children playing

Today we ask you to relax and trust.

Relax and trust.

Most people live in a state of chronic tension and mistrust.  The world is a bad, dangerous place.  You must be on constant guard against threats and enemies.  The minute you relax, you are going to get hurt.  

People locked into this way of being think that it keeps them safe.  But really it just perpetuates the dangers people wish to avoid.  Tense, vigilant, defensive people tend to be impulsive and aggressive.  They do not think clearly, and do foolish, regrettable things.

Tense, vigilant people start wars.  They attack others without provocation.  They increase danger in the world.

That is why it is so important to cultivate a relaxed, trusting way of being.

Relaxed, trusting people create peace.

Tense, mistrustful people create wars.

This happens on a small, individual scale, and on a widespread, global scale.

Of course, relaxing and trusting is not always so easy.  In fact, relaxing and trusting is quite challenging.  For many, it’s much harder to relax and trust than to be tense and wary.

That is because most humans endure many traumatic experiences in their lives, and this breeds tension and mistrust.  People are like abused cats and dogs — growling and hissing at the world, because they have been treated unkindly.

Many people devote their lives to rehabilitating abused animals.  They treat animals with love and kindness, so that they can gradually relax and trust again.

It is much easier to rehabilitate a traumatized animal, than a traumatized human.

That is because abused cats and dogs do not sit around reliving bad experiences in their minds.  While they may become reactive around certain triggers, given enough time and care, most animals become more relaxed and trusting.  Animals do not hold on to their pasts.  They do not seek vengeance, or demand justice.

So part of learning to relax and trust means letting go of the past.  It means letting go of the need for vengeance, or justice.

While many people ardently believe that wrongdoers must be brought to justice, in general the human desire for vengeance and justice only perpetuates violence in this world.  People can hold on to their grievances and traumas for generations — something no animal can do!  There are people in this world still fighting wars that are centuries old.  Parents pass these historical traumas down to their children, teaching them to hate certain enemies, teaching them that the world is a hostile and dangerous place.

Going against this tide, teaching people to relax and trust — truly this is some of the greatest work any human can do in this world.

But how can people relax and trust, when the world is in fact cruel and dangerous?  That is the question.  Isn’t it wisdom to teach children to be on their guard against threats?  

Of course it is necessary to teach children not to stick their fingers in electrical sockets, or run out into the road in front of moving cars.  That is only intelligent.

But it is just as important to create a relaxed environment for children, in which they can learn and explore and feel safe.  Where they can trust the world around them.  Where they can trust people.  This is the essence of good parenting, and the most useful thing anyone can do for a child.

Children should be taught not to stick their fingers in electrical sockets — but they should not be taught that their world is hostile and dangerous.

But tense, vigilant parents have a way of raising tense, vigilant children.

So relaxing and trusting — it must begin with the individual.  You can’t teach others to relax if you can’t relax yourself.  It must begin with you.  You, and no one else.

Are you a person who can relax, and trust?

If not, why not?  What are all the things that are stopping you?  Usually people have a long list.

And it is fine to make a list.  It is even better to write down all the reasons you can’t relax and trust today.  

Because if you carefully examine your list of reasons, you may discover that they are not quite as true as you might believe.

Maybe you have a stressful, high pressure job.  You think you cannot relax because then you won’t get the work done.  Certainly you can’t trust other people.  Unless you stay on top of things, they will let you down.  Or you will fail their expectations and they’ll judge you.  

But wouldn’t cultivating some time and space today to relax your body and mind only help your job performance?  Perhaps if you had a more open, trusting attitude toward people they would feel more relaxed around you in turn, allowing better communication.  This doesn’t mean you should be a doormat.  But softening your wariness of others, giving people a chance, assuming they are innocent until proven guilty — isn’t it possible that this would only improve your work relationships?

There are few situations that can’t be improved by cultivating relaxation and trust.

Yes, there are times and places where people mean to do others harm.  There are criminals and crazy people in this world.  Some people cannot be trusted, it is true.

But most people can.  And it is important to remember that.

Some people are dangerous.  They are like electrical sockets.

But most people are basically good.

It is good to teach children to avoid electrical sockets.  But it is more important to create space for children to play freely in parks and playgrounds.  Adults should supervise, but it is good for children to play and explore and feel safe in the world.

Unfortunately, many children grow up to believe that the world is nothing but electrical sockets.

And many adults walk around in life like the world is nothing but electrical sockets.

Usually this is because they have been shocked a few times, or many times — and now all they can think about is how much they fear and hate electrical sockets.  

If you are like this, the remedy is to give yourself time and space to play and explore safely, like a child.

Seek out places where it is easy for you to relax.  Seek out people that you trust.

Spend as much as time as you can in those places, with those people.

Become a person other people can trust.

If enough people relaxed and trusted, and helped others to relax and trust — your whole world would heal.

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