What does it mean to trust Spirit? This question is with me all the time.
Trust is not the same as faith. In classic theology, faith is an "intellectual assent," meaning it's really an act on the mind – and often it is a forcing of the intellect to agree to something that feels wrong to it. So there's a constant tension in faith, a wrestling with the intellect. And so there's constant doubt, and we tend to focus a lot on the doubt, which is really a distraction, and it leaks our power. If you're in a religious tradition that shames you for your doubt, then you have a whole toxic soup of repression, veiled rage and bizarre excuses for how your hateful actions match up with your love-based religion.
Trust comes from experience. We trust Spirit because Spirit gives us uncountable experiences that are evidence for its ongoing work with us. Most of these experiences are so mundane that our drama-loving western minds miss them. Like the delicious clarity of the air at dawn these last few days. Like the return of the robins and cardinals, and the high-flying geese singing their way home. Trust is really all about feeling the mysterious wonder of life itself. This is what the shamans mean when they say "medicine is everywhere." It's actually all quite simple, but our culture of distraction continually leaks our power out of us while urging us to ignore these simple forms of medicine that actually build our power. So, the simplest thing you can do is stop for moment - on you way to car, as you're standing in line, and feel your way around for the mundane evidence of of the life force, of Spirit working. It's not intellectual, and not psychological.
There's a poem from Antonio Machado, the great Spanish poet from the early 20th century:
Mankind owns four things
That are no good at sea:
Rudder, anchor, oars
And the fear of going down.
For me, this is a poem about the trust of Spirit. The four things are the ways we control our ordinary life each day. In order to get food into our mouths and make sure the animals don’t eat our children, yes, we do need to direct our actions with these four things.
But when we set sail on the spiritual sea, each of the four items become a kind of mistrust. We try to define our own direction (rudder), we refuse to submit to the pull of wind and tide (anchor), we say we will provide our own (will) power, and we will certainly not hold still in calm waters (oars). And finally, that giant fear of being overwhelmed by mystery, of being “taken” by the Powers.
So Machodo's poem becomes a sort of recipe for trusting spirit. You can ask yourself which of the four things has become, for you, a form of mistrust of Spirit.
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On a day when the wind is perfect,
the sail just needs to open
and the world is full of beauty.
Today is such a day.
And this reminds me of that line from Rilke's poem: “…So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp.” (http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/a-walk/)
And so springtime unfurls her perfect air, and the hidden life slowly emerges into the new sunshine, and soon the forsythia will spread its arms out, announcing in a chorus of yellow blossoms - its charming pomposity - that, once again, it is the first in the garden to trust this gorgeous new world emerging. It dares you to join in, to unfurl your sail and let the air take you.
Blessings of the new air of spring be yours,
Blessings of the Forsythia be yours,
Blessings of the trust of Spirit be yours,
Blessing of the the trust of Spirit.