Trust and Confidence: One of the Five Great Spiritual Powers

Trust is like pouring oil on troubled waters; it smooths the way. We don’t need to take so much trouble to build our walls.  We can let go and let life sweep through us. It is one of the five powers (Bala) along with energy, mindfulness, serenity and wisdom.

Trust is a power as it helps us to feel free, to be nimble, light and connected to others and the world. It replaces the heavy armour of worries that so many of us carry. This readiness to receive life is essential when we undertake the spiritual journey. Trust is partly a positive state of mind, in which we trust that things will turn out OK. 

This provides an antidote to depression, despair and resignation. But there are limitations with this trust, because we are not in control of life. Life is in control of us. A more sublime form of trust is trusting things to be what they already are. This may seem an invitation to passive resignation. But look again. It may be an even better way of navigating in life rather than the endless sense of struggle against resistance. 

How can we strengthen our trust? There are many ways. For example, in situations of uncertainty or anxiety, we can meet those feelings head on, recognise them for what they are as they arise, move and dissolve, like bubbles. Then be very clear about the space of non-fear, steadiness and trust that opens when they have departed. Also we can repeatedly surrender to things that arise, with mindful awareness. 

Trust or faith needs to be balanced with the other five powers, which are energy, mindfulness, serenity and wisdom. For example if trust is not balanced by mindfulness, it can make us gullible, uncritical, or unreflective. If not also balanced by wisdom, it can lead to fundamentalism as we develop illusions that what we believe is a fact.