We picked up on the topics of faith and bodhisattvas that we touched on in recent weeks by watching part of a Tara Brach video and then practicing an exercise for cultivating a specific kind of hope. In the talk, Brach notes:
As individuals, each of us, and as communities, when we trust in our innate capacities, when we start sensing our potentials, that trust actually helps to wake us up. It helps us to evolve. I love one particular line from the Buddha's teachings where he says , 'I would not teach you about happiness, and about your potential for freedom, if it wasn't possible.'”
We discussed what we think of when we hear "trust" and related words like "faith", "confidence", and "belief". Themes that came up around trust were how it shows in relation to others or even to ourselves, that it can be strengthened and deepened, that there is some requirement for consistency but also the capacity to embrace the natural ebb and flow (inconsistency) of being human. It came up that the act of trusting others can bring out their trustworthiness, that it was a way of seeing the best version of another person.
Next, we looked into the placebo effect from the point of view that simply having confidence or trust in healing does very often lead to improved health. This is a bit like trusting another, only in this case we trust in some combination of the placebo drug and our body, our spirit, to heal; confidence in healing activates or recruits parts of us that bring about what we trust.
How would our meditation and even our life be different if we trusted in our innate capacity to be more aware, more kind, more compassionate, more of our best or higher self?
Brach offers three ways to cultivate this trust our innate potential:
1. When you get a taste of wonder, awe, gratitude, love, compassion or any expression of what is fundamentally good about life, take the time to let that experience fill you. Allow yourself to soak in it for a moment. Sense how this is more truly who you are than any story you tell yourself.
2. Deepen your commitment to staying with difficult experiences when they arise. By contacting exactly how it feels and letting go of any stories about it, by opening to what is actually going on, you become the awareness that is capable of holding the difficulty with kindness and love.
3. Visualize your future self as the most awake and evolved version of you. Next, visualize a visit to that future self where you share your struggles and challenges, and ask for their advice. Watch this part of the video to have the wonderful Tara Brach guide you through this visualization.