Archives: Trust

Finding Faith In-Between

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I recently finished reading a memoir that struck a pretty big chord. It’s about an early 40-something year old woman who’s filled with questions about life and is searching for a sense of faith amidst them all. Perhaps you can relate to this, too?

The memoir I’m referring to is titled, Devotion, and it’s written by Dani Shapiro. Here’s a particularly resonant paragraph:

“My various rituals—the yoga, meditation, thinking, reading, Torah study—these were disciplines. They had become, to some degree, habit. But it was in the space around these rituals that Faith resided. It was in the emptiness, the pause between actions, the stillness when one thing was finished but the next had not yet begun. Paradoxically, this is where effort came in, because it was so hard to be empty. To pause. To be still—not leaning forward, not falling back. Steady in the present—not even waiting. Just being. Could I just drive the car? Just cook dinner? Just walk the dogs in the front meadow and take in the rustling trees, the chirping critters in the distance? Why was it so difficult? So scary? Why does something that should be effortless require so much effort?”

That last line really sums it up for me… And it might seem like an oxymoron, but doing nothing is one of the hardest things for me to “do.” The pauses between actions often seem interminable. Relaxing in the lulls—a gargantuan feat. My mind always wants me to be doing doing doing. And it’s exhausting.

Contemplating this, I can see how it’s hard for me to trust that things are going to work out the way I intend them to work out without constantly doing something to try and ensure that they do. But I’ve come to realize that there’s no real way I can ensure every outcome of my efforts—no matter how much I do to try (which is related to the post I wrote last month about “stirring the pot“). And I’m guessing this is where “faith” comes in…

Because learning how to relax in the lulls involves having faith that things will unfold the way I intend—and (more importantly) it also means having faith in myself that I’ll be able to handle it if (or when) they don’t.

Trust the process.

Trust

Our first UCLA Certificate in Mindfulness Facilitation practicum was this past weekend. And I’m still processing all it had to offer… There are 36 of us. From all walks of life and from all over the country (and a few from outside the country). Most have previous experience as facilitators. Some of us don’t.

I’m one of those people.

I think the biggest thing that’s come up for me since the practicum ended is that I’m finding myself somewhat obsessed with analyzing my mindfulness practice—deconstructing my meditations and my ways of being throughout the day in an effort to try and “figure out” how to effectively communicate this practice to others… I also notice that I’m feeling somewhat resentful and mistrusting of the facilitation training process—concerned that the act of becoming a mindfulness facilitator will somehow take me away from my own mindfulness practice.

I’m also watching myself getting caught up in my ambition to be “successful” at this new undertaking, and I’m feeling a strong desire to “do it perfectly.” I fear these sides of myself might take over and that I might lose sight of why I practice/why I wanted to facilitate to begin with…

And the subject of mindfulness, itself, has become somewhat all encompassing since the practicum…. While I was certainly interested in the topic prior to our weekend, my thirst for expanding my knowledge and grasping the subject now seems unquenchable. There’s an addictive, grasping quality to it that’s related to my ambition on some level, I’m sure… I also sense a deep-rooted fear that if I don’t “know/understand” everything about the subject, then I’d be an imposter facilitating it…

Yet, all this is happening while I’m also acutely aware that I can’t “successfully” facilitate mindfulness unless I embody it. I suppose this reminder is where the strength of my practice is shining through…. Like the breath in meditation, my awareness of my potential pitfalls is the anchor that’s helping me continue to come back to my practice (and to my truth)…. Trusting this process is challenging for me.

But I’m up for the challenge.