Trust has always been an issue for me. I know, we shouldn’t be using always, (we shouldn’t use shoulds too, but it’s getting too complicated to write otherwise), so let’s say most of the time, trust is an issue for me. There is something I am holding on to dearly, and that is control: I want to be in control of my destiny, I want to be the captain of my life. Letting someone else take the helm seems counterintuitive for me, and I often prefer to do my own thing.
However, over the years, I’ve learned how great it is to share some things, such as ideas, projects, and homes. I’ve learned to work in teams, and now I do not want to go back, as I’ve realized how much more creative we can get working together, and how amazing the results can be when we all put our best selves into one project. I’ve also learned to let someone be there for me, in my sacred place, my home, and now I can only imagine how boring life would be if I didn’t have my wonderful boyfriend and our cats waiting for me at night.
Still, I’m very curious about that special moment, that tipping point, when we let go and jump, when we start trusting whatever’s on the other side, may it be an experience, a friend, or life, having faith that no matter what happens, it will be okay.
Learning to use our intuition
I believe part of it has to do with learning to use our intuition. Intuition is not as random as we sometimes think it is. Our intuition is based on our past experiences, and the more experienced we get in an area, the more we can rely on our inner voice to guide us.
Our lives are already much more intuitive than we like to think. We often rely on our gut feeling to make some important decisions, such as falling in love or choosing our home. We are already using our intuition, but could make much better use of it if we were opening ourselves to this powerful tool we all have to make the appropriate decisions we need to make.
I’m fond of Simon’s theory of bounded rationality, which explains that humans, when confronted with a decision to make, are not seeking as we would think all the information they can to take that decision. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Since we are not able to assimilate all the info anyway, in many situations, we tend to go for something that is “good enough”, instead of looking for a way to maximise our benefit.
What’s the link between that theory and intuition? Knowing that unlike computers we can’t rely on huge algorithms to process all the data, and that we won’t have the tendency to, we have to be wiser than that. We have to tap into something else to make better decisions.
How can we access that inner voice more easily? First, we have to allow ourselves to. Then, slowly, we can learn to distinguish that voice from other thoughts, especially when these thoughts get in the way. Meditation can help, as well as liberating our brains from ongoing thinking through some creative work. The idea basically here is to find a way to reconnect with ourselves, and find that sense of knowing that the decision or whatever we are about to do feels right, what Einstein once described as “a feeling for the order lying behind the appearance of something.”
Learning to trust others
When we connect to ourselves and learn to listen to our inner voice, then the world becomes suddenly a better place. When I am able to feel that unity within, it often seems like things simply unfold the way they were meant to be. I stop fighting against everything to make it my way, I simply let go and discover what is there to be. It is very much like a dance with life, as I sometimes find myself leading the way, telling the Universe what I wish to happen, and sometimes find myself following whatever experience life brings to me.
It also becomes way easier to trust others. Being more connected with my inner voice allows me to know right away, or almost, if I can trust someone or not. It’s all in the details, in the fine things we cannot get if we only rely on our brain to make those kind of decisions. A fake smile, that missing eye contact, that weird handshake: all those nonverbal signs are hard to analyze rationally. Yet, an important part of our daily communication is nonverbal. To get all those cues, we have to rely on our intuition.
Once that first scan is made and I know that the person is authentic, I can release the pressure a bit, and start trusting. That’s where the magic happens.
I used to be very controlling of my yoga practice, as weird as that thought might appear at first. I wanted to stay in control throughout the class, and refused to listen to the teacher when they were saying to let go, or proposing another alternative. At some point, I even stopped going to classes as I wasn’t appreciating being taught anymore. I was getting more and more closed-up.
Then stuff happened, and I got back into class. Slowly, with the help of amazing teachers as well as personal work, I rediscovered my practice, and learned to let go, trusting the teacher to get me wherever she/he wanted, not thinking too much in advance about the climax pose, simply having faith that I would get there eventually (or not). That’s how I got into poses I never thought I could get into, and that’s also how I am learning to get into handstand in the middle of the room (not yet there, maybe one day, who knows?).
Learning to have faith in life
Talking about handstand. That’s where it all started, the idea for this post. As I was practicing for the umpteenth time handstand, I just felt that again, I was getting closer to it. I can lift into handstand quite easily when I am at the wall, and I love it. Yet, in the middle of the room, it’s quite another game: it’s a faith thing.
At some point, it’s not anymore about the strength in your arms, the power in your core, or the pushing through your inner toes. It becomes all about that tipping point when you start trusting, that deep belief that you can do it, that even though it is not rational, you can lift up, and stay there, without any support. It’s all about having faith in life.
As one of my favorite teachers told me one day, don’t live your life to do yoga: do yoga to live your life. What we learn on the mat we take with us in our day-to-day. As I play getting into handstand, I learn that with lots of trial, eventually, I can jump up. I learn that I can let go, and make the unbelievable come true. As Kierkegaard, to whom the phrase is usually attributed to, it’s about stopping the self-reflective thinking and following the movement, without any empirical evidence. It’s about going for it, living life as an adventure.
Go ahead, and jump.