I’ve studied various psycho-spiritual systems and worked with them with private clients and groups without pause since 1971. I am endlessly fascinated and deeply committed to the inquiry of who we are and how life and other domains of existence work and what it real and what really matters.
Like anything you delve into from many different angles, certain core truths begin to reveal themselves. The ego or false personality is made of the undigested, unassimilated pain of the past. When we are young we cannot process the pain & frustration that we are subjected to. We are not mature enough to be with it in such as way that the experience can be felt, understood and integrated in a healthy way. So the ego develops partly through this undigested material. The psychic structure of the ego develops fixed ways of being – becomes frozen – we have images and beliefs about who we are, who others are and what the world is. That’s a very simple way to say it. Any characteristic, in us, that is fixed and repetitive – when you dig deeper will reveal it’s defensive nature – it will show you the pain in the ego. We develop those defensive ways of being because we don’t have something called: BASIC TRUST.
If we had complete BASIC TRUST we wouldn’t need to work on ourselves – we would interact with life so as to allow our selves and our lives to unfold.
A. H. Almaas defines basic trust as “An unspoken, implicit trust that what is optimal will happen, the sense that whatever happens will ultimately be fine. It is the confidence that reality is ultimately good; that nature, the universe, and all that exists are of their very nature good and trustworthy; that what happens is the best that can happen. Basic trust is a non-conceptual confidence in the goodness of the universe, an unquestioned implicit trust that there is something about the universe and human nature and life that is inherently and fundamentally good, loving, and wishing us the best.
Sri Aurobindo in the book called the Mother – speaks about what it takes for our awakening and describes in detail how we must let go of relying on all the tendencies of the ego to make our lives work. In particular – it says we must release all our “self-giving” and instead remain fixed in our aspiration that calls to the “grace” of the divine to care for us.
Many different religions and spiritual paths point to that there is something bigger than our egos agendas and strategies that if we open ourselves, trust and cooperate – our sense of our selves and our lives will unfold quite differently.
When we have basic trust we are unaware of having it. It’s implicit – our perceptions and actions arise from it. When it’s there we have a sense that we’ll be ok no matter what – even if outer circumstances, health or relationships don’t go well – we feel like we can let go and ultimately things will work out. It’s a sense of knowing that we can stop pushing and fixing and trying to get things to be a certain way – even if we’re frightened or in pain – we can continue. You can see it in the people who have it – they just don’t struggle with life as much – they can let their ego come apart as they change, dissolve old relationships, jobs etc. and not make it a problem.
Other people struggle and won’t let go, can’t surrender and take risks and move into unknown territory.
Without basic trust there is no edge… you can’t afford to live from the edge of where life is unfolding. You’re too frightened, and justify holding on. Without Basic Trust nothing new can happen – because you can’t let go and know that wherever the journey is taking you will be ultimately good.
For the work of the evolutionary collective, participating on the ‘edge’ and in particular in the collective edge – basic trust must be present and where we don’t have it, we need to recover & restore our innocence and allow ourselves to be grounded in it once more. Interestingly, by coming together, in the way we are working, basic trust begins to be restored, people relax and feel the reality of love and the innate goodness of existence.
QUESTIONS TO PONDER:
1. What positive characteristics do you feel you have? Look at one and see what defensiveness might be underlying it? How does it help you to manipulate life and your experience?
2. Where do you find it hard to let go, risk and confidently jump into new possibilities? Consider that in this domain you don’t have access to basic trust.
3. Imagine your relationships if you had access to basic trust.
If you are interested in working with the 3 different levels of trust – check out this course MUTUAL TRUST.