Author of the bestselling books The Age of Miracles and A Return to Love, Marianne Williamson turns to the issue of trust: how can we trust ourselves, when we've failed time and time again? How can we trust love, when it abandons us?
Trust is very hard if you don't know what you're trusting. "What? Trust love," you might ask, "when love has abandoned me? Trust myself, when I've blown it so many times? Trust others, when they have always let me down?"
As someone who has faced as much disappointment as most people, I've come to trust not that events will always unfold exactly as I want, but that I will be fine either way. I sense a mysterious force behind what happens in the world, and it seems to me that souls are learning and growing, no matter how things appear. I trust that when people meet, we meet for a transcendent reason, and that the challenges we face in life are always lessons that serve our soul's growth.
A familliar biblical passage puts the issue of trust in perspective. You can build your house on sand, or you can build your house on rock. If you build your house on sand, then the winds will come and the rains will come, and your house will fall down. But if you build your house on rock, then the winds and rains will still come, but your house will remain firm. What this means to me is that if I trust in temporary things to give my life a sense of meaning, then I will always be vulnerable to despair and disappointment. But if I build my house on rock, then my life will remain firm in spite of life's inevitable disappointments.
The rock, of course, is love. People may betray me or disappoint me—but if my heart remains open, I will endure the storm. My job or my house or my money may go—but if my heart remains open, I will endure the storm. The man I love may decide tomorrow that he loves me no more—but if my heart remains open, I will endure the storm.
I trust life not because I trust the world, but because I trust the God who lives in my heart. I try to remind myself not to go anywhere or do anything without asking for spiritual direction through prayer and meditation. I don't trust that there are no muggers in the park, no people who would mistreat my heart. But I trust my intuition, my common sense and my intelligence. I would not enter that park or that relationship or that business situation without first checking in with my internal radar, for that is how God speaks to us.
We are graced with a greater capacity for direct contact with our own higher power than most of us are in the habit of using. When we stay close to the wisdom of our own knowing, seeking solutions to our problems in the sanctuary of the heart and not in the vanity of the mind, then we can pretty much trust in the unfolding, mysterious wisdom of life.
I place my life in the hands of God each day. And I trust that He knows what He's doing, even when I do not.
More Marianne: What you think is what you get
From the October 2000 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
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