gained or lost anything.” ~Robin Rice
In her note, she is talking about those moments when life suddenly turns on its side and pours us out. Those times when we are no longer what we were but are still waiting to see what we will become. Her words above about agreeing to stand without any foundation under our feet nearly took my breath away when I first read it. Oh, the terror of having nothing to stand on!
And suddenly I realized that it’s all about standing on trust anyway—trust that the Great Mystery has things under control even when I look down and see nothing under my feet. My refusal to trust is not going to change the truth of this lack of foundation under me; it is just going to make me unable to be open to receiving the kind of total freedom and quantum healing that she talks about.
It is only through trust that I gain the healing to realize that all perceptions of having gained or lost anything is only an illusion. An illusion that I can let go of when I am ready.
It is only through trust that I realize that I already have total freedom exactly where I am.
As Martha Beck says in The Joy Diet: 10 Daily Practices for a Happier Life, “You will never be hurt as much by being open, as you have been by being closed.” Maybe it’s time to let pain be the encouragement to open to trust rather than a signal to shut down.
It dawns on me that perhaps it is only through learning to have radical trust in the Great Mystery, the Divine, the Universe that I will learn to trust enough in mere humans and humanly created situations. Maybe the way to genuine trust is not by learning to trust the things I can see and touch first but rather by taking the leap into trusting that which is greater first and letting that trust carry me into the rest.