What Can You Trust?

Doug Powers

Reading by Liz Helgesen (Download file)

Image of the Week

In young people’s minds right now, the main issue is what they can trust in their own experience.

In the 50s and 60s, we trusted ideologies, religions, universities, and economists. There were many levels of expertise in different realms. Individuals trusted that they had goodwill and were trying to do the best they could to understand the very complex mechanisms of modern society and culture.

Now that faith in those people has completely collapsed, they didn’t know where to look. In the 60s and 70s, when we were rebelling against authority, we still had an authority we were rebelling against, so there was still an identity; we were half an identity and half a rebellion. There was still the structure of something. Now, however, there’s no place to look where you can trust the authority or the structure. Intentions are no longer clear. We no longer simply believe that people have goodwill- they might have goodwill, but they’ll probably have other intentions too.

So, the biggest problem is where to look. Now, that starts with a question of authority, but then, it worked into a question of even with each other - in relationships, can we trust each other? And then, we almost got to a place where we don’t even trust ourselves. So now, we’ve worked our way to a point where the only thing we can trust is our own immediate emotion in the moment. I’m not even sure we can trust that, because it seems very unstable. So, the fundamental issue is: where do we look as a sort of ground to examine and determine the thoughts and actions that we’re going to take, to determine on what basis of criteria we are going to use to evaluate our thoughts, actions, and lives that we’re confident in.

Doug Powers is teacher, scholar and a seeker. Excerpt above is taken from this article.

Seed questions for reflection: What is the ground that helps you determine the actions that you are going to take? Can you share a story of a time you lost trust in long-standing institutions and had to find your own ground? What guides you and is stable whenever you reach for it?

Add Your Reflection:

28 Previous Reflections:

  • link
    On May 14, 2020 Sumit Bhatia wrote:
    I am a teacher, and I love teaching! Little less than four years ago, I joined an organization, simply to develop personally & professionally. I was always good at mentoring, hence the graph of my promotion moved high and fast. Soon, there was pressure of performance, targets and visibility, which made me cross my own ethics! Soon, I was two living personalities, doing well in none! My social contacts started getting scanty, people started missing me, whereas on the other side, myprofessional network side went higher and higher! The parents of the organization being highly passionate and goal oriented, the pressure went so high, that it started making me realise, i was not working for my development, but theirs! What I ran for, ignored my family for, compromises my health for, our my own profession at stake for was not my goals, but theirs! I also realised, my core values never matched theirs, and feared becoming someone I never wanted to! CORE VALUES - Core Values are like bric... [View Full Comment] I am a teacher, and I love teaching!

    Little less than four years ago, I joined an organization, simply to develop personally & professionally. I was always good at mentoring, hence the graph of my promotion moved high and fast. Soon, there was pressure of performance, targets and visibility, which made me cross my own ethics! Soon, I was two living personalities, doing well in none! My social contacts started getting scanty, people started missing me, whereas on the other side, myprofessional network side went higher and higher!

    The parents of the organization being highly passionate and goal oriented, the pressure went so high, that it started making me realise, i was not working for my development, but theirs! What I ran for, ignored my family for, compromises my health for, our my own profession at stake for was not my goals, but theirs! I also realised, my core values never matched theirs, and feared becoming someone I never wanted to!

    CORE VALUES - Core Values are like bricks which put together one by one, make up the wall called vision of life! This is what caught my attention. I wrote what attracted me the most, reaching to my own clarity on my core values! Alas! I realised, the mismatched core values of the organization brought me farther and farther from my own life ethics and visions!

    I wrote the pros & cons of discontinuing, and the pros were far higher than the cons! This was a turning point. Shared and talked with two of my family members and three friends, who helped me back my list as well as decision! Left the organization! I miss that, a lot, but it is same as missing the high calorie butteryfood while on a diet and gym regime! We know, 'No pain, no gain!'[Hide Full Comment]

    2 replies: Jane, David | Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 12, 2020 Jane wrote:
    I dont think I ever had trust in long standing institutions - certainly not political - and the crumbling of that old system and order points to the illusions perpetrated. While my nature is to rebel against something I can see how I Iose sight of my own intentions and integrity in that process by making my position right and yours wrong. Now Im tending to what David Papa so beautifully describes. Still a work in progress - I want to rely on all the outer forms and structures at times - but they will disappoint always. I rely on what Eckhart Tolle calls spaciousness or the inner witness or my higher self.

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 12, 2020 Alex wrote:
    My abusive Father began training me at the age of Seven to use my intuition.Ironically, this knowledge helped me protect myself from him. Over several decades of life it is my heart that provides the ground on which I stand. Such listening has served integrity andguidanceindark times and doubt. It is the true source of happiness.

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 12, 2020 Janet wrote:
    I trust my inner direction which is cultivated by being still and listening. It is often prescient and never leads me in the wrong direction.

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 12, 2020 David Papa wrote:
    There is a part of all of us that is stillness. Deep inside, in-between our cells, atoms, and physical matter, and hovering at the edge of our skin. It is a deep alive stillness that is untouched by circumstance. It is like a flame that does not flicker in the wind. It is still, aware, at peace, observing, but not influenced. One teacher I follow calls it the indestructible core. Because it is infinite and never dies. It is You. When I get into that place, through meditation or prayer, or "dropping in", I Trust. Trust just emerges. It is self-evident. It is the wisest part of me knowing how and what to trust, and where to put my energy into action next. May all beings know happiness and freedom. xo

    1 reply: Janet | Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 12, 2020 Veena Panjwani wrote:
    Although a good start of the article, it ends at a question with inappropriate direction. The problem of identity and authority will persist as long as we search for confidence outside of the self. The problem will also persist so long we do not accept diversity in existence as the rule of the nature and we are part of the nature. Individual differences is the key.

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 12, 2020 Patrick wrote:
    It is a good article for as far as it goes. It leaves us to wrestle with the questions ourselves. For me personally, and many who have been brought to their knees, it is about finding trust within the deaths of our hearts, wherein Divine LOVE "speaks" to us. We must start there, with ourselves.

    2 replies: Patrick, Aj | Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 12, 2020 Mark wrote:
    I ask my self who am I? It is a practice from Sri Ramana Maharshi. Each of us has an inner guru, though, like myself it was covered up for most of my life. My practice is taken from David Godmanwho has been practicing it many many years (youtube) and a publication called Who am I written by Ramana Maharshi. Mr. Goodman intreprets some of the hindu terminology that westerners might not understand.

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 12, 2020 Margo wrote:
    Who is the artist of the beautiful image?

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 12, 2020 Patricia wrote:
    I have come to trust my inner guidance, which I recognize as the power of love within me. It is that part of me that is an extension of the loving, intelligent power from which I emerged - sometimes called God, or Source or the Universe or many other names. It is my true identity, but I have not yet been able to experience myself in that way. So, I think of this part of me as a wise friend who knows much more than I do and whom I can trust. It has often led me to places or people I could never have known to seek out on my own. It has inspired choices that my that logical mind would never have made – choices that brought me to exactly where I needed to be at that time in my life. We all have this wisdom within us. We just need to call on it and learn to listen, then trust it enough to take the inspired action. There is no security in the outer world that we can trust better than the security within.

    2 replies: David, Jane | Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 12, 2020 Radhika Agrawal wrote:
    Only the actions and our true efforts matter
    As long as we perform them without any further expectations from it, we will be saved form the disappointment thereon.
    Therefore it is very important to have faith in almighty and leave the results of our actions(karma) upon him.

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 12, 2020 Mamta Nanda wrote:
    There is no one truth. The truth, as you say keeps changing. Perhaps the call of this time of so much uncertainty is to be flexible. Keep listening, and trust the guidance that arises in that moment. The source of this guidance may keep changing. But that is okay. At this time of so much uncertainty and change, it feels as if something new is coming through about trust. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and helping me realise this. Trust has not been easy for me either. The relationship is getting better each day, with each breath.

    1 reply: Jane | Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 11, 2020 Jessie Paul wrote:
    I trust what is life-affirming. Not just human life, but diversity of life. I think actions that protect ecosystems and the environment are the most important.

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 8, 2020 Amy wrote:
    Heaven is the ground that helps determine the actions I am going to take. I have come to learn from the Bible (and personal experience with God/His Saving Power and Plan) that Jesus is The Way, The Truth and The Life. There is nothing/no oneoutsideofHim proven worthy enough to standon! There is a lot of "sinking sand" to be found here on earth. At the foot of The Cross, I am most at home. Amen

    1 reply: Tats | Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 8, 2020 David Doane wrote:
    I listen to and consider input from many sources. Ultimately, the ground that determines the action that I take is my own inner judgment, experience, and wisdom. Once upon a time, I very much respected and trusted institutions. I was naive. I've lost trust in every institution -- including church, government, education, and medicine -- as I came to see that each of them cares only about their company line, each has a great deal of error, each has a great deal of corruption, and each tries to get individuals to trust them instead of one's own self. As I said, I listen to what each institution has to say, and some representatives of each institution make at least some sense to me, and then ultimately the ground I trust and act on is my own sef. My own self isn't always stable, but it is me, and I listen to me more than to any one else and definitely more than to any institution. What guides me is me.

    2 replies: Anjulie, ❤️ | Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 8, 2020 Jagdish P Dave wrote:
    As we grow up we need to make clear choices about many aspects of our life. In order to make wise choices we need to have clear intentions. My decision is usually based on the intention on the ground of good will and greater good not only for me but also for others. That is the main criterion I apply in making important decisions in my life. Have I always made wise choices? Of course not. As a human being I have made mistakes and have made decisions that have hurt me and others close to me. I woke up and and started walking on the right path. To me life is a journey with a clear destination and clear intention. Making clear and and right choices in our political, social and economic domains has been difficult for me. Our policies and actions are not always based on good will and well being of others. The big egos of the decision makers have been causing a lot of harm to the majority people in our country. When I was young I participated in the movement against Vietnam War. Even though... [View Full Comment] As we grow up we need to make clear choices about many aspects of our life. In order to make wise choices we need to have clear intentions. My decision is usually based on the intention on the ground of good will and greater good not only for me but also for others. That is the main criterion I apply in making important decisions in my life. Have I always made wise choices? Of course not. As a human being I have made mistakes and have made decisions that have hurt me and others close to me. I woke up and and started walking on the right path. To me life is a journey with a clear destination and clear intention.

    Making clear and and right choices in our political, social and economic domains has been difficult for me. Our policies and actions are not always based on good will and well being of others. The big egos of the decision makers have been causing a lot of harm to the majority people in our country. When I was young I participated in the movement against Vietnam War. Even though I saw the rightness of this movement I did not go along with the use of violence caused by both sides. I realized how difficult it is when the movement is not grounded in the good will of the people.

    Good will and doing greater good for people is the basis on which I make my choices. Remaining awake and mindful of myself has always been very helpful to me in remaining on the path. By nature I am optimist. I believe that the inner light of wisdom will shine and help us to go through the clouds of darkness.
    May we all walk on the path of serving people and doing good for others!
    Namaste!
    Jagdish P Dave'




    [Hide Full Comment]

    1 reply: Maria | Post Your Reply

Search Awakin Readings

Or search by year, author, or category.

Subscribe to Weekly Email

Every week, we send out a digest with a reading and inspiring stories to our global community of 94,195 people. Subscribe below.

(unsubscribe)

Contact Us

If you'd like to suggest a thought or want to drop us a suggestion, drop us a note.