Trusting in God: What Does it Mean?
Last weekend at the Baha’i School in Kota Tinggi I went to a workshop on virtues and discovered that I needed the virtue of trusting more, especially trusting in God. So I am reflecting on it here to see what it means.
When I was teaching ethics classes in Brazil, I used to do a unit on how God is perceived according to the various religions in the world. One of the groups of students that interested me a great deal were the Marxists who claimed to be atheists. Their complaint about religion, which is quite valid, is that they saw a lot of people lighting candles and praying, but then just waiting and hoping for God to act rather than acting themselves to get things done. I think that the materialists have the same complaint as well. Marx saw organized religion as a drug which kept people from acting. His hope was that people could be stirred up and start acting rather than being victims of the class system. Unfortunately most of the movements of left proved to be failures because they never allowed people to act as he had envisioned. In countries like China or North Korea God was replaced by the leader of the country who people came to worship. Materialistic cultures, led by ideas from the right have had no shortage of initiative and action, but the lack of spiritual and ethical values, replaced God with things. People rely and trust in things.
Trusting in God for me seems to be the ability to see myself acting with virtue to achieve positive ends and then actually taking steps toward the vision. Trusting in God means trusting in virtue or trusting in the positive spiritual teachings like love. It seems to require a vision of a positive spiritual possibility combined with visualizing oneself with spiritual qualities and then acting energetically. It seems to me that at the moment that the three inner processes come together that there is also a simultaneous connection to the larger Spirit, which we often call the Holy Spirit. Since the Holy Spirit has its own will, which is far better than our own, it guides and directs as it pleases. The magical things that people often wait to have happen don’t seem to occur by praying and sitting around for things to happen, nor by reflecting and coming up with good solutions, nor by action alone.
There seems to be a great deal of power in the combination of the three. So for instance, I want to begin a new program, or start a project, or create a new institute. I first can get a glimpse of the program and its positive purpose, then I can see the picture of myself acting in the program with a specific quality like creativity, then I can begin to act vigorously to realize the vision. The moment that I act is the moment that the larger Spirit enters which begins to change everything in a fundamentally more positive way.
The trusting part is connected to the belief that God will assist all those who step into the arena of service. The most difficult part for me, which may not be for others, is the ability to see myself with the processes or the qualities that are required in project. Right now I am working on visualizing myself as having a lot of expressive qualities. What I am finding important, which you may wish to also try, is visualizing as a dissociated image, an image outside of myself or me acting positively.
The three steps are 1. creating a vision that is positive and spiritually oriented 2. seeing yourself with the initial qualities that make the vision work and 3. acting vigorously.