Radical trust (tawakkul) in the ultimate harmony and congruence of all things is the most important part of the spiritual path in my opinion. For many, that means believing in the ultimate good of God and in the wisdom of His Will. For me, radical trust is about recognizing that whatever may appear good and bad to you in the present ultimately serves its purpose in the way it was meant to, regardless of our moral valuations, and that our job is to tap into a relationship of harmony to the world and everything in it by remaining at peace in our heart centres so that we can serve our highest purpose on this earth before leaving it. Radical trust requires of us to use every opportunity in this world to grow spiritually while never allowing external circumstances to dictate our internal state.
A famous Sufi story goes:
Once Abu Sulayman al-Darani saw a man in Mecca who would live on nothing but water from the Zamzam well. Many days elapsed. One day Sulayman asked him: “If the water of Zamzam were to dry up, what would you drink?” The man jumped to his feet, kissed Sulayman’s head and said: “May God reward you! You have guided me aright, for I have nearly become a worshiper of Zamzam over the past few days!”
This story is a great example of how a man already devoted to spiritual poverty to better himself used what can be construed as hurtful criticism as an opportunity for growth. His radical trust meant that he wanted to prevent himself from falling dependent on any external thing for his happiness, including a source of water that he relied on. For Sufis, all the sustenance in the world can be sourced from our hearts, and many claim a realized Sufi can go 40 days without food, being fed by the nectar of spiritual effusion instead. Whether objectively true or not, the idea here is that a spiritually fulfilled human being entrusts his or her very being to the power of divine presence without being affected by any affliction.
That doesn’t mean we have to all renounce our material belongings and starve. It doesn’t mean we can never feel sad. It means cultivating the practice of recognizing that everything is as it should be and finding tranquility in the opportunity to empower ourselves in whatever circumstances by finding true sustenance within.
This week was a big lesson in radical trust for me.
First, some good news: I recently opened the doors to my new Fourth Chakra Yoga and Reiki Healing Centre!
I wanted a more professional setting that could help my lovely clients and companions find a quiet and dedicated space to do our important soul work.
Bad news is, the minute I rented the treatment room where I now work, all the clients who were interested in my work stopped trying to get in touch with me and many appointments that were near confirmed fell through.
I was overcome with anxiety. Now that I was spending money on professional space, and had no clients visiting me in it, I felt like I was driving my family to bankruptcy! After a few days of endless worrying, I sat down in my meditation space at home and began to work through the tough emotions I was facing. I eventually realized I wouldn’t go bankrupt even if I didn’t have a single client. I would lose money, sure, but by no means go bankrupt. I also realized the cash flow bothered me a lot less than the fact that I had developed abilities that could soothe the pain of others and I wanted desperately to see those in pain benefit.
So I took out a box and a piece of paper. I wrote down what I thought I needed to help me soothe my deepest anxieties in the form of a prayer (I wrote: May my new space draw in those who need my services, and may they find the work we do together beneficial and in service of their highest good). I put the paper in the box, and uttered an intention to finally release my anxieties. I vowed my trust that what is most in harmony with the workings of the cosmos will happen. And I let it go.
Nothing changed outwardly, but having released the very real anxieties around the issue, and having established radical trust that things will work out as they need to for the unfolding of the harmony in the universe, my practice began to draw in clients without the obstacle of my stagnant anxiety and negative energy. And never have I felt so on the right path as I do today.
Exploring Radical Trust
I want you to try the same thing I did this week. Pick something you are anxious about, sit in a quiet place and get super clear on what you are actually anxious about. Then write a little prayer for yourself on a piece of paper–the fulfilment of which would ease these deepest anxieties. Put it in a box or bury it in the earth, releasing your fears now to something outside of yourself, and explicitly state your intention to let go of your anxiety and to cultivate your trust that things will unfold as they need to for the good of something much greater than me or you. See if releasing the energy holding you back helps you move forward this week. This is a small taste of the radical trust that ultimately instils the peace of inner knowing in your heart.
May you be filled with peace,
Next time, we explore the state of Intimacy, the fruit of nurturing a healthy relationship of trust.
For the introduction to this series on the Sufi Path through Yoga, click here.
And here are more pictures from my new treatment space!