Daring to Trust

Daring to Trust: Opening Ourselves to Real Love & Intimacy, by David Richo. Shambhala publications, Inc. Boston, MA 2010
pg 13: Our motivation for wanting a relationship of mutual trust is the cultivation of a more intimate bond between us.
pg 14: The foundation of adult trust is not “You will never hurt me.” It is “I trust myself with whatever you do.”…The adult response may sound like this: “I am prepared to deal with disappointment if and when that might happen–hopefully, never. The more invested I am in my own ideas about reality, the more those experiences will feel like victimizations rather than the ups and downs of relating. Actually, I believe that the less I conceptualize things that way, the more likely it is that people will want to stay by me, because they will not feel burdened, consciously or unconsciously, by my projections, judgments, entitlements, or unrealistic expectations.”
Projections are personal thoughts, feelings, beliefs, or motivations that we ascribe to or imagine to be in someone else. Projections happen because confusion arises about pledges made to us and whether we can trust their implications.
pg 18: Self-trust is always to be placed first in our ability to care for ourselves. Auditing those who promote themselves as faithful to us is a way of doing that. Of course, we cannot always trust ourselves either, since denial, mistakes, and projections are favorite pastimes for most of us. this, even we need an audit once in a while, which is nothing to be embarrassed about. Hopefully, the practices in this book can serve as self-auditing tools in our self-arraignment!
pg 20: Oxytocin enters the bloodstream through closeness, cuddling, touch, orgasm….Less stress means more safety, comfort, and security, the essential elements of trust that facilitate bonding. …areas in the brain that contain oxytocin become activated when we remember the people we love or look at photos of them.
From a physical perspective, the orbitofrontal cortex is crucial to our capacity to handle our emotions, to understand and receive the emotions of others, and to manage the stresses of daily life. Its growth is directly influenced by interactions within a mother-child bond, especially in physical touch. Thus, our original home and community environment as well as the behavior of our primary caregivers have a direct impact on the evolution of structures in our infant brain, structures that are not fully developed for five years.
Many of us are, and have always been, touch-starved. We may have suppressed our needs for contact and communion–which is a form of despair about finding what we need in others. In adulthood we may look to sex as a substitute for the touch and holding we need. Then we use our genitals and those of others to do what hearts are supposed to do.
Pg 21: Touch is trust in the form of a hand or kiss.
For most of us, our parents came through reliably with bed and board. They could be trusted to provide a roof over our heads every day of every year. But could they go one day without controlling, criticizing, or belittling us? These were all signs of not trusting us, and this makes it hard later to trust ourselves.
pg 22: Our survival needs are first physical–being clothed, sheltered, and fed. In addition, our survival needs include safety, security, belonging. We need to know that our place in the family is assured, that our parents will not abuse us, that we are protected from danger both at home and in the larger world.
Trust in others develops when children’s alarm is met with attunement and protection. When their own mastery of fear and stress makes it possible for them to modulate their feelings, trust in themselves grows too.
Our higher needs include making full use of our gifts, finding and fulfilling our calling, being loved and cherished just for ourselves, and being in relationships that honor all of these. Such needs are fulfilled in an atmosphere of the five A’s by which love is shown: attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection, and allowing. The quality of allowing is especially important to our growth, making room for us to experience our life fully with no restrictions on the range of our emotions, self expression, or choices.
pg 23: We humans are genetically geared for survival. Unfortunately, we are not equally geared to having healthy relationships. So we have to work on making intimacy and other growth needs a priority because our body has survival mode as its primary default setting.
With healthy boundaries, we make a choice for personal happiness and sanity. We then no longer believe we need a relationship in order to survive.
When we seek safety and security only from someone else without building it in our adult caretaking self, we may come across to others as needy and desperate. When we have safety and security within ourselves and seek intimate connection, we come across as open but not desperate. Our need then is not to be filled, only to be enriched.
pg 24: As adults…we then do not rely on a partner, or on any person, for more than 25 percent of our need fulfillment. This includes our need for safety and security. When we come from a childlike position, we demand more than that from a partner.
pg 25: The second and culminating part of our need is for mutual love and personal fulfillment manifested in the form of the five A’s (attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection, and allowing).
pg 26: we can even pick and choose a partner rather than wait for someone to ask us to dance.
Only two qualities can get us to what point. The first, as stated above, is building inner resources so that our safety and security lie stably within ourselves. Such inner resources help us look at others with a desire for connection rather than with neediness. The second is our utterly thorough and conditional yes to the given of human caprice, something we notice now not with horror and blame but with understanding and even amusement.
pg 28: …we can practice a style that helps us know ourselves more deeply. We can first follow our need to see what it reveals about us and only after that seek fulfillment of the need, now understood more accurately. A need is then like the White Rabbit that leads Alice down the rabbit hole into Wonderland, the unconscious part of herself where she discovers qualities in herself previously unknown to her. A need can do that for us if instead of immediately running to someone for fulfillment, we take time to explore it. Perhaps our need for wholehearted unconditional love shows us what we missed in childhood.
Now we are reading our needs and using them as resources for self-knowledge. We are finding out that what we want tells us something meaningful about ourselves.
pg 29: We know ourselves deeply when we trust that we have an enlightened nature always underlying our choices and behavior, no matter how unenlightened they may seem.
pg 30: Only as people who become able to trust can we proceed along the path to a healthy, fulfilled life. This is because rust is the foundation of all human connections.
pg 31: When we open to others, take the risk of trusting, and are not disappointed, we are, in effect, newly parented. Then the trust that was lacking in childhood is finally installed in us. Intimacy with another adult has become a path to wholeness for us.
We then process our experience–that is, feel the feelings that arise and notice how they connect to our past. then we can move toward resolving our issue. this means no longer being held up in our move toward relating with others. We then integrate our work into our lifestyle. We do this when we take the necessary but risky steps toward trusting others without being stopped or driven by fears that restrained us in the past.
pg 32: t is important to be aware that the addressing is also a way of staying with our feeling, abiding in our experience. This is a mindful style of focusing on the here-and-now reality rather than our mind’s embroideries around it. We will fully address in ourselves only what we fully and compassionately accept about ourselves.
As we practice addressing our issues in a mindful and compassionate way, a fearlessness about ourselves develops and we are no longer threatened by the demons inside us, no matter how loudly they growl. This becomes a first step toward trusting others.
We are no longer faced with only the primitive options of “run for cover” or “fight it out.” Now we have the opportunity to take cover in the other and join her in a trusting bond.
For a long time our fear might have been our only way of knowing we were still alive. Now love becomes the way.
pg 33: Attachment, in psychology, refers to our natural desire for physical and emotional closeness to another person. It happens through engaging with one another and responding to one another. Attachment does not mean possessiveness or control but rather engagement and responsiveness by showing the five A’s. It is not compulsive clinging, with obsessive thoughts and a gnawing insatiability. Those are the three elements that signal addiction in the psychological realm. They are also what define suffering in the Buddhist teaching on attachment.
Healthy relating happens when we hold gently rather than hang on to someone for dear life, when we keep someone in our hearts without becoming fixated, and when we can be satisfied with reasonable contact rather than feel we can’t get enough. The resultant sense of liberation from neediness is worth more than the fulfillment of any need.
pg 34: Consistent responses by parents foster secure attachment, and this increases the child’s autonomy. The result is less crying and more activation of his powers to self-regulate–that is, self-soothe and modulate feelings in times of stress. This is what leads to self-trust so that safety and security begin to grow within oneself.
When there was no such attuning to our feelings, we may be possessed by them or block them. We will find it difficult to stay with our feelings, to address, process, and resolve them. This is because we missed out on the allowing of them. In any case, attunement has to happen only usually, not constantly, for us to learn to trust. It would take a mind reader to attune to our every need and feeling. In any family or relationship, attunement and mirroring happen in moments, and moments are enough.
pg 35: People who felt secure in childhood have gained stability. This quality makes it possible to state their needs and to ask for resources of fulfillment from others, two requisites for intimacy.
They will not often be driven by a competitive ego that demands supremacy but by a cooperative ego that respects equality. This is because they trust themselves, and that makes it easier for them to trust others.
pg 37: An original secure attachment is the basis of trust. Feeling that we are lovingly held with the five A’s, that holes in trust can be darned, that safety and security are reliably present — all these build our confidence in others. Our trust is also in ourselves as people who are now capable both of showing trusting love and of being willing to work on repairing ruptures in fidelity.
pg 60: In singles tennis, one player wants to win and wants the other to lose. The other player likewise, wants to be the one who will win and the other to lose. Each of them pays special attention to the other’s defects and plays in such a way as to exploit those liabilities for his own gain. If one player has trouble running fast, the other will e sure to aim the ball so his opponent must dash for it. If one has a poor backhand, the other will be sure to hit the ball so that he needs to use it. he net between the players truly symbolizes their separation.
If, instead, these players become partners in doubles, they notice each other’s handicaps, but that shows them how to cooperate and cover for each other. Now the goal is for both to win rather than only one to win. In a relationship, both partners are meant to play together as just such a team. Trust happens when we notice we are with a partner who is committed to playing with us for our mutual victory over the obstacles that can wreck our bond. Now the net symbolizes being together. We play with reciprocal attentiveness, and each of us backs the other up. It will take letting go of self-centeredness in favor of sharing authentic love to play like that.
Trust has to be reciprocal for relationships to work. This means each partner can trust the other and each partner is trustworthy toward the other. Thrust and trustworthiness are not only sources of safety and security. They make an intimate relationship possible, increase love, and enrich the bond.
In the romance phase of a relationship, we trust the other implicitly and unconditionally. We feel sure of the stability of the love we are receiving. This is also why we fall the hardest if perfidy happens during that stage of a relationship. Wise adults begin relationships not with the romance phase but with an investigation phase. We check out the other, looking to see if he or she is trustworthy, has the ability to give the five A’s, and possesses the qualities that are important to us. Only when we are secure in the knowledge that the other is trustworthy do we open ourselves to letting love happen.
Romantic fascination toward someone– chemistry– is exciting in two ways. Our needy ego is excited by the possibility of finding fulfillment at last. But our healthy ego is excited too because we have located just the person who will show us where our work is, our unfinished conflicts from childhood or past relationships.
pg 62: If we struggle with low self-esteem and a partner is proved trustworthy, we might say, “She makes me feel so good that I forget my uphill battle with self-worth. I am dependent on her now to help me feel good about myself, and she dare not go off duty because I can’t provide that for myself.” This is not the foundation of a healthy relationship. We do not require our partner to give us more than about 25 percent of our total need for the five A’s (attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection, and allowing). No single person should be expected to fulfill all or even most of our emotional needs.
Once we are independent, we align ourselves to those who are consistently trustworthy. Adult trust is based on the proven trustworthiness of the other. Our adult trust grows best in an atmosphere of continuity and consistency. Yet we have no control over that happening.
Yearning for someone to trust absolutely is how we keep ourselves feeling unhappy. We are forgetting the first teaching of Buddhism, that all is ultimately unreliable, impermanent, and therefore unsatisfactory, and that we suffer when we cling to something with the illusory belief that such is not so.
pg 63: In any case, we don’t get to decide how long others’ feelings for us will endure or how strong they will be. An adult has learned to honor the shelf life of a feeling and the life span of trust. Wisdom in relationships can take the form of aligning or resigning ourselves to how far the other can go, how close she can allow herself to be to us, how much of a commitment she can make to a relationship with us.
Adults know that trust cannot be based on expectations or projections. Nor can others be presumed trustworthy because we believe we are entitled to their loyalty or have merited it. The ego has to bow in total surrender to the ruthless record of real instances of trustworthiness or betrayal.
We investigate others; we keep a watch on ourselves. Since trust takes time to develop, it is important for us to protect our boundaries in new relationships. We do this when we let our disclosure of our deeper selves happen only in increments. We have to be careful not to overexpose, or to self-disclose too soon. Over the course of our lives, we eventually become sophisticated about what the world and others are like. We become centered so that we are neither gullible nor cynical. We become compassionate because we realize that it is sometimes hard for any of us humans to be trustworthy. So instead of despairing or retaliating in return, we remain loyal to two spiritual practices: loving-kindness and an unconditional yes to what is. Loving-kindness directs our focus to building our own trustworthiness and aspiring for it in others. Our companion practice of the unconditional yes to what is directs us to be thankful for trustworthiness from others when it comes our way and be open to disappointment sometimes too.
pg 67: Ironically, we men who fear losing our freedom often have no difficulty surrendering to an addiction (the word addiction is based on the Latin or “surrender”). Our addiction certainly is a form of “giving up our freedom,” but that does not stop us. Our “fear of commitment: vanishes when it comes to giving ourselves over to what has come to seem so necessary for us–for example, alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling. This reveals to us men that we do not as much fear surrender as fear trusting who we will become in full-on intimacy with someone real. This is an identity anxiety; we can’t be separate anymore. How can we men move toward allowing seasons of change as the caterpillar does?
pg 74: Practices for Auditing Our Relationship
This chart helps us see the difference between trust and trustworthiness and prepares us for the practices below:

Trust

Having confidence in someone else’s trustworthiness
Conditional
Reliant
A belief
Gained by experience
Based on others’ behavior
Requires conditional discernment of others’ motives and actions
Can be violated by others
Can be misplaced because of an illusory projection on our part or reliance on a false promise on the part of someone else
May be temporary
Is a capacity originating in early life within a psychologically healthy environment
Seeks safety and security in others Trustworthiness

 

Being oneself deserving of trust

Unconditional
Reliable
A personal quality
Gained by practice
Based on personal standards
Is a conscientious commitment that requires no response in kind
Cannot be influenced by what others do
Is given to others with sincerity and as part of personal integrity

Is permanent
Is a virtue that begins and grows with spiritual consciousness
Has found safety and security in oneself

pg 78: The five A’s are how we show that we have taken an interest in a partner rather than simply clinging to one because of how needy we are. Healthy people have noticed that interest as a more sincere form of connection than sexual excitement or clinging. Sincere interest in the other makes the five A’s part of every sexual and intimate experience.
Here is an example of how psychological auditing might take shape. We question ourselves about the kind of trustworthiness we are demanding For instance, this statement sounds acceptable: “I want a deeper commitment from him.” Yet if we audit our desire, we might find three suspicious implications. First, it seems to include this childlike wish: “I want to be sure he will never disappoint me.” This cannot be an adult expectation, since it contradicts the givens of existence. As long as we are looking for total safety, we are not honoring life as it is. As long as we are trying to line up a relationship that assures us of full protection against any form of disenchantment, we are still afraid of being adults.
A commitment to sincere assertiveness frees us from the fear of being ourselves. That makes us open to forming intimate relationships.
pg 85: Past experiences of violated trust leave post-traumatic scars. In the present, what hampers us is not our experience of trust itself but our freeze reaction to it. Time stands still, and the past interrupts and usurps the present. Trauma therapy shows how our body can be a resource in dealing with our stress reaction stemming from abuse in early life. This happens not by minimizing the facts but by redesigning our relationship to them. We cannot rewrite our story, but we can rewire our brain. This happens when our memories remain intact but without the emotional charge that can cause ongoing damage to our capacity to trust.
pg 86: Then, as soon as we trust someone, a conditioned response arises. We begin to feel fear or even suspicion, rooted in actual past experience, but perhaps now having no foundation in reality. We imagine our doubt to be an intuition about danger, but it is actually the past being replayed in the present. We have opened the file called “Trust in Others,” and in it are archives of ache. That file remains open until we have a long history of tried-and-true trustworthiness from someone.
pg 87: This is an example of how a problem in a relationship is often actually a personal problem requiring personal work. This work will help Concetta break the old tie of misplaced loyalty. Then a new tie can form, an, perhaps for the first time, she can feel held.
As we address ad work through our pain from the past, we enter phase two: the same intense reaction but with a shorter shelf life. We know we are resolving things when in phase three there is considerably less or no intensity and no lasting result. Now we are stabilizing ourselves almost immediately because the power of the original childhood events has lost its punch.
pg 88: A relationship has special value to us precisely because it offers us unique access to our early conflicts.
pg 89: “I don’t trust myself to handle closeness from women because I believe that I ether wont’ be able to tolerate my own feelings when they get close or won’t be able to protect my boundaries when they approach me.”
pg 90: We trust ourselves in our fears when we feel or are accompanied by those who love us. We also trust ourselves when we remember we love someone who will benefit from our not being stopped by our fears. Simply recalling someone we love can thus build our trust in ourselves, as it did for Lion. Such rust is the same as letting go of fear. Being loved and loving creates a sense of our own worth that feels like confidence and well-being — what are referred to as our inner resources.
pg 92: When we were not allowed to have power in childhood — that is, denied our rightful A of allowing — two long-lasting results can occur. First, we might, early on, have turned to control as an alternative. Control is the poor man’s version of power. We try to gain some sense of power by controlling our environment or other people. Control arises from compulsion and increases our fear; true power arises from self-trust and increases our self-esteem.
pg 99: We are re-located in our own power. Ralph Waldo Emerson expressed it well: “When half gods go, the gods arrive.”
As we awaken the qualities of enlightenment in ourselves, we become channels for universal and unconditional love, the wisdom of the ages, and an ever-lively healing. This leads us to trust our wholeness, now and ever in us.
Write in your journal using the style of the example above. At the top of a new page, identify a fact in your own life that you have been struggling with. Ask yourself what your specific add-ons have been (fear, blame, escape, judgment).
After each of your add-ons, look back to the top of the page at the fact itself and mindfully open yourself to the pure experience of it. Notice what the feeling or issue is like without your added story lines.
Notice as you do this how much freer you feel. Practices such as these can help us face ourselves and our feelings in a kinder way, and this endows us with a power far beyond any reward we were getting from our ego. The more we take a chance on trusting ourselves and others, the more others open up to us and become trustworthy toward us.
pg 103: Trust does not have to end the way a bear dies, impossible to resuscitate. It can end the way a bear hibernates, able to be reanimated given the right conditions and a suitable lapse of time. Trust can begin to be restored when the untrustworthy person apologizes and offers to make amends. Then a long, consistent history of trustworthiness has to follow for us to trust again with confidence, something that happens only gradually, a feature of all grief and reorientation.
pg 109: Honest self-presentation is actually built into us biologically. The muscles of our face are geared to portray in exact detail every mood and feeling we are having. This happens without conscious thought. So when we hide our truth, we are overriding a natural tendency. Our body wants to tell the truth. Our fear wants to cover it up.
…in loving-kindness, our honest opinion of others has to be seasoned with compassion. We tell as much of our truth as we imagine they can handle and in as kind a way as possible. Here we face conflicting imperatives. One rule is to be honest, and another is to be kind. It is not a struggle between good and evil but between good and good. When we keep practicing loving-kindness, we always know which path to choose.
pg 120: Our search for merger goes back to the symbiotic phase in infancy, when our oneness with Mother meat total safety and security. All through life, we may long for access to the ocean of mystical oneness. This is our inclination toward the transcendent. Our fear of losing contact with that power once we find it can make us possessive. That is certainly visible in romantic love in which we want so much to possess our partner. Our desire for the transcendent, combined with possessiveness, shows up in any addiction.
How ironic that we seek the permanently transcendent in addictions, which can offer it only temporarily. We seek the profound in shallow ground This is why recovery from any addiction is ultimately a spiritual program requiring a bond with a “higher power,” the healthy alternative to the merger we experience when we use drugs or alcohol. Now we have found that which is deep, not shallow; ongoing, not temporary; maturing, not infantilizing.
Our adult challenge is always to follow our bliss. It is also to follow and investigate our wishes, feelings, and behavior. Yet, in all this, we have to acknowledge and respect the contract we have made with our partner.
pg 121: Remorse is sorrow about one’s offenses. Repentance is sorrow with sincere desire to make amends and to amend one’s life. A person who is untrustworthy may feel remorse but not repentance.
pg 122: Any person may cope with stress by numbing his own feelings and thereby losing is empathy for others’ pain. We all have the potential to act in sociopathic ways. The imperial ego can make us believe we need not follow the same rules that others do. Our untrustworthiness, we think, does not count against us because we are more intelligent or more evolved than others. We believe ourselves entitled to special privileges in relationships and in life in general. We believe that our needs are highly complex and unique, so only we can decide how they are to be satisfied. In this mind-set, we deceive others about our needs and plans to avoid interference or interruption.
The breakdown of trust in a relationship is a much more hurtful moment than the breakup of the relationship. To be betrayed inflicts a deep wound that takes a long time to get over….Only time and work on ourselves an make a difference. The work is grieving the loss of an uncomplicated connection with our partner — and of our own innocence.
pg 123: We who are betrayed are confronting a radically adult choice. We can follow the well-trodden path of lamenting our woebegone state, sinking into self-pity and despair, or licking our ego’s wounds by nursing blame, hatred, and plans for revenge. (In all these cases, our physical and psychological health are likely to suffer.)
Or we can choose a path of courage and compassion: we can feel our grief and let our feelings of sadness, anger, and fear lead us to examine our past and how similar betrayals happened to us before. As we stay with our feelings without blame or the need to retaliate, we are healing ourselves and acting with integrity. Then a path can open for us to finish some of our unfinished business from former relationships and to get on with our life, with or without a partner.
After all, our life purpose was always about evolving from narrow ego safety into an enlightened openness.
Part of the reason that being left by someone is so difficult is that it is not only a loss or betrayal. We notice when we are left by someone that three archetypes come to roost in our lies: the orphan, the freed slave, and the hero.
These three archetypal energies happening all at once make the experience somewhat incoherent.
pg 124: The orphan archetype offers us the opportunity to stand alone and survive that way. The freed slave makes room for us to move on in our own life and make new choices that more adequately fit our needs and desires. The hero archetype is about empowerment, so what has happened readies us for whatever challenge may next arise. In addition, making friends with these three energies in our deep self increases our lively energy. This is just what we need to get on with life.
In any ending force upon us, a spiritual opportunity has also arisen. Every betrayal in a relationship challenges our belief in permanence and our entitlement to fidelity.
pg 129: The adult meaning of showing love is an attitude of loving-kindness toward others while maintaining healthy love for ourselves through self-care, stating boundaries, refusing to tolerate abuse, and being honest about our feelings.
pg 132: When we recognize this connection, bodily memory becomes personal history. We can work with it by acknowledging that fact and feeling our feelings as indicators of our present strength to move on. Then we are no longer victims of what happened to us long ago. We are victims when the memories remain unconscious. WE are victims when the old connections seem real and become hooks and triggers that initiate a dysfunctional reaction.
Generally, when a need was met in a healthy way in early life, we have the capacity to be satisfied with a moderate amount of that need fulfillment ever after. However, our unmet needs have an altogether different fate. they become insatiable. This, as we saw above, leads to an addictive clinging to and obsession with anyone who seems to offer just the brand of fulfillment we always wanted.
In authentic love, repose follows union. Insatiability is a signal that we are mistaking immediate fulfillment for full-on love.
Our search for someone who can give us all we missed becomes a openness to the manifold ways it can happen — for example, through friends, career accomplishments, self-esteem, the sense of being held by a higher power.
Our validation then comes from within. We learn to hold our need without going outside our relationship and without putting too much pressure on our primary relationship to get it met. As a result, we notice a natural toning down of our need, something we can’t discipline ourselves into. It happens as a consequence of our work on ourselves.
pg 135: We stay with the feelings of grief for as log as they are up for us. This automatically leads to letting go of our pain, and we stop blaming ourselves or anyone else.
When we are committed to personal integrity, we look within ourselves to explore our anger If it is appropriate, based on the breaking of a bilateral agreement, we express our anger directly to our partner, always nonviolently. When our anger is the indignation of our disappointed ego, we call ourselves on our projections and expectations.
pg 148: Strong feelings in our childhood household might have been the preamble to abuse or out-of-control behavior. Now intense feelings toward us by other adults may trigger an expectation that the same results will follow. This may be part of why we fear (do not trust) feelings in ourselves and others.
It is certainly an adult task to supervise our feelings so we can express them appropriately. But we go too far when we shut them down altogether.
pg 172: Trusting in reality, in life as it is, begins to make it clear that the world of events and our own true nature are one and the same. In medieval times, this was referred to as the unus mundus, the one world. The spiritual and material, the inner and outer, are all dimensions of one reality, the natural and the divine and the human the same in essence. How ironic that we humans were being asked all along to trust the world and not our ego, and yet trusting the world is really trusting our very selves anyway. Our need to change, fix, and rearrange reality was the sign of our distrust of how we were constructed as humans. Every hatch we battened down interfered with our full emergence. The surrender to reality as benevolent does not mean we will not be hurt, only that somehow that hurt can help us be more present, can become an aid to evolution, can show us how to have more compassion. Our issues, our story, our conflicts, are thus all worthy vehicles to enlightenment. This is the implication of the Buddhist recommendation that we indulge in neither aversion nor attachment. Instead, we surrender to reality and flow with it, without preferences, trusting what happens as just the right recipe for letting the light through. We surrender when the five A’s are applied to what is coming toward us here and now. We greet our unchangeable reality with attentiveness, acceptance, appreciation, affection, and, most of all, allowing.
pg 173: This does not mean that the ego is done for; it loves its new side-by-side position. It can finally relax and go off its demanding sentry duty. It can ret in the arms of reality. The resulting contented self is the equivalent of a holding environment, so we have found at last what the ego always wanted: safety and security within ourselves no matter what blow or embrace the world metes out.
pg 174: A fascinating result of core trust is this: Our focus on and curiosity about our own life increase. Our interest in our suffering becomes greater than our need to find relief from it. Our fascination is with seeing what this particular suffering of ours is about and how it can serve us and others.
When I give up trying to direct the show and instead keep opening to how it unfolds, I unfold.
pg 178: Our trust can move in four directions: we can trust ourselves, others, reality, and a higher power. Put differently, the four forms of trust are: self-trust, interpersonal trust, core trust (trusting reality), and faith (trusting in a higher power). If one or more directions of trust are omitted, then too much pressure is put onto the others for instance, if we can’t trust people, then we pressure ourselves unduly. The challenge is to access all four vehicles of trust.
Trusting ourselves means that we trust our own body/mind as a most suitable instrument for living in a psychologically and spiritually healthy way. Self-trust is self-esteem.
Trusting others happens when we believe that they have our best interests at heart. We trust that they will come through for us, stand by us, and be there for us when we need them. We believe they will not knowingly or purposely betray, disappoint, deceive, or hurt us. If they do, we trust ourselves to handle those experiences by grieving and attempting to reconcile if that is appropriate to the situation.
Trusting reality is confidence that whatever happens to us beyond our control is precisely what can provide the occasion for us to grow in our own unique way. This does not mean that we resign ourselves to injustice or that we become doormats, only that we align ourselves to what cannot be changed and look enthusiastically for its teaching. We trust reality when we believe that the universe is helping us evolve. Then circumstances and predicaments are not roadblocks but vehicles to our becoming people of character, depth, and compassion. The bumps and misfortunes of life are how that happens. Our accepting them without reserve is how we show our trust in reality as it is. Then we are ready to change what can be changed and know the difference too.
Trusting a higher power can me belief in a personal God or in any force or spirit in nature or the universe that transcends ego and can be relied upon for grace and support.
Surrendering to the will of God, as in “Thy will be done,” is a religious version of core trust. This, trusting God is the same as trusting reality.
pg 180: Carl Jung said, “God is the name by which I designate all things which cross my path violently and recklessly, all things which alter my plans and intentions, and change the course of my life, for better or for worse.” In that sense, God and reality are the same. Core trust and trust in a higher power are essentially one.
…nothing that can happen to us can obstruct our path to finding meaning in the world or achieving our fulfillment as humans.
Trust in a higher power means having confidence that no power on earth can hold us captive to hate or prohibit us from loving. Now we can see why adult and abiding faith is a challenge for so many of us. It requires that we take responsibility for activating our inescapable and ever-clamoring potentials. It is the opposite of stuckness, inability to launch, or fear of going on.
pg 190: Faith in the divine feminine has to do with honoring the earth, not a literal goddess. In the ancient pagan concept of the mother goddess, she both nurtures and devours. Thrusting her is trusting that she will certainly comfort us but that she will also overwhelm our ego when necessary in order to awaken our inner enlightened nature. Mature spiritual consciousness means that we do not split her into the good mother and the bad mother. Instead, we integrate her opposite energies of accepting us with loving care and showing enough wrath to call our ego to account too. The divine feminine offers both comfort and challenge.
pg 191: Imagination can be harmful if it becomes more reliable than evidence. Faith is an accomplishment of the imagination, so it can have a positive impact on our spiritual creativity. Imagination is our most fundamental religious power, since we can picture and believe in something for which there is no tangible proof.
Pg 192: This is not imagination in the sense of a pirate’s fantasies about buried treasure but a spiritually conscious adult’s recognition of hidden riches in ourselves, in others, in reality, and in powers beyond our ego.
pg 194: Tolerating ambivalence, ambiguity, and uncertainty is a major signpost in adult development. Notice that this reflects perfectly what happens as we grow in trust: as children, we need absolute reliability; as adults, we are reconciled to the wider spectrum of human trustworthiness and untrustworthiness.

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