How Do You Understand Trust?

So what is trust?

Recently I asked friends and acquaintances the question: What would you like to know on the subject of trust?

The answers were numerous, ranging from “What is trust?” to “How do I get more of it?” What was striking, was the genuine relief they all showed as they shared their thoughts. Just to acknowledge the topic of trust made them feel better.

Ignoring it is destroying our lives.

Before reading any further, I would like to ask you to pause, to bring your attention to your heart (it may help to place your left hand upon the centre of your chest) and to ask yourself: How can I trust more? Listen to the answer, absorb the sensation; because trust begins – and ends – with you.

It is useful to understand what trust actually means: It’s a belief in something, perhaps outside of us, which can only be felt within. It is a subjective feeling…of being in relation to the experience – whether that be someone or something. Naturally this can be challenging to our ego as it requires a) the acceptance of the influence of the external (be that a God, society, the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ of all that life entails) and b) the surrender to our thoughts, feelings and self. In short, we have to accept and simultaneously let go.

Trust is a feeling of acceptance – of being comfortable with our decision to let go and be in the moment. Of being good enough. It is not something anyone else can do for us – no-one can ‘give’ or bestow blanket trust. We must claim our trust, and own it. The misnomer is that trust sits ‘outside’ of us, resident ‘within’ the other – that they hold it on our behalf. ‘Trusting another’ so we can feel better or whole – placing the responsibility for our happiness upon another person – is how we give our power away and how we suffocate relationships through expectation. What we must invoke, is the opposite: we must trust our-self so that we can view the external, the world around us, as whole and free. To accept the external as it is, and our-self as we are. To own our choices, no matter the outcome. This is what trust calls us to do.

Naturally when an experience happens to shake or violate our view of the external we are thrown into chaos. Reality is shattered and safety sought. We retreat and heal our wounds, adapting our behaviour around the crime committed. When this happens – as it does to us all, in uniquely personal ways – we need the care, patience and nurture to gently understand our options; because if we blame ourselves, in even the smallest way, we relinquish trust. If we can soothe the inner psyche (including, importantly, the ego) and understand and integrate the personal learning, we restore our ability to trust.

Even when we think we are trusting, there is always more. Each day, life gives us more to unravel, discover and let go into. We reach higher, further, beyond the known. We are called to love more deeply and to cultivate understanding and compassion for others. We see atrocities and we see beauty. We wish greater tolerance and yet desire change. We wish to explore, and we need home. We navigate through all of this and more, and so we will always need increasing levels of trust.

We have more in common with each other than we realise, including a fundamental desire to experience freedom and love…to experience the joy of being alive. The ability to trust – to permit it all to happen – enables the love and freedom we seek. It is a state we enter which gives us the stability and belonging to be the expression of who we are in response to the external world or reality around us. It’s connection.

Trust is Everything

Trust is not just essential, also it is creative, enlivening, exciting. It emboldens and gives enormous power to our thoughts – it creates power, opening doors and completing unfinished dreams. We become able to voice our truth…and to transcend our fears. It is soft, subtle and persuasive. When we have trust our conscience won’t let us sit idly by. We become active. Our heart and soul call us forward. We become the change.

Trust requires the acceptance of what-is. It cannot be experienced in the past or the future – only in the now. Trust is a moment-to-moment intrinsic sense of connection. It is a feeling which grows until we reach the state of trust – the freedom of trusting both our-self and the external: all of it.

Living in the present is itself a challenge, especially when we are experiencing limited trust. (In fact I suggest our general lack of societal trust is a major influence in our individual ability to remain present and centred.) As our past experiences and traumas dissemble trust, we can find ourselves revisiting – and living in – this past. We go about our daily lives re-living what has been: the conversations in our heads, the references we choose from, the beliefs we feel we should uphold – all perpetuating an increasing sense of loss. Equally, we find ourselves thrown into the future, towards a place we dream of but our diminishing levels of trust – masquerading as fear – make increasingly unattainable.

But when we have trust, just as when we drop into the present moment, we have everything: freedom, peace - the ability to create what we love. We can trust ourselves, itself; and this is beautiful. We can trust ourselves to love...and to let go. To be OK with how things are. To see and enjoy the bigger picture.

When we trust, we become life itself. We become awake. We become whole.

Trust is found where the spirit meets the bones of who we are.