Today we ask that you approach life with a spirit of trust.
We know that this is hard for many people. Many people have had traumatic experiences that have hardened their hearts, and made it difficult to be trusting. To trust is to be hurt; to expose a soft, fragile part of yourself to a cruel, uncaring world.
But this is an incorrect view of things.
Perhaps you are not as soft, fragile and wounded as you think you are.
Little children appear to be soft and fragile. But really, they are incredibly strong, and robust. When they are learning how to navigate in the world, they are always falling down, and hurting themselves.
Imagine if a little child, in the process of learning how to walk, fell down and hurt himself and decided: “Well, that’s it. I’m never going to walk. I’m done trying. Forget it.”
Children, of course, do not do this. They have a good cry about it, and then soon enough they’re at it again. Eventually they stop falling as much.
But adults tend to fall down and hurt themselves and say: “That’s it. I’m finished.”
What is the difference between the child and the adult?
The child’s mind does not create an elaborate story around falling down. Some children are certainly more tentative than others, more fearful — but the little child’s imagination isn’t as active.
In short, the little child doesn’t sit around reliving the hurts in his imagination. He falls down, has a good cry. Then moves on to the next thing.
But as the child grows, he is continually told by well-meaning adults that the world is a threatening place, and he must forever be on his guard against danger.
Also, he is taught that it is not okay to make mistakes. He must do everything he can to avoid making mistakes, because mistakes mean failure and disapproval.
His only real defense against making mistakes is his mind. By sitting around imagining all the potential mistakes he might make, and vigilantly guarding against them, he can protect himself from future failure and pain.
This is how the robust, adventurous child is socialized into a neurotic, tense adult. Traumatic episodes then become causes of complete paralysis.
In truth, traumatic episodes are temporary. They happen. They may last for a period of time. But then it is over.
It is the mind that makes them permanent.
It is possible to live life with all the robustness of a little child.
First, you must know that it is okay to fall down. It is okay to make mistakes. It is okay to “fail.”
You are not failing any more than the child who stumbles as he learns to walk is failing.
You are not failing. You are learning.
How else can you learn, except by making “mistakes”?
It is crazy to tell yourself that you are never allowed to make mistakes, that you must do everything right all the time.
Also, it is not the world that has failed you.
Even if you have been hurt many times, the world goes on being a wonderful place in which to learn, grow and explore — just as it is for little children.
This is not to say that terribly traumatic events do not occur.
But the day after the tragedy, the sun still rises. The birds still sing.
And it is still possible to trust.
It is okay to fall down and get hurt. It really is. And when it happens, cry! Cry, wail, release all the pain and fear. Take as long as you need.
But eventually you will be strong enough to pick yourself up and walk again. You are robust. You have a natural vitality, a body that heals, a heart that heals.
It is the mind that blocks you. The imagined fears, the trauma that you now relive over and over again.
And still — the sun rises. The birds sing.
Let go of the old hurts. It is safe to walk about, and play.
It is a good world, really. Trust it.