TRUST – Lessons in Trust as the Stakes Get Higher

“Love is beautiful, but changing. It is beautiful but cannot be relied upon; today it is there, tomorrow it is gone. It is more juicy than trust, more natural than trust, but trust is a higher quality.”

Osho, The Path of the Mystic, Talk #33

In November 2009 Naveena and I had been living in Goa for two years. Our daughter Koyal was born there in October and a couple of days afterwards I decided to get out for a drive. There was a storm brewing but it didn’t look anything out of the ordinary.

I drove up past Arambol to Querem but the beach there was bleak and windswept, so I headed back at Arambol, and parked up on the edge of the village. The winds were growing, so I didn’t even get out of the car, just turned it around on the packed sand track and decided to roll a cigarette before heading home.

As the tobacco nestled into the paper I watched as if in a dream, a big tree slowly topple across the track a few meters in front of me. In the same moment behind me I glimpsed, as a whirlwind of leaves and debris hurled itself against the windscreen, a grove of coconut palms tilt and hit the ground. A roof flapped off somewhere ahead and a smattering of plastic tarpaulins and corrugated iron sheets collapsed into the road in front of a row of shacks.

It was all over in a minute. A chilling feeling of total unreality hit me as I looked up to see blue sky overhead. All I knew in that moment was that I wanted OUT, back to Naveena and our newborn baby as fast as I could make it. Who knows what had happened elsewhere? Maybe the main road would be blocked? Perhaps there was another freak tornado on its way?

The only way out lay behind me and over the low dunes to the beach. The fallen palms blocked all but one route and I meandered the car through them to find a low concrete wall running right across my escape route. Clearly my only choice was to try driving over it.

The underside of the car scraped over the wall but once on the other side it was plain sailing. I soon hit the firmer sand of the beach and careened back into the village. There was no sign of damage, Arambol’s slow pre-season life seemed to be going on as normal; and I realized that the tornado must have only clipped a narrow path on its way out over the ocean.

The biggest shock, even beyond the ‘I could so easily have been killed!’ thoughts that tormented me all the way home, was that I could no longer afford to take risks – that I wasn’t prepared to take risks any more.  Life for Naveena and Koyal would be so tough if I suddenly disappeared from Planet Earth.

A couple of months later, 13th Feb 2010 it was the same message. The aftermath of the bombing of the German Bakery in Pune (see saw me racing through empty streets, grey with fog and with a sense of the day after doomsday hanging in the air. I had only one thing on my mind: to drive back home to Naveena and Koyal in Goa as soon as possible. I’d had a few hours fitful sleep and hit the road at 4am, giving the crime scene a wide berth, swerving past barriers and using the wrong side of the closed off roads. Only once I was out of Pune on the Expressway for the start of the nine-hour drive, did I dare to breathe. Our safe little spiritual nook in India had been thrust into the world of terrorist atrocities. I was terrified of my own desperate need to stay alive.

A third experience, six years later, reinforced my anxieties but provided an inkling of the trust in Existence that Osho has shown us to be the only way out. I was up in the low hills above our home village of Assagao in Goa, perhaps only twenty minutes easy walk away from houses and roads, but far enough that a shout for help would be useless. My wandering took me through the usual mixture of abandoned cashew plantations, recently-planted eucalyptus and wild shrub, with tumbledown walls, thorny pits and rock outcroppings the main obstacles.  Hills like this are almost totally unvisited these days as Goans concentrate on making a living from tourists in the valleys and beaches. (see Seven Sacred Springs

On this occasion, my head in the clouds as usual, I stepped onto the foot-high remains of a wall. Something made me look down in that moment and my blood froze as I saw, nestled right beside my foot, a coiled Russell’s viper. Once again a sense of total unreality set in as I watched myself calmly remove my foot and step back a couple of paces as, equally calmly, the snake slithered off into the undergrowth. Seconds later my mind exploded: a Russell’s? The snake with the fastest strike from a coiled position of any snake in India! Its venom deadly unless treatment is received immediately! I would have had no chance of making it down to the village if it had struck!

Such thoughts overwhelmed me as I stumbled back home,my heart pounding. But the trace of another awareness lay under them. Nothing happened. What could have happened is just a thought process with which I am unnecessarily disturbing myself. In fact, reflecting on the moment of our encounter, I saw how both the snake and I had been utterly relaxed and had known exactly what to do to protect ourselves.

Something much deeper than my everyday mind had in fact acted from what Osho named ‘trust’. It stands in immediate opposition to fear and anxiety as a choice that can be made. Trusting is a choice I have to remind myself again and again to make as I fall repeatedly under spell of the conditioning around parenthood: the worry of responsibility for another human being; the anxiety around optimally performing the protective and providing role of the husband and father; the fear my death would be an abnegation of responsibility.

Trust as antidote as the stakes get higher.

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