Taking a Leap of Faith

What's next“To be trusted is a greater compliment
than being loved.”
― George MacDonald

Do you trust?  Do you trust that your loved ones, colleagues, or service providers will do the best they can?  Do you trust that there is a divine design to your life’s path?  What is your default mode?  Do you expect the best, or do you assume the worst will happen?

Fear is a powerful force.  As a child, I suffered from heightened anxiety.  Our father joked that my family didn’t have to worry about anything because I did all the worrying for them.  This was true.  Happily, as I grew older and learned techniques to rise above my fears, the anxiety became a thing of the past.  Regardless, for the last two years, during meditation, I have repeatedly heard the directive, “Trust!”

I thought I did trust.  However, yesterday, as I was dashing somewhere and sweating the small stuff, it occurred to me that my default mode was one of worry.  I rationalized that, if I’m worrying, I’m not trusting.  Drat!  More work to do.

“Learning to trust is one of life’s most difficult tasks.” ― Isaac Watts

I wasn’t alone.  A little research showed me that humans are generally pessimistic so it’s difficult for most of us to trust.  However, learning to trust may be a critical skill and a major step to advance human development and higher consciousness.

I did an experiment.  For a moment, I imagined myself trusting the future, trusting everyone in my life, including God.  Instantly, I felt lighter.  What a relief!  It was incredible.  Until that moment, I hadn’t realized the weight I’d been carrying.  Emotional baggage feels heavier than lead!

Alina Tugent of Oprah Magazine highlighted a study about trust at the University of Toronto conducted by Nancy Carter, PhD, a director at the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation.  Nancy commented, “We think of people who are very trusting as being naive, but that’s not always the case—being more trusting may make us better at knowing when we’re being played.”  The study asked participants to pick which job applicants had been dishonest after watching videos of interviews in which half the candidates told three lies. It turned out that the people ranked as “high trusters” were more likely to detect the frauds, in part by picking up on subtle cues.  The article points out how some studies have shown that liars tend to fidget more and speak in higher-pitched voices.

The article also described research by David Dunning, PhD, professor of psychology at Cornell University that indicated people are more likely to remember betrayals than positive interactions.  As a result, we tend to underestimate people’s sincerity and generosity and overestimate their selfishness.

“In one study Dunning led, he asked participants what they thought would happen if they gave money to strangers who had the option to split the cash with them or keep it all. The givers guessed the receivers would share the money about 45 percent of the time. In fact, the receivers said they would hand back half the cash in nearly 80 percent of the transactions, proving Dunning’s point that we’re often unfairly cynical about others.”

One person’s bad behavior isn’t a reflection of humankind,” Dunning says. “Rather than living your life on high alert, you have to be willing to be vulnerable.”

I have always known that there is a divine design to our lives.  I’ve come face-to-face with divinity many times.  Regardless, when the future’s unclear, I still find myself becoming reluctant to move forward and begin to feel a tiny bit anxious.  It’s a pattern for many people.  Once anxiety hits, depression can follow.  Anger might show-up.  Sadness and anger are two sides of the same coin.  Any way you look at it, when you’re not coming from a place of love and courage, you’re in a state of fear.

In meditation, I was told, “Trust.  Walk in faith.  Act in faith.”  It’s a message for all of us.

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” ― Corrie ten Boom