Unconditional Trust: The What, Why and How


If I could gift you one thing, I would give you the ability to trust life. The truth is – no matter who we are, where we are from and what we have been through – life will surprise us in both pleasant and unpleasant ways. Even at our personal best, we will have limitations, we won’t know the answers, or we will be humbled if we thought that we’d it all figured out. Many of us deal with life head on. We like to think about what we want and how we want it. Sometimes we are so caught up with our ‘idea of how it is supposed to be’ that we miss our exit in neon red. Be it an unrewarding job, unfulfilling relationships or any other unsatisfactory deal – we get stuck with the packaging so much that we end up wasting precious time and energy. The more time we have spent towards that goal, the harder it gets to get away from it with no returns, even if it becomes clearer that it is not what we thought it was. This is what it truly means when things are not working out – it’s not our door to open and enter, it’s not our gig to run, and it’s not the experience that will benefit us at least right now, though we may vehemently disagree. I’m not implying that we give up on our dreams when difficulties knock; I’m just saying that on the path to our heart’s desire, we need not accept and allow something that compromises our wellbeing, leaves us depleted or brings forth serious doubts in the guts. Pain is expected but putting poison in the mouth is a different ballgame. We swallow poison in the name of love or passion when we are myopic enough to willingly stick with the wrong stuff. We may refuse to see it or hear it but sometimes we need to retreat and leave things alone. Sometimes the situation demands nothing of us, except that we let it go.

Liking our life when things are the way we want them to be, is juvenile and quite a waste of interactive potential. If everything went the way we wanted, there would be no novelty, challenge, learning or adventure to look forward to. Unconditionally trusting life means admitting that we don’t know everything, we may not know what is the right thing and we are willing to accept the guidance that life has to offer. I say so because life is an interactive dynamic fabric enveloping us. People have attributed agency (or unpredictability) to it time and again in the name of karma, law of attraction, butterfly effect or act of God, etcetera. If we are completely honest with ourself, even as atheist and agnostics we can admit that though we do not choose what befalls us, we can choose how we respond to it. When we do not respond well, we get in trouble. We make the wrong choice, we hurt, we suffer and sometimes we develop mental disorders. All I’m saying is that we can learn through ‘NO’ and grow from it. Undesirable endings are not losses or failures. They are beginnings with potential, a call to start again but on a different path. They are opportunities to do things differently. Unconditionally trusting life thus means going for the ‘experience’ and not for the ‘packaging’, that is that person or place or chance, that we think will get us the desired experience. Practising unconditional trust is being flexible about the way life delivers to us, communicates with us and responds to us. We may get what we wanted but not in the way we wanted it. Also, we may not get what we wanted, but we may get something else, possibly better but we can only know that in hindsight. Holding faith through the uncertainties while life builds us the boat to board is what unconditional trust is all about. The only way out is through, not knowing when or how it will make sense. It is this leap of faith that is terrifying, yet necessary and liberating to be honest.

Wherever you are, if you are hurting or doubting, breathe in and breathe out. Feel the knots in your stomach, get brutally honest with yourself and ask – “What is the next right step?” Hear that, feel that if your body eases up no matter how absurd or outrageous the suggestion, do it. We can rationalise thoughts, but feelings cannot be lied to. It won’t be easy. You may end up alone, unsure, in tough spots but as you rise up to trust and meet life, it will return the favour. On your way, your heart will have a song and your mind will have peace. The work that you put in, will invigorate you back. You will have an attitude of reverence and gratitude towards life, softening you up to its miscellaneous offering. Disappointments may still visit, but despair would not weigh you down. If you learn to trust this life, my friend, it will befriend you back and you will know the difference. Just try it and let me know in days, months or years how it went!

Photograph by Randy Heinitz