I have been taking part in a study group which focuses on a different quality each month, for the purpose of enhancing that quality in our day to day meandering. For example, we have already visited the qualities of humility, honor, and silence. This type of learning is called Mussar, and you can learn more about it here. This month’s focus is on the quality of trust, and it is showing up quite strongly in my sitting practice.
When I commit in the morning to my practice of sitting in stillness and attending to what arises and passes in the moment, my thinking mind thinks. And it thinks a lot. One thing it thinks about is how my practice of meditation will unfold. It wonders about what getting really quiet will be like. It wonders if I will have an experience of oneness. It tries to figure out how sitting in stillness can lead to spiritual awakening … and besides, what does spiritual awakening even mean.
As I realize the train of thought that my mind is conducting, I can come back to my study of trust. If I keep trying to figure it out, I will not actually be attending to the present moment. I will be lost on a journey of thinking, planning, strategizing, and missing out on the wakefulness of an ever-shifting experience of being alive. So, I remind myself, trust. Let go of needing to figure it out in this moment, and use the time to practice. This returning to practice is indeed the practice – so nothing lost.
The question that arises is, trust in what? In God? In the universe? In a deeper knowing? Sure! If you feel held by any presence of safety, that seems like a good place to trust. At times when those do not work for me, when it is hard to rely on some force of goodness that has my back, I trust in my ability to sit with not-knowing, and I trust in my experience that has taught me that not-knowing leads to knowing, which leads to not-knowing, and back to knowing….and so on. I trust, despite my short-sightedness, that there is no end to growth and potentiality.