I don’t feel like poetry today. Nor do I feel like going off on some deep spiritual riff, no matter how the notes promise to spiral and ascend through chords, timpanic booms echoing into the distance as flutes and violins chatter and obos and clarinets rustle through the thick undergrowth of lowing trombones, whispering cornets and frustrated french horns.
Today I’m feeling staccato, like eighth notes and sixteenth note runs on a cacaphonic Coltrane high. My anahata chakra is throbbing, spreading heat throughout my solar plexus, pulsating in tune to my mood; and I want to share the immediacy of the feeling. I want to talk about trust.
It’s not always the ones who smile in your face and listen to your problems who end up being your friends.
People come at you different ways. Some obstinately indifferent, others fiendishly polite and some wilfully obtuse. This is nature, this is life, this is how people do people and how its always been since time immemorial. When you make the decision in your own life that it’s not ok to remain mired in the same patterns of disfunction and neurosis that you’ve been caught up in for your entire life, it seems as if the entire universe conspires to work against your resolution. The determination to live your life trusting people, having faith in your decisions and your path in life becomes a torturous series of trials, during which you are accosted every which way by individuals and events both inside and outside of your control.
You take people at face value. You trust their word. You believe the things that they say to you. And when they tell you that they’re your friend, you believe that too. So believing, you share things with them that occur in your life. You tell them personal details about yourself, sharing your ups and your downs, the happy events and the sad events, the past events that have made you the person that you are and the future-possible events that will make you into the person that you want to be, living the life that you want to live.
And they smile in your face, nod and offer encouraging platitudes. They laugh when you laugh and look you directly in the eyes, making you feel warm inside and you experience that happy, glowing burst of chi that suffuses your body and sends tingles shivering down your spine, or, if the connection is strong enough, raises goosebumps along your arms and the back of your neck. Sometimes, it’s really that good. And, in those times, life is good.
And then there are those who are indifferent; who are unfailingly polite and who live by a stark distrustful code that doesn’t allow for intimacy at the early stages of any relationship, be if formal or informal. Those people have been shaped by experiences sometimes negative in nature, wherein their trust has been broken, perhaps numerous times, leaving them broken in turn and distrustful of all outside of a small, intimate circle of friends and family who have been close to them for years, if not decades or a lifetime.
Physical and emotional abuse, the death of loved ones and other harsh experiences of reality conspire to inculcate fear and reinforces cycles of trauma and heartache that can be lifetimes in the undoing.
These people suddenly find other things to do, or display their discomfort through their body language and tone when personal conversations get too personal, or when they’ve reached their limit of interaction with certain individuals, maybe even with you or me. While it is difficult to pierce that seemingly cold exterior, within, in many cases, these individuals are warm, caring people who just need proof that someone is who they say they are to them, that proof being of the type that may take years – or extreme events of a sacrificial nature – to supply.
Those who are cold and distrustful fall under this category as well, although it usually takes quite extreme events to break through the mask which they have donned, and which has, almost invariably, become too fixed to ever remove – unless an extraordinarily powerful and consistent application of will is applied – resulting in the proverbial ‘hardened heart’.
Trusting, irregardless of the type of person trusted, is always a personal decision that one makes for themselves, in order to remove the mask of social interaction and reveal the truth of the person within. Trusting, then, is a choice. A promise and a commitment that we offer of ourselves, and, ultimately, for ourselves. This mask that we wear – that can become fixated and more expressive than a latex Hollywood monster mask augmented by the most high tech of digital special effects – is synomous with the choice, made by you, by me, to hide ourselves, to deliberately lie to others because it is what we have been taught to do by society ever since childhood.
Even though trust is a personal decision, dependent upon no one outside of ourselves, it still breaks my heart when my trust is broken. When someone I trusted disappears from my life suddenly and with no explanation, when tales are told out of school and you hear something you’ve told someone else in trust from another person’s mouth, or, when people begin acting differently toward you and you put the series of events in perspective and piece together the sad and disappointing truth that your trust has been broken.
Even worse, is when your trust is broken deliberately and malignantly, and you are placed in a compromising position in a very public manner, or in a manner that is detrimental to you materially or spiritually. In these cases, it seems as if trust was the wrong way to go, that you should have stayed in your shell, kept your mask intact, been cold and indifferent, taken years to choose whether or not to trust that particular person. So does this mean that you should follow your natural instincts and retreat back into your shell? Replace and tighten your mask even further, shelling out whatever it costs in order to have the most recent digital upgrades, so that nobody, ever ever again will see your true face, know your true feelings, be able to reach your true and everlasting heart?
While your ego, paranoia and hurt Self tell you, unequivocably, ‘yes, dammit, what, you want to get hurt and misused like this again???’, your heart of hearts always tells you true, and it is at this point that contemplation and silence come to bear, and that still, quiet Self within that speaks from the soul must be cultivated, stroked and lovingly caressed in order to retrieve the peace that you’ve been searching for all along. The peace that trust brings, by releasing you from the pain and heartache brought about by distrust, suspicion and living lives spilling over with anger, hatred, suspicion and fear.
While the surface waters of your consciousness are roiling and boiling copiously, the urge toward revenge and unholy self-righteousness crests, while the calm, deep and living waters that gird the warmth and movement of the surface retain their stability and their firm assurance that peace is the eventual goal, the inevitable end result and our eternal promise.
So let them do them, and we’ll continue to do us. Take a moment or two, a day or even a week, and allow your silence and calm response to speak for you. Do the inner work necessary to cultivate that calmness and to remember that you are better than that, that you no longer play those games, or are suceptible to base emotional manipulations, and, eventually, it will become true in your life. Not necessarily at first, because it takes time to get past emotional response habits that have been a lifetime in the making. Wanting to lash out and exact a bloody and righteous toll is natural.
Let me repeat that: Wanting to lash out and exact a bloody and righteous toll is natural.
But it is this form of nature, unexamined and formed by the instincts of our reptilian brains, that must be transcended, that we must spend our lifetimes sublimating in favor of the higher nature that we all share, that which brings us to the table in trust, peace and familyhood, regardless of our circumstances or our differences. Whether it be through monotheistic prayer, eastern meditation or agnostic contemplation, accessing your Self through intense self-awareness and purposeful conscientiousness is the mode by which we ‘change the code’ at the base level.
It has to be done, and no person should hold that much power over us that we succumb to the urge to destroy ourselves under the illusion that we are actually doing something to them. Because nothing could be further from the truth.
Sometimes it is those people who, at first, seemed unapproachable and self-contained that end up being your best friends. And, sometimes, it is those who seem to open up and listen to your problems who end up being your worst enemy. But either way, by trusting, and allowing yourself to be yourself and present that true face to the world, we end up being the winners. And that light of inner sight that shines forth from those who have achieved a state of peace and self-knowledge beckons us as a promised state of being, if only we can stay the course and implement the changes within ourselves in order to achieve our life-goals.