I’ll miss Rowan Williams when he steps down soon as the head of the Anglican Church; I admire him as a genuine spiritual figure of great depth and heart. I was listening to him on the BBC news today being asked about his view of British society in the wake of the financial troubles of recent years, and one point he said particularly struck me.
‘So many people have said that we have to think again about the role of trust in personal relationship and business. I think yes! yes! yes! and where are the signs of it?’
Thinking about this and also the daily doses on TV of the Leveson inquiry into the ethics of the British press, sent me into contemplation about trust; a small word yet what it points to, in my opinion, is extraordinarily vast and meaningful. And to be clear, when I’m saying trust, I’m not talking about being naïve, starry-eyed and letting yourself be used by those with unscrupulous motives. Trust is much deeper than that.
Bob Marley Gamble?
I was moved to hear the story of when Bob Marley and the Wailers were an unknown band in the early 70’s and they had come to Britain at a time when reggae had no general following whatsoever outside of Jamaica. Chris Blackwell, the maverick founder of independent label Island records, believed in Bob Marley and advanced the penniless musicians what was for those times, a large sum of money, with no signed contract at all, purely based on trust. Associates thought he was crazy to be giving a bunch of wild- looking Rastas all that money, yet his trust was reciprocated a few months later when Marley and band returned with the songs for an album that they had worked very diligently on; and the rest is history as reggae spread through the world.
Trust engenders trust.
Trust over Love
Trust to my mind is the foundation of a deep relationship to life. Yes, trusting oneself is important, just as much so as trusting others. But in the end trust points to trusting Life with a capital ‘L’
In personal relationships I’ve learned that trust is the single most important ingredient; more important even than love; or to put it another way, love based on deep trust is another order of love, which is beyond the stickiness of love which is only personal.
Trust is the most human quality and it is also the goal of the spiritual path. There’s no end to trust and faith; you can’t say, ‘I’ve done it now’. It’s fathomless and infinite and at the deepest level trust is really no different than what is meant by Liberation in the spiritual sense.
Becoming trustworthy ourselves is one of the greatest things we can do to effect real change in society. Rather than lamenting about who can I trust, I think it’s much more effective to turn it round to cultivate this noble quality in myself so I can be someone who others can implicitly trust.
On Trust in the Heart
Seng-ts’an, The 3rd Patriarch of Chinese Buddhism, in his immortal poem, ‘On Trust in the Heart’, written about 1500 years ago says,
To live in this realization is to be without anxiety about non-perfection.
To live in this faith is the road to non-duality,
Because the non-dual is one with the trusting mind.