A few mornings ago, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I saw an interview between Oprah Winfrey and Br. David Steindl- Rast.
I’ve always liked Oprah. This is a legacy born from being raised in North America- her TV show used to air at 4pm every day, right about the time I was getting home from school. So when I saw her interviewing Br. David, a Benedictine whose life calling has been to promote and teach grateful living, I couldn’t look away.
Right from the beginning, Br. David said something that resonated in my bones. He said that one of the foundations of life is to trust it. Trust Life. Somehow these words immediately set me at ease. It was as if someone was whispering a secret to me that I had long forgotten, a secret that I knew and held in my heart but had been covered with all sorts of life’s debris.
Trust Life. I haven’t been trusting life. Fears, doubts, resistances have been swirling and plaguing my experiences. Days of sunshine and long walks have been accompanied by anxiety about my future. Evenings out with friends have been overshadowed with self- doubt and a fear of not being accepted. Time spent with family has been polluted by obsessive thoughts about their health and needs.
Oh sure, there have been moments of ease and a sense of being settled- but these moments pass, replaced with this mistrust. It’s like I am always looking over my shoulder for the next trauma to hit.
It’s crazy- I simply forgot to trust life. Or, as Br. David mentions in his interview, I have withheld my trust, instead of giving it. I have resisted. This is interesting for when we teach mindfulness, we often speak of how resistance reinforces. It does not alleviate suffering, but amplifies it. Once again, I find myself learning this lesson.
If I look back on my life and to all of the catastrophes and moments of hardship and despair, I can see that they have delivered me to where I am right now. Even the most difficult situations have been life giving in some way. However, and Br. David reminded me of this, when I look forward, I can’t see this. I can’t see it or know it and this is where the fear comes and robs me of my present moment happiness- so I need to trust. Trust Life.
This week’s challenge is to trust life in the face of despair and fear. Whenever you find yourself caught up in the spiral of doubt, remember that life has delivered you this far, and all of your misfortunes have created the wonderful human being that is YOU in this moment.
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