The nature of unconditional trust
Within the REN XUE Yuan Qigong system, we are introduced to nine Methods of Qigong practice. Yuan Tze designed each to build upon the previous one, to progressively develop the conditions needed for Realisation and Wisdom (the focal point of the system). Every area of human life required for this outcome is addressed and nothing essential is omitted. Hence, it is advised (though not essential) to learn the system from the beginning and progress through each Method in sequence. Doing this, we find that upon arriving at Methods 5 & 6, which equal the highest forms of internal Qigong we can practice, it may be that what commonly takes decades to develop, is likely to occur in less than one!
The exception to this linear progression in Yuan Gong lies in the last three Methods of the system. Because we cannot start soon enough on cultivating the Heart, the Consciousness, and the True Self, which these Methods cover, they can be learned early in our training. These are unavoidable areas of cultivation on the path to Realisation and Wisdom and no amount of Qi practice that focuses on Qi and the Body alone will ever replace consciously addressing their transformation. In any event, these last three Methods offer processes and theories which add deeper support for the work on our Qi and Body condition, so we only gain. These three Methods immediately shift our perceptual mind and the information it habitually relies on to navigate the world. Inasmuch as we are always the ones at the steering wheel in these practices, we are then efficiently empowered to uplift our lives while having clear stepping stones and steady guard rails to ensure a good outcome.
The aspects of our inner Life that the last three methods address are:
- Method 7, Tong Yuan: our Heart (we can think of this as the spiritual Heart as opposed to exclusively the organ of the heart).
- Method 8, Ling Yuan: our Consciousness.
- Method 9, Ming Yuan: the Awareness that arises from our True Self.
In the seventh method which cultivates what may be called ‘the spiritual Heart’, we learn about five fundamental, unconditional qualities of a human heart: Trust, Openness, Love, Gratitude, and Gongjing (True Respect, Reverence, Humility). These qualities are deeply underdeveloped in most humans for a variety of reasons, and some question if they are even present at all.
It was in my exploration and practice of these five fundamental Heart qualities, called the Wu Xin, that some clarity arose around the often problematic one of unconditional Trust. I mean, who truthfully in this modern world can wrap their head around the idea of walking around with unconditional Trust effulging from their heart? It seems daft. And so, three adjectives arose that could be placed before the noun “Trust” to tease out a better understanding. There are many more, but these provided some helpful insights for me:
- Naïve Trust: this kind of trust is what we would see in a baby or small child. It is founded on insufficient information available to what we will call the ‘reference system’ and/or, an as yet undeveloped ability to process incoming information in a way that leads to an accurate, objective, clear assessment of a positive way forward. Anything that appears to the senses to be good, is taken to be such. Sometimes more than once, despite evidence to the contrary. We see this kind of trust in ourselves too, and in some adults, it is especially dominant.
- Simple Trust: in this context, the word ‘simple’ comes with the connotations of ‘simplistic’ and ‘simpleton’. In other words, when Simple Trust is operating, then despite sufficient information being clearly available to the ‘reference system’, objective entry and evaluation is prevented by blocks in the consciousness like beliefs, identity, attachment to ideas and ideologies, and many other habituated, easy, go-to patterns. These subjective filters are a high speed, impenetrable shield deployed unconsciously, leading to little or no accurate, objective, clear assessment of a situation – and very often, merely a short-term positive way forward, with longer-term poorer consequences. This type of trust is often supported by the orientation of human nature to “minimise loss, maximise gain; minimise complexity, maximise simplicity” (Yuan Tze) – we could say, ‘survive’ as an organism in a highly complex environment. When viewed objectively, living according to this type of Trust can be seen as ‘simplistic’ at best and most likely lacking in true wisdom. Wisdom would instead allow in a broad range of information, to be evaluated for its potential place in a truly ecological decision that considers more layers than the immediate existential survival of a single human individual or their preferred state!
- Unconditional Trust: we are taught in REN XUE to explore the possibility that deep inside our Heart is an unshakeable, eternal quality of Unconditional Trust. This Trust exists independent of and prior to, any thought about another – even our sense of self. It simply is.
In this sense it is part of the primordial terroir of our human existence.
It is a fundamental frame of reference for our being in relationship with The Great Mystery (a term used by Bill Plotkin, PhD), God, Cosmic Intelligence, The Dao.
This Trust allows information to enter unimpeded and enables a different intelligence from our usual knee-jerk, patterned consciousness, to navigate an accurate, objective, clear way forward. This way forward may ironically appear to others, looking inward from their ‘idea-riddled consciousness’, to be foolish or simple! However, it will almost certainly retain the inner states of Relaxed, Calm, Natural, Integrated, Unified and Harmonious and will most likely maximise the potential for these states to be extended outwards to all around – human and other. The power of retaining these six states is that they are the portal for the presence of the far more adept, all-encompassing intelligence we all carry inside: the intelligence of our eternal True Self. When we are being directed by this intelligence, we are most closely aligned with The Way, The Dao, the great, eternal Law of Life, and by definition, our Life will then be supported in the most beneficial way possible with no harm done to any other in the process.
Clearly, from a state of Unconditional Trust, our Life and that of others is well supported. It does not blindly walk us into clear and present danger. However, it may well simply no longer see the ‘danger’ that the perceptual mind was insistent upon. There is a scope to the information and the processing ability of the True Self, that simplifies what needs to be done in this moment to best support a long-term evolution aligned with the Totality of Existence.
We need to deepen our capacity to live again in our True Nature, our True Terroir, in order for our True Self to be present. And Unconditional Trust is a good training ground.
Louise Pannell ~ December 2021