I have before spoken on popular notions and one notion that has attracted my interest lately is the notion that “trust must be earned” and that furthermore, as a result of the biblical “original sin”, we, as humans, are not born with the quality of trustworthiness. While all of this sounds reasonable, trust is not an issue of reason, it is an issue of emotion. In fact, the fundamental defining moments for trust in a child’s life happens well before a child reaches the age of reason, considered by child development specialists as around the age of seven.
So, if trust can’t be earned, then how does trust happen? If there is nothing that I can have or do that will gain the trust of another or if there is no particular way of behaving that can earn for me that trust in another, then where does trust come from in the first place? How can this be? Think about this a moment with me. Is there a person you so profoundly trust that nothing they could do would betray your trust? Or, is there a person who, no matter what they do, even though you just can’t put a finger on it, you just aren’t willing to trust that person? I believe that if you look long and hard enough, I trust you will find examples of both.
From where then, does trust originate? When I was born into this world I was living in the realm of trust even though I was too young to be able to know trust as a concept but rather I might have instinctively known it as unconditional benevolence. If I cried, for whatever need to be fulfilled, as I was yet to be able to understand about when and how my need would be fulfilled for I knew not even the concept of time, I would cry until my need was fulfilled or until I fell asleep in exhaustion, in which case, my need for the moment was fulfilled. This reciprocol behavior/response was wired into my growing brain as a survival mechanism. In a sense, if I could conceptualize this experience as an infant, would I not call it trust? And if I can know this unconditional benevolence on some level as a child, and since I survived into self-knowing and into reason, is trust not my birthright?
Just as the bibilical Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of gruel, at what point did I sell my birthright of trust for survival? It probably began somewhere in my second or third year when I realized that the source of my unconditional benevolence, my mother, no longer could or would provide for me unconditionally and that now I had to work for my needs, therefore, I had to earn this benevolence, this trust. Instead of having this trust be a part of who I was, I forgot it in the lesson learned in the stirrings of my sentience, my self-knowing, that with this self-knowing came also the sense of who I am as a being separate from everything else. Trust was no longer who I am but something outside of myself that I would get or not, conditionally, as it were.
With all that I have said, I can begin to get to the point of all this by saying that trust is part of who I am as it is a part of who we all are. It has been wired into our brains since childhood and yet, as we move out of our childish innocence into our reason, we forget that because we have survived thus far, that we have been able to do so only by none other than the benevolence of the universe, unconditional and all inclusive, unwavering and loyal, to put it into human terms. This unconditional benevolence, or trust, has molded me into who I am as an ego as it also exists within me as the cornerstone of who I am as being. Herein lies the Shadow of Trust. It is in this unconscious belief in a non-benevolent universe on which most of us hang our belief in our survival. It fosters fear of any future event where we have an attachment to a specific outcome, an outcome that favors our belief that if it turns out a particular way, our survival is assured, just as if it doesn’t turn out a particular way that our survival is in serious question.
How do I get out of the trap, the trap of trust equals survival? As I have postulated in previous posts, I turn trust into a mirror of who I am rather than as someone or something that must somehow prove itself to me as being trustworthy. I turn this mirror back on myself and as I do that, I look in the mirror and tell myself that I trust the person or thing, despite my incessant mental chatter that is telling me otherwise. I turn my distrust, inspired by all the reasonable assessments that I have devised for myself and fed by my made up need for anger and revenge, into love and well-being for all involved. I thus turn my problem into the solution, and as I already know for myself, I can’t find a solution with the same level of consciousness that saw the situation as a problem. If I go to bed with a problem, I can know in my awakening to the new day that I have survived yet another day and night, and in that process, I can also remember that whatever the problem was the night before, that my consciousness is one day closer to the solution and that I can let it go and let it be, in the meantime.
The very best use of life
...is to transform to the awakened state. Next best is to develop qualities. Next best and skillful use of life is gaining deep connection to capable mentor who promises to hold you and care for you even after your passing. The least useful is to say you are a Christian or a Buddhist and expect that to save you!