Do you trust in God?

I was asked this question yesterday and couldn’t give an immediate answer.

As usual, it depends on a lot of things.

What do you mean by God?

What does it mean to trust God?

And what parts of me are you referring to?


Do you mean life or all of existence?

Or do you mean a segment of all there is? Perhaps an image of a higher being? Light and love? Something wise and loving guiding our life? Something else?


Does it mean to trust that everything, no matter what happens, is fundamentally OK?

That I can get what I ask for, or something better? (According to what definition?)

That something wise and loving is guiding my life or life in general?


Do you mean my conscious view? (Which is just the tip of the iceberg, not always what I perceive and live from, and – in some ways – the least interesting.)

Do you mean all the different parts of me? (Some may trust life as it is, and many are likely caught up in fear and fearful stories and don’t trust life so much.)


As usual, I tend to be overly sincere in trying to answer these questions, and a bit of a party pooper if you want a simple answer. Personally, I find these kinds of explorations more interesting.

I also like to take a pragmatic approach to these questions, so what’s the pragmatic approach here?

First, what do I mean by God? For me, it’s all of existence, life, what is as it is.

What do I mean by trust? A starting point may be to take it as trusting that life is OK as is.

How does it look to trust life? And how can I deepen into that trust?


In my experience, parts of me don’t trust life when they are caught up in unloved fear and unexamined fearful stories. These are contractions that live their own life, perceive the world a particular way, and color how I – as a whole and as a human being in the world – perceive and live my life. They are always here coloring perceptions and decisions, and they are sometimes more obviously triggered – often by certain life situations and events.

So one answer is to find healing in my relationship to triggers in life and what’s triggered in me. Can I befriend the contractions in me? Get to know them? Give them what they want and need? Fulfill the sense of lack they are coming from? (This tends to happen naturally when I recognize what they need, the lack, and rest with it.)

What’s the unexamined stressful story (or stories) behind the contraction? What do I find if I examine this more in-depth and find what’s genuinely more true for me? (This may happen easily and naturally, and sometimes it helps to engage in a more structured inquiry.)

Can I recognize the nature of the contraction? What happens when I rest in that noticing? What happens when I invite the contraction to rest in noticing its own nature?

Willing to enter the scary areas because we trust it can be resolved

In one of my trainings with David Berceli, the founder of Tension & Trauma Release Exercises (TRE), he mentioned that he is willing to be traumatized since he knows how to release it.

Specifically, if he goes into a disaster area and works with people there, he may experience second-hand trauma, and that’s OK with him since he knows what to do with it. It’s worth it. (I think he also mentions this in his book The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process.)

I find that too in working with clients, and also if that client is me.

The more I trust that whatever I encounter can be resolved, I am willing to – and even eager to – meet and explore areas in myself that may initially seem a bit scary.

What is this trust specifically in, and how is it built?

If there is something in me I am scared of approaching, I have (at least) two options. I can heal my relationship to it, and I can invite the issue itself to heal and resolve. Most of the time, it’s helpful to address both of these.

And the trust itself is built over time as we gain experience, skills, and find effective tools. And as we see that these scary areas may not be as scary as they initially seemed, that our relationship to them can be healed, and that the issues themselves often can be healed and resolved – at least to some extent and more as we keep exploring them. (Issues that are deeply ingrained and have several roots and branches may take longer.)

And how do we invite in this healing and resolution? Through, for instance, forms of inquiry, heart practices, therapeutic tremoring, energy work, and more. (I have written about this in other articles.)

The other side of this is facing scary life situations. This is often how I notice unhealed and unexamined parts of myself, and as I take care of these the triggering situation will seem easier to deal with. Over time, life as a whole may seem a lot less scary.

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Desperation & Trust

Natural rest and inquiry are both about noticing and allowing.

In natural rest, we notice what’s here and allow it to be as is. We may also notice that what’s here is already allowed (by life, mind), and shift into more consciously aligning with that allowing.

In inquiry, we ask simple questions (wordlessly or with words) to notice what’s already here, and arrive at a place of effortless noticing and allowing.

It’s not about manipulation or creating something new.

It may not seem very exciting. It may not seem to lead anywhere we are not already familiar with, and what we are familiar with may not be completely satisfying.

So why would we want to explore natural rest or inquiry? Why would we want to see what’s here, and find an allowing of it as is?

To arrive at this place we may need desperation or trust, or a combination of the two.

We may come to it from desperation after having tried a wide range of other approaches, usually of the manipulation kind, and see that they don’t really work. We may come from trust. Either trust in the facilitator and the approach, or that what’s here is OK or perhaps even what we want.

And that’s perhaps where readiness comes in. When we see that the manipulation game isn’t entirely satisfying, we are more ready for engaging in the noticing and allowing form of exploration. And similarly, when we find a deeper trust that what’s here is fundamentally OK as is, we may be more ready for noticing and allowing.

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Creating and seeing through 

Creating and seeing through.

For me, they go hand in hand.

The creating is creating in an ordinary sense. Making a life. Being a good steward of our life. Envision. Follow through. Follow our guidance. Cooperate. And more.

Seeing through can happen in different ways, including more systematically through inquiry. This either requires some desperation and disillusionment with other approaches, or trust or intuition that life, reality, truth, and who and what we are is fundamentally OK. Or a combination of these.

Seeing through can seem scary. We need to face what seems the most scary to us. We need to feel the most uncomfortable feelings. It can take away most or all of what we relied on to find a sense of safety.

And yet, what’s “taken away” is what wasn’t true in the first place. What’s taken away is what we thought was true, and experienced as true.

This reveals what’s already here. What a thought may call presence, clarity, love, intelligence, engagement, intimacy with life. An intimacy that comes from life recognizing itself as this, and this life, this human being in the world, and the world itself.

Creating is natural. Seeing through is equally natural. And we usually need some guidance on both, especially at first.

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Barry: Remember the real support is not from a human being but from God

Remember the real support is not from a human being but from God. God may provide a human being as a means but not the Source. This is about walking through fear into faith and the mystery. It is the ONLY way to get free and deepen your communion with the Divine. You know what you have to do when those sweet moments are present with no fear. Listen to those and when the fear thoughts come, don’t give them power. Remember where they are coming from. Love, b

– Barry, in an email to me

During the recent “dark night” deep, primal survival fears have surfaced. And since it’s combined with chronic fatigue, a sense of dependency and neediness has surfaced.

All of it surfaces to be seen, felt and loved, and recognized as love. It’s worried love. It’s what happens when the love we are is filtered through temporary identifications.

Giving it over, guidance, asking

During the initial awakening phase – the first ten years or so – it was easy, and in a sense inevitable, to…..

(a) Give it all over to the divine, to God, Christ: my whole life, any hangups, confusion, fears, identifications, and the present, past, future. This is really just setting an intention to shift the center of gravity from identification to that which is already not identified, from being caught in a very human confusion to shift into presence, love, awakeness.

(b) Follow my inner guidance, the quiet inner voice. This was strong, and I typically followed it in small and larger things.

(c) Trust in life, in Spirit, that what happens – however thoughts may label it – is the very best that possibly could happen.

(d) Being a good steward of my life. I studied  and worked very conscientiously, made a plan for my life, lived (mostly) in integrity, and so on.

Then, during the dark night of the soul, these went away. It all fell away and apart.

Now, there is an invitation to find back to it again, perhaps in a slightly different context. Less as a superman and more as an ordinary human being.

There may be another difference. Then, I said a very sincere “dangerous” prayer: Let me awaken fully, and live it fully in this life, no matter what it will cost.  And now, I wish for a more gentle and kind process, coming from a very ordinary kindness towards myself and those around me. And I also give that wish over to the divine.

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Basic goodness

If we are willing to take an unbiased look, we will find that, in spite of all of our problems and confusion, all our emotional and psychological ups and downs, there is something basically good about our existence as human beings… Every human being has a basic nature of goodness, which is undiluted and unconfused. That goodness contains tremendous gentleness and appreciation.

Chögyam Trungpa, The Sacred Path of the Warrior

Why do I resist experience? Why do I go into beliefs? Why is there identification with that sense of I?

I find it is because of a basic lack of trust in existence. A basic belief that existence cannot be trusted, and this human self cannot be trusted. So I need to take charge. I need to resist certain experiences. I need to take refuge in beliefs to find safety. There has to be identification with this sense of I to make sure it does what needs to be done. It cannot be trusted to function on its own.

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Inquiry as devotion

Heart, mind, belly, action. They are all aspects and expressions of the same.

With a clear view comes kindness, a sense of unshakeable trust in existence, and a life lived from this. With an open heart, a receptivity of view and trust lived in daily life. With a deep sense of trust, a receptivity of heart and view, lived through our human life. (On the path, it often looks more messy and not so clear cut, of course. One may be more receptive than the others at different times. One or more of the others won’t follow so easily due to beliefs clouding it up. And so on.)

No wonder this is also expressed in our practice.

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We can have trust in something, but if we do we depend on whatever we have trust in being available to us, and we are also likely to be disappointed.

Another approach is to realize that this trust awakened in us by something in the world, is right here now. It can be found independent on circumstances. And it is really just trust. Not in anything in particular. Or maybe, in life, existence, what is.

One way it may emerge is through certain explorations, such as wholeheartedly allowing any experience, and being open to investigating any belief.

When I wholeheartedly allow what I am experiencing right now, especially those experiences that seem the most scary, I find that it is OK. I can be with it, allow it, as it is, as if it would never change. It may be more than OK.

Even as the content of experience stays much the same, there may also be a shift into a sense of nurturing fullness and a quiet joy. A quiet joy in just experiencing, independent of the content of experience, revealed when I don’t struggle against it.

And when I investigate beliefs, including those that seem most untouchable or create the most stress for me, I find that the belief, and what it refers to, also are OK. And again, it may be more than OK. I may find the gifts in the reversals of the initial belief, a release of identification out of the initial story and its reversals, and clarity.

In both cases, I may find a genuine appreciation for what is, as it is.

There is a receptivity of the heart and mind, and this invites in a sense of trust in nothing in particular, or in what is, as it is.

And this trust eventually is experienced in the belly center. It becomes a deeply felt trust. A sense of nurturing fullness of the belly center, and in experience in general.

Belly center

I keep noticing the effects of the belly center… the sense of nurturing fullness and trust. Just trust, not in anything in particular, so in a sense in existence itself. The trust that comes when emotions are less reactive and there is less fear.

I also see that this is what was missing for me during the initial awakening, in my teens. The heart and view centers were blown open, all was seen and loved as God, but the felt-sense of all as God as missing. View and head had reorganized within this new context of all as God, but the emotions had not yet. That took longer.

The fullness of the belly center gives a sense of nurturing fullness and trust, which helps our human self in its daily life. In an awakening, it gives a felt-sense of all as God. And it also invites an awakening, through allowing this human self to relax and let go of attachments a little more. It is held within this sense of nurturing fullness and trust, so it is easier for what we are – awakeness – to notice itself.

So before awakening, when the centers are more alive, there is a more fluid view (head), a more open heart (heart), and a felt-sense of nurturing fullness and trust (belly). All of this makes it easier for us to notice what we already are (awakeness), and it also helps our human self reorganize to express this more easily when it is noticed.

And when what we are awakens to itself, the centers allows it to see all as God (head), have a felt-sense of all as God (belly), and love it all as God (heart). Our view, emotions and heart reorganizes within this new (newly noticed) context of all as God.

How do we work with the belly center? Any body-oriented practice may help, and any energetic work in the belly/hara region. I also guess that some thorough, felt-sensed, shadow work helps the process. Maybe most importantly, whatever other work we are doing, we can invite in a felt-sense of our experience, including any insights we may have.

A felt-sense of all as God

The belly center has to do with a felt-sense of all as God… a sense of deep full nurturing, of all as safe, a trust in life and existence, and the emotional level reorganizing in this context.

At the relative level, all is of course not OK for the body… it can be temporarily OK, but disease, accidents, and old age are just around the corner. The body is doomed. So to say that it is all OK in this context does not make sense, other than as a temporary state.

But at the absolute level, all is OK… we find ourselves as awake void and whatever arises, free from an exclusive identification with anything arising in content, including the body. And within this context, freed from being identified with and taken as a separate self, an I with an Other, the body can deeply relax, find a deeply nurturing fullness, find a felt-sense of trust in life and all as OK, God’s will, and Spirit itself.

There are several ways into this…

One is through inquiry, allowing identifications with identities fall away including with the body. As long as the body is taken as I, there will be a sense of unease and tension in the body, it is guarded. The emotions and behaviors are, at least in some areas, reactive. As this identification falls away, there is a deepening sense of comfort, relaxation and alertness, and of a stable nurturing fullness from the emotional level.

Another is through body inclusive practices, such as Breema, where we drop into this sense of deep nurturing fullness and support from the hara (belly area) and the emotional level. We have a taste of it, and as we continuing practice, it deepens and becomes more and more stably available. Through this process, the identifications with body etc. gradually seems to wear off.

So we can allow beliefs to fall away, revealing the inherent nurturing fullness of the body to surface. Or we can drop right into it, allowing identifications to wear off over time.

As we explore this, we see an apparent paradox: no matter what happens with the body at a physical level, there can be a deep felt-sense of all as OK, a nurturing fullness, an absence of emotional/behavioral reactiveness, a stable support from the emotional level, a felt trust in life and existence, and a felt-sense of all as God’s will and Spirit itself.

Of course, we still do what we can to take care of the body, with less drama and probably more effectively than when it is identified with. But even if it is going through disease, pain, old age, dying, there is still the felt-sense of all as OK, of a trust in life as it is, of all as God.

And this is far beyond what we can make any conscious decision about, or what our conscious thinking-mind and beliefs can even touch. It has to come from genuinely seeing through the identifications, or certain body-inclusive practices, or both.

Three centers

These are some things from preliminary explorations of the three centers… or rather, how Spirit is filtered through the three centers, and then in turn filtered through this human self. (As it is alive in immediate awareness.)

How Spirit is filtered through each…

  • Heart… as alive presence. In general as a field of alive presence, in the heart region as the indwelling God, this alive presence specifically for this individual.
  • Head… as awake luminous void, and all form as this awake void, inherent absent of an I with an Other.
  • Belly… as smooth velvety round full luminous blackness.

Each of these are a field… what form arises within, to and as. Each one, transparent to the Ground, and no other than Ground itself. Each one, impersonal and personal (specifically for this, and any, human self) at the same time. Each one, infinitely loving, intelligent, receptive, and responsive to this (and any) individual.

When these centers are awakened, even in an early phase, it allows for a seeing (head), loving (heart) and feeling (belly) of all as Spirit (Big Mind, Brahman, Tao). It is Spirit filtered through each center, and then seeing/loving/feeling itself through them.

At the human level, an awakened (even partially) center, allows for…

  • Heart… receptivity, seeing myself in others, recognition, empathy, sense of intimacy, no separation.
  • Head… receptivity, seeing stories as only stories, seeing the grain of truth in all the reversals of any story, revealing the inherent neutrality of the situation.
  • Belly… a felt-sense of deep trust, safety, allowing for a deep reorganization and healing of the human self, especially at the emotional level.

The three centers are really one system… the deep felt-sense of trust from the belly center invites for a receptivity of the heart and head centers. The receptivity of the heart centers invites a receptivity of the head center, and also a deepening felt-sense of trust and safety. And the same goes for the head center.

The beauty of Spirit filtered through these three centers is how it allows for the impersonal aspects of Spirit and also the personal, the ones specifically for this and any other individual. It naturally and effortlessly seems to allow both into the foreground of awareness.

I also see how they each have come through in different phases of my life, allowing for an easier differentiation of each one. During the initial awakening, the head center awakened allowing for a seeing of all form as awake luminous void, inherently absent of any separate self anywhere. Then, the heart center awakened strongly, allowing for a loving of all as God, as Spirit. Then, over the last few months (partly through Breema, and partly through the endarkenment shift) the belly center, revealing all form as luminous blackness, velvety smooth, round, full, allowing for a deep sense of safety and trust for this human self, and a reorganization especially on the emotional level.

Belly area spine, and energetic hole

During fall and winter, I experienced a lot of (energetic) activity in the hara area, and specifically around the spine (L3-4)…

Since the initial awakening in my teens, I have been aware of an energetic hole that area. I also had scoliosis (side curve) right there, which since then has improved quite a bit with consistent work, shifting into a slight kyphosis (in-out curve).

With the endarkenment shift, there was a sense of a good deal of activity and work happening in that area. And now, the energetic hole is filled in and the area feels much stronger and more solid in general. The remaining alignment of the vertebrae has also improved (just a subtle in/out alignment left for a couple of vertebrae).

The area also seems connected with basic trust, in Existence, life, and ultimately God. The energetic hole seemed, even back in my teens, associate with a lack of basic trust (even in the midst of experiencing all as awake, empty luminosity, and as God). And now, with it filling up, there is a much deeper sense of basic trust… of being held… in and as the luminous blackness.

The human self not trusting it can function well without being identified with

When the Ground of emptiness awakens to itself, it can be very odd for our human self. It is used to being identified with, and no it is suddenly not identified with anymore.

It realizes that it is just happening, just as everything else is just happening.

There are still sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations, thoughts, choices, actions, relationships and everything else, but it is just happening on its own. It is all living its own life. There is lots of doing, but no doer anywhere. There is just a field of what is happening… this room, the sound of the dehumidifier, the cat walking up to connect, the chill on the fingers, tapping of the keys, thoughts arising reflected in words on the screen, getting up to get a glass of water… one field, with no part being more or less identified than anything else.

It can be disconcerting for the human self at first. Will it get by without being identified with? Isn’t being identified with, taken as an I, necessary for it to function in the world?

The rug is pulled out from under its feet, the bottom fell out, it is suspended in thin air…

But if it stays with this, it sees that not only can the human self function well without being identified with, it can even function better in relative terms. There is an absence of drama, so just clarity and simplicity… even the most engaged activities happens within a context of utter clarity and simplicity.

In a way, it is a matter of trust. Of the human self trusting it can function OK without being taken as a separate I. Sometimes, emptiness awakens to itself so clearly that all questions are blown away and the awakening is stable. Other times, and maybe more commonly, emptiness awakens to itself many times, each time followed by the human self not quite trusting the shift and going back into safe and familiar ground, and each time becoming a little more familiar with living without being identified with. Each time trusting a little more, until the shift happens in a more stable way.

There never was a separate self in the first place… only awakeness, emptiness and whatever is happening in form… the only difference is that now, this awake emptiness notices itself… and when it does, any exclusive identification with any part of this field goes out the window.

It is seen as simply a belief in the idea of a separate self, as placing a sense of I within a segment of this field and making the rest into Other. Emptiness awakening to itself cleans it all out.

Trust :: Basic and Conventional

As with so many things, it seems that trust too occurs at many levels.

In – or even after – an awakening to selflessness, a fundamental trust in existence arises on its own. It is all revealed as the ground forming itself into myriad of phenomena, as consciousness, or as God. There is no Other to distrust here.

But there is still the conditioning of our human self, which brings about a mix of trust and distrust. This is not a problem in the context of selflessness, the distrust and hangups and everything else is also emptiness dancing. At the same time, it is also something to work on, in the context of our development, maturing and evolution at human and soul levels.

Meditation is one way to allow this basic trust to sink in at our human level.

And it seems that the many forms of inquiry do the same.

Process Work unfolds the profound wisdom and healing behind what initially appears as a problem. Byron Katie’s inquiry into beliefs does the same, uncovering the gifts within what appeared as a stressful thought. The Big Mind process shows the profound wisdom behind all the ways the mind functions, on personal and transpersonal levels. And a more free-form inquiry, from innocent curiosity into what is happening, seems to unfold the same.

So in terms of the various levels, there seems to be…

Basic trust

A basic trust in Existence – as nondual, consciousness, the many forms of ground, waves on the ocean, the play of God, emptiness dancing.

A deepening trust in existence at our human level, seeing that there is healing within symptoms (Process Work), clarity within stress (Byron Katie), and wisdom within all the ways the mind functions (Big Mind). This is a process that deepens over time, through experience – over and over – with these and other forms of inquiries.

Both of these forms of trust – the transcendent and personal – are basic, not dependent of the specifics of the situation.

Conventional trust and distrust

And then there is the more conventional level of trust and distrust, the discernment, discriminating wisdom. This too deepens and matures over time, through experience. We learn to trust in certain ways and to be cautious in other ways. We learn to trust certain people in certain situations (maybe most), yet remain some caution in other situations.

Coexistence of basic and conventional trust

The conventional level can quite easily co-exist with the deeper level of trust.

It provides an overlay of conventional trust and distrust arising from the specific situation, on top of basic trust in existence which is there independent on the specifics of the situation.

Conditioned and unconditioned

The basic trust is unconditioned in the sense that it is independent of the specifics of the situation. But it is also conditioned – the transcendent trust on awakening, and the personal trust on inquiry and reconditioning (rewiring at our human level).

The conventional trust is always conditioned on the specific situation.