Trusting in life is the hardest thing to do. It’s one thing to sit on Facebook, when you’re in the mood for it and get into the flow of all the spiritual comments and reflections, to like and share the quotes and pictures of serene lakes and mountains. But when life seems unfair, when you hate your job, when the money’s running out, when someone you care about is sick or has been hurt, what about then? Still trust life?
It’s not so easy is it? And that’s kind of a problem, because you can only meditate so much, you can only do so many classes and groups and therapies. Sooner or later it comes back to the day job, the relationships, the content of this human experience with its ups and downs, and we all know there’s a fair few downs.
So what do we do? Well the problem started before all this, a long time ago in a mind-set far, far away. The problem starts with choice.
As soon as we use that word we run into difficulties. It appears that choices are made, and it appears that those choices effectively create the circumstances of our life, so it follows that we better be damn careful about the choices we make if we want to avoid our lives becoming a sea of the proverbial.
But how can we make the right choices? We don’t know how things will turn out. A good choice now might lead to a bad result later. In fact we can look back at lots of examples in our own lives where that’s exactly what happened.
Choice. It’s a problem isn’t it? But what if we’re looking at this the wrong way? The whole question of choice rests on there being a separate me that can do the choosing. It doesn’t matter how you twist it or what memes you’ve read, choice implies a chooser.
Except that there is no chooser, is there? If you’ve been following anything about non-duality and awakening at all, you’ll have run across this one. There might be an appearance of a separate me, it might seem that way, but the whole essence of the word nonduality is that there is ‘not two’. No subject. No ‘me’. No chooser.
Now here we have a catch 22 situation. Turns out, if you can let go enough to trust in life, if you’re less engaged worrying about the outcome of how things appear, you’re operating from a position of less self-view. But you need to have a bit less investment in self-view to get there in the first place.
Tricky isn’t it? But ask yourself this: is where you are right now the result of some carefully laid and skilfully executed plan? Have all the best things in your life come about because you worked it all out in advance? Did you ever find yourself going through something tough only to find when it was all over you ended up in a better situation?
The simple fact is we don’t know how things will turn out. We never know. All we can ever do is let the choices that arise come from the place of seeing things as clearly as we can. But really every choice you’ve ever made or ever will make reflects exactly where you are right at that moment.
No choice you’ve ever made was wrong. The all just reflect you – not you as a separate self – you as a dynamic flow of processes and conditioning and senses and thoughts and breath and life and movement. Yes, there’s no separate self in this but there an amazing symphony of happenings, that we can label ‘you’ (as long as we remember it’s never fixed and never separate and therefore kind of not real).
So you can take life as seriously as you like, make every choice after weighty deliberation, but it won’t help. In fact the opposite will happen because that position is one of being more fully enamoured by appearances, by words, by thoughts, by conditioning, by the media, by all sorts of things. It might appear that the smart thing to do is work it all out, and perhaps on a few occasions that can seem to help but usually when it does work it’s because at some subtle level we’ve started to listen a bit more closely to our heart and a bit less closely to the content of thought.
In fact the more we can set aside our head and listen to our heart, the more likely we are to act from a place that recognises no separation; that recognises truth.
That may never turn out better for you materially. The content of your life might never be improved by that. But something else will happen. Your heart will start to open a little bit because you’re starting to use it. And when it does you’ll find joy creeping in. You’ll notice a small glow of warmth, of light deep down inside like the pilot light in a boiler (giving away my age here).
So then when sh…trouble happens, when things go wrong, part of you knows you have acted and will act from the heart; true to the heart. And you can trust that because it doesn’t know, but it doesn’t need to, it is simply never separated and that’s how it speaks.
So when you trust that, it feels right. And even when things appear to be outwardly less than ideal that sense of it not being really wrong doesn’t go away. Yeah, things will still go to poo sometimes but poo happens. This life is impermanent, it’s unpredictable. We don’t know, no one does.
But somehow things get where they’re meant to. It all works out, not as we thought, but that’s okay. Of course there’s still a little voice of ‘me’ that wants to control it all, but that little voice is full of it and always has been. It’s not even worth trying to shut it out, it’s just another piece of this doing what it does. So, we see it and we move on. Not attaching. And little by little we do start to trust life. We start to trust our heart. And wherever you get to, if you take a moment to stop and look and it seems okay, then it’s working. Who knows how. Doesn’t matter.