God is Good and Loving. Then, if we also realize that God's attributes include Intelligence and Power, we can begin to trust more in the Power of Good. We can trust more in the Love, the Goodness, and Givingness of God. This becomes a true foundation for faith, and this faith changes how one feels and thinks in life.
This faith is quite a big step, for it goes beyond both fear and doubt of God. The average person lives in either fear, doubt, resentment, or some other negative state. But just imagine if one could live in complete trust in the good mercy of God; in other words, live in a positive attitude of trust, rather than a negative attitude of doubt or fear. One would be trusting that the greatest power of the universe, God, Who is also loving and intelligent, is actually on our side and always available to help, guide or heal us. Or that God is so very close to us and caring about us so very personally, rather than some distant Being or some abstract Entity.
Many people have a faith in the caring quality of Jesus Christ, or Mother Mary, or some ascended Master or Saint; whereby this powerfully loving being is caring for one personally. This is a good faith and a true faith. Yet one can also realize that God the Almighty, of Whom all others live within, is just as close to us and just as caring for us personally. This is the greatest faith of all. And it is true, as long as we have the faith. For with the faith the door of Mercy is open, but without the faith it is closed. With faith, God is caring for us directly, and bringing us goodness and healing. God is also caring for us so very personally that She/He is always bringing us back to Her, which is spiritual healing.
Our life and our future actually changes when we trust in the love and guidance of the Divine Power. Trust and Faith in God opens the door to God. Trust and Faith opens the door to Love and Guidance. The Divine Path then opens, and divine opportunities open up for us.
Our future is not set in stone. Nothing is absolutely predestined. The future is open, so how things will unfold depends on our present state of being and what we do. Trust is one part of this contingency. If we have trust in the Divine Power, then Divine Guidance will be revealed and divine opportunities will open up, and the divine powers of love and healing will flow. If we do not trust and are closed minded to this, then the Divine Flow is blocked and cannot work through our life. This is a principle of Divine Law. If a channel is not open, then water will not flow.
The Divine Power and Goodness needs an opening, and trust provides this opening. Without trust, the Divine Flow of Love and Guidance gets stuck. So in an atmosphere of non-trust, the future will be different from that which is possible when there is trust. When there is trust in the Divine Power – then the Love, the Guidance, the Goodness flows freely into us and around us. But without the opening of trust, we are trapped in separation and skepticism, and then the Divine Goodness cannot flow freely. So one of the essential spiritual practices has to be trust and faith in the Divine Power of Love and Goodness. And we also need to allow it to unfold.
Realize that God is already here. God is already close, already present, and already bringing goodness into our life. This could be called the immediacy of faith, experiencing the Presence of God and the Goodness of God right here and right now.
Yet this does not mean that everything here in the world is good. The Power of God's loving grace is everpresently bringing goodness into life, if there is sufficient faith and openness to this. But we are not meaning that God's Goodness is already complete or already prefect in life. Goodness is entering, if there is an opening, and healing is in process, but its not already completed. By analogy, I might be bringing water into a thirsty village, but this is a process and thus, many people will still be in need.
The experience of God, or in sufi terms the remembrance of God, is a celebration. It is a celebration of Love and Goodness that is already here, already present. God is already here and already happening in us. Yet this is actual for us only when we have experience in it.
Closeness with God and with Divine Presence depends on us. It's not really contingent on God, since God is always present and always here for us. But the experience with God and the possible closeness with God depends on oneself.
We could truly say that God is everpresent, but perhaps not everpresent in experience for each of us. So in absolute reality, God is everpresent and always here. Yet in the relative reality of each person's experience, God might not be present at all, neither in their experience nor in their lives. It is this difference between absolute truth and relative truth, that theology and philosophy gets confused.
In relation with God, trust is complemented and balanced by asking. This is to make a spiritual connection with the Divine and open a pathway for God to help us. We don’t have to tell God how to help us or how to guide us. This would be like a student telling the teacher what they should teach or how they should teach. It would be like a patient telling the doctor or healer what should be done. So we are not asking or telling Love/Wisdom what to best to do. Yet we are asking for the help, the healing and the guidance. This opens up our connection with the Divine Love/Wisdom, with our compassionate God. We need to have an open and clear pathway for divine help, but if we ambiguous about wishing to be helped, then we could be blocking the pathway by our own free will. So we must ask God to help us and guide us. Thus, asking goes along with trusting. And the trusting is not really enough, without also the asking.
IF it was only about trust, then one might make the mistake of trusting that everything happens just perfectly, without any need for people’s spiritual connection and self responsibility. Just trusting, without any asking or without any self responsibility, would probably lead to mere passivity. Or it might lead to a conclusion that every response one makes to anything must be the right response – [in this mode of just trusting]. In other words, we might then fall into an attitude of passivity – in just trusting that everything is always happening rightly, no matter what anyway. Or, we might fall into an attitude of trusting that everything we do and everything anyone else does, as a response or action, must therefore be just right and good, no matter what that response was.
This reductionist kind of trusting might also lead to a lack of discernment between what is better or worse; since one might be holding a trusting belief that everything is already really good – and therefore any distinction between better or worse is dismissed as mere ‘appearance’. In other words, discernment (good judgment) is either devalued or dismissed in this misleading meaning of trust – in this false belief that the enlightened spiritual perspective is that whatever happens or has happened must have been good (since it happened).
Yet what value does discernment have, if there is no reality of better or worse? And how could there be a ‘better or worse’, if everything is presupposed (or trusted) as perfectly good? In our world, this is just as naïve as trusting that all sales-people are selling perfectly good stuff.
Yet if we balance trust with discernment, the view looks different from the ‘its all good’ attitude. For then, we can trust in a larger process of divine unfoldment, which includes ups and downs, and includes temporary mistakes or wrong turns, and also trust that God can help us in this very moment if we open up the spiritual connection by being receptive to the divine and asking for God’s help. All of this is possible while maintaining discernment between better or worse, right and wrong, justice and injustice. So, trust needs to be balanced with discernment and a mode of asking or prayer – which opens the spiritual connection. Thus, ask and trust.
Trust in the world has to be understood in conjunction with trust in God. If we realize that God’s Intelligence and Goodness is unfolding in the world, but this unfoldment is not yet complete; then we can understand that what happens in the world and by other people is not always completely intelligent, loving and good. Hopefully the world is on a good course towards greater intelligence and goodness, but we cannot merely assume that everything is going in the right direction, since occasional wrong directions are part of everyone's learning process. Thus, trust does not simply mean to accept that everything happening is perfectly good and right. Rather, we are trusting in the overall process and also trusting that the Divine Wisdom is always present to help us and the world.
Also, we are realizing that an attitude of trust opens up the spiritual channel for the Divine Intelligence and Love to enter into our world. Trust opens that channel and possibility, while pessimism and doubt closes it down. Nonetheless though, trust needs to be balanced by discernment (between what is better or worse) and an understanding of the better direction to take.
Trusting people and things of the world is a good attitude in some ways, but it could also be a naïve attitude. Positively, we can practice a more loving and trusting attitude towards others, and because of this attitude the people we meet will respond more positively to us and more likely they will reflect back to us the love and trust we first gave them. This can be called a movement towards trust with others.
We can practice a movement towards trust with others, but we need to acknowledge that some people might not be ready for our complete trust. For to think that everyone can be completely trusted is rather naïve. In a world full of perfectly loving and spiritual people, this trust would be warranted, but we live in a world with many imperfectly loving people. So without some discernment concerning their actions, we could become naïve in our trust.
There are many sales-people in this world – many more than actually call themselves sales-people. Many are trying to sell us stuff, some of which is good, but some is not. So there are all these sales-people trying to sell us their stuff, their products and their beliefs. And yet so many of these folks are trying to manipulate us. They are trying to make us trust them. Getting people to trust is what makes a good sales-person and a good politician. But should we trust all sales-people, all advertising, all politicians, all propaganda, or all authorities? The answer is obvious. Nonetheless, we can practice moving towards a greater trust in regards to others, as long as discernment is also present, and as long as we are searching for real truth, rather than just accept whatever we hear as being truth.
Trust is one of the more important themes in a spiritual life. If we can truly trust, really trust in this moment, our tensions melt away and we naturally relax very profoundly. Just meditate on this for a few minutes. Just try this. Trust in this moment and in how time is unfolding right now. Trust that everything is just fine in this moment. God is here in this moment and in each moment. And you are loved. God loves you right now. Trust in this. For this is a beautiful and deeply profound meditation, a deeply profound experience.
Just breathe in the inner quietude of the moment and trust. And you will feel a dropping away of heaviness and a melting of tension. You will then notice the heaviness, the walls, and the tensions you normally have, even when they are not noticed. We don’t usually notice these tensions, but they are nonetheless present. Yet when we trust, we can notice them as they melt away.
So trust has a very profound effect. But it’s not just affecting the body and energy field; it’s also affecting other levels of our being. Trust also affects how the world responds to us. Remember that the world responds to our attitudes and actions, just as we have responses to what happens in our world. And if the world responds to us, then we have some power in how that might happen according to how we are in the world. There is much that could be suggested in regards to this law of life, but for now let us just consider the effects of trust.
Trust is profoundly important in our relation with the Divine Love and Intelligence. Trust opens up the channel for Divine Love and Intelligence to enter us, to guide us, to transform us, and also to transform how the world unfolds around us. So trust is a significant quality of being, which opens up greater possibilities for the Divine to enter into us and also affects how the world relates to us.
Thus, trust in God, in Allah, or whatever name is given to the greatest and highest Divinity of Love and Wisdom and Merciful Power. The mystical Sufis make this into an actual practice by repeatedly and rhythmically chanting Allah, with a deeply sincere feeling of trust and a complete surrender of oneself into that trust, which is deeply transforming and also opens up the spiritual channel for God to emerge into conscious realization.
Yet trust cannot be the only practice. If one’s whole spiritual path were only about trust, then one might become simply complacent and passive in life and in relation to the world. This is a subtle and difficult topic to explain, because a complete trust is suggested by the great mystics, saints, and masters. But the greatest mystics, saints and masters are not merely passive in relation to the world. They exhibit other qualities as well, which complement and balance this complete trust.
For one, they take on full responsibility for themselves, their thoughts, emotions and actions. And thus, they are not simply passive in relation to their own energies. They don’t simply say that everything anyone ever thinks or does is divinely inspired. They hold a complete trust in God, yet they have already mastered the often chaotic and compulsive forces of the personal mind, emotion and body. So it is true that the Sufi initiates and masters exhibit a great trust in their lives, but remember that before this, or concurrent with this, they worked very hard at mastering their mind and eliminating their lower compulsive habits. For if they did not master themselves, then trust might just be a trust in their ego and lower habits.
Besides understanding what trust means in relation to oneself and the world, there is also a needed understanding about trust in relation with God, or Divinity. The great mystics and masters have explained that trust in the Divine is absolutely essential. And yet, as has already been said, the great teachers have not just been passive. Rather, they have been responsibly active and in service in the world. They take responsibility for themselves, for mastering their bodies and minds, and they use discernment (or good judgment) when making decisions about right action. They don’t merely trust that everything will automatically happen just perfectly, while they remain passive. And they don’t simply avoid making decisions about what to do.
The seeker for God or for enlightenment must eventually cross the threshold of trust in the unknown. The normal conscious intellect wants to have everything figured out. It wants to know where it is going and what to expect. It also wants to have some degree of control over the outcome or the experience. This could be called the ego-intellect, an intellect that wants to control outcomes and make sure nothing important of the self is lost.
But the mystic wanting God-experience has to abandon this tendency, and surrender self-control and as well an attachment to self-concepts. One has to surrender self-concepts and basically surrender the self to the Unknown. It is the Unknown because one does not know what this is, until It reveals Itself in experience.
We simply cannot know with any certainty how the Divine Being will reveal Itself in our experience. The ego-intellect that is wrapped up in its normal tendency cannot know what God is, nor can it know how the experience is when it ceases to be. In another words, it cannot know what is on the other side of the threshold. What is beyond and transcendental to the ego-self, God-ness or Divine Being Experience, cannot be known by the normal ego-self and cannot even be guessed. So all expectation and guesses must be abandoned.
The ego-control over experience must also be abandoned. There has to a complete surrender of expectation and self, so that the Divine can be allowed into experience. One has to give up oneself, like a breathing it out and letting it go, then trust in the Unknown, because one cannot know what will come after the letting go.
One cannot know what will be after the death. The Sufis say, die before you die; because if you want to know the Divine before you physically die, then you need to die into God while here in this world. You need to let go and let God. Let God come into experience. And let God be known through you.