Trusting or fearing the unknown future
The present moment is always presenting us with surprising events. The now unfolds the whole spectrum of events ranging from trivial everyday occurrences to shocking life-altering emergencies. Now is always in motion and what we perceive as the future comes from a direction we never see coming. Knowledge prepares us by utilizing predictive probabilities, yet despite our best planning we all face circumstances that catch us off guard. All of our intellectual defenses are rendered useless in a moment of panic as if a cosmic trickster had briefly pulled down our pants. We are fully exposed. How the unknown chooses to unfold itself is a mystery that is so terrifying that it is the root of all anxiety, but it is at the same time the novelty factor that makes us wonder what is in store for us next.
It becomes difficult to handle the prospect that terrible disasters may happen to us or our loved ones at any time. If we always worry about sudden danger then it consumes us, but even if we ignore it completely it doesn’t prevent the tragedy from coming. We face this dilemma with one of two responses: resistance/fear or acceptance/trust. Fear of sudden disaster pulls at you to tense up the way you would protect yourself from being hit. You tighten the muscles before collision. In some, this fear is triggered so often that their everyday life is filled with terror. Resistance to the unknown makes us so conditioned to anticipating the worst that we feel like victims of a malevolent god that wants to punish us with minor inconveniences. Fear is an expectation that the unknown future will turn out bad, but we can equally adopt a different mindset that trusts the unknown future will work out as it should.
Trust, in the Buddhist sense, is almost synonymous with faith. The notion of faith is almost appalling in the modern scientific perspective. Atheists argue that it is simply wishful thinking to believe one had help from spiritual realms. Trust is not hoping that your deity will deliver only good phenomena, but accepting all phenomena good or bad as necessary stages in your learning process. Acceptance makes room for the possibility that when you trust in nature, and in human nature, you will sometimes get burned. Neither resisting nor avoiding pain prevents it from happening so you find out that it is the resistance to pain that hurts more than pain itself. Trust implies there is intelligence behind the sequence of unfolding events, whereas fear implies that all events are chaotic and random.
What is coming down the pipeline for us? No one can be certain until it gets here. Relaxing is how we go with the flow. We need to release our tightened muscles and soften our hearts to the possibility of pain. Predicting what is coming next is an automatic reflex when you moving through your daily life, but if you get upset every time reality doesn’t work out how you predicted then you will always be frustrated. Trust allows us to see life as an unfolding dream that is orchestrated by forces beyond our personal will. You can begin to notice personal coincidences as meaningful reminders of the mystery of life. Like reflecting on the symbols from a dream, you can notice hidden clues in your waking life as well. Trust that intelligent guidance is manifesting in your life and you can begin to heed its call.