What’s the difference between faith and trust? This is a question that we in the colonial world must ask ourselves quite often. We have been socialized here in this hyper religious nation to place faith in a very special position in our lives. It is sacrosanct. Even the most logical and practical person is willing to base some aspect of their concepts of reality on the faith in something that they have only been told about by people who apparently do not have their best interests at heart.
We are encouraged to have faith in our government and our political leaders, but it is clear to most people in a state like Illinois and even more in a city like Chicago that faith in the system is the faith that only a fool would possess or an insider would profess. Having faith in the gods of the colonial religions, well, realistically they are all the same god, presents as much of a dilemma as faith in a politician. How can we have faith in a god that is professed by the people who have oppressed the world for thousands of years? Again, one would seem to be a fool or an insider to take such a position, especially considering the irrational literature upon which this faith is based.
What about trust? Is trust just a softer version of faith? Don’t we have plastered all over the paper that we use the phrase, “In God We Trust”? This poses a dilemma for the seeker after spiritual enlightenment, because the spiritual worlds are worlds of the unseen. They exist in a field that is beyond the limited dimensions of human perception, and yet, something begins to be perceived as the mind is awakened to a wider set of senses beyond the usual five we are so accustomed to. Are we supposed trust these unseen realities and promises yet to be fulfilled?
In the final analysis, we must learn to trust something or we will fall headlong into a spiraling well of mystery and fear. We must trust our teachers, and we must trust ourselves. It is only trust that allows us to extend ourselves beyond the realm of the practical and sensible disbelief in a world that we have never experienced. We follow the instructions and, if we are wise, we have no pre-conceived notions about the result that these instructions will reveal.
Is it faith or is it trust that we must have when our perceptions begin to expand and our life begins to take on a different dimension that is nothing like anything that we could have imagined? Do we trust what we see when seeing happens in spite of our eyes instead of because of them? Do we trust what we hear when our ears become superfluous to the sounds that layer in upon us beyond the echoes and whispers of the physical world? Do we trust the dreams that fill our sleep when they become as real as the world that we live in when we are awake?
Perhaps the key is to let go of all expectations of what we think our experience is supposed to be. We must detach ourselves from the futures that populate the landscape of our imagination and give in to the reality of each moment as a fresh and pungent expression of existence as it is here and now. There can be no promised tomorrows, because if there are, we are left once again with the faith that is ultimately the folly of the neophyte and the corruption of the path of every honest seeker. In the end, we must acknowledge that we just don’t know what the future will bring.
Our minds are only the small minds of humans and we are slowly and gently pushing the boundaries of our perceptions to allow our experience to come closer to the world of the Gods. In that moment when or minds expand beyond the limits of human experience, perhaps we will no longer be called human, and that must be our goal. To become something more than what we are today.
If what we are tomorrow is more than what we are today, if the world that our future self perceives is more vast and more present than the world of today, how can the mind of today perceive that new world that lies just beyond the horizon of our current perceptions? The future self is another being that exists in a realm that the mind of today can only imagine. All that is left for the mind of today is the perception of the existence that it is capable of experiencing in the moment that it is perceived. To perceive the future self in it’s entirety is to limit the future self to the small world that the mind of today is capable of containing. We must therefore detach ourselves from any concept of what we might believe our future self to be or risk falling prey to the traps of faith in a future that we can never truly know.