Chapter 17

Trust and Reality

The Bhagavad Gita teaches that the pursuit of mysticism is the pursuit of the real.
The real is symbolized by the word OM, the divine sound of creation.
Any ritual, charity or discipline conducted within the realm of the real is said to be the vibration of the sound OM.
But any discipline, charity or ritual conducted outside of the real is said to serve no purpose in this life or the next.

It is further said that the difference between performing these things in the real or outside of the real is found in trust.
If you perform these things with trust, then you will be real and obtain real results.
If you perform outside of trust, you will obtain nothing.

Krishna says that anyone who opens themselves to trust, will be filled with trust.
He also speaks about the differences in the three elements of being (tamas, rajas, and sattvas), and the varieties of 'food' that are appealing to each.
These are all great mysteries.

Most important to all of this is the question of trust.
What is trust?
Although Krishna does not seem to address this question, in reality he does when he is speaking of the types of food appealing to each element.
He says that someone in the element of sattvas (truth) will desire juicy and wholesome food, someone in rajas (passion) will desire spicy and hot food, and someone in tamas (ignorance) will desire dead and rotting food.

What this means is that people at different levels will approach the spiritual, and thus spiritual work, in different ways.
Someone who is operating sincerely will commit the work not for a reward of purpose but because the work is good in and of itself, and because they seek to experience the real (nourishing food).
Someone who is operating out of passions will want excitement, entertainment and ecstasy.
They will do spiritual work because they crave recognition or some form of emotional reward (spicy food).
And someone who is in ignorance will only conduct these acts out of rote mechanical reasons, because they have been taught or told to by tradition (dead or rotting food).

The last of these three will almost never be found in a mystery school, but may be very common in organized religious institutions.
However, the second kind, rajas, is very commonly found among 'seekers' of the mystical.
You will find many people within a school who are working in the school because they want excitement, or emotional support, or attention.
These students will want to be paid attention to by the master and the other students, they will want to be recognized.
Or they will crave a dependence on the master, they will want to be present near the master, to have the master provide them with emotional support or a sense of purpose or 'love' and will mistake this for devotion.
Or they will want their practice of mysticism to act as justification for their own 'persecution complexes', to give them something that makes them special or different from anyone else and therefore more worthy of attention and excused from being 'normal'.
In each of these cases this attitude must be overcome before any real work can proceed.

This is all a function of the definition of trust.
To trust the divine or to trust a master is to be able to let go of ones own limitations; to acknowledge that these 'diseases' that cause the behaviours above are real and cannot go away, but that a mystery school is not meant to serve to fuel these behaviours.
Instead, a mystery school has a higher purpose.
By trusting that ritual, charity, and disciplines will lead to the experience of the real if performed for that purpose rather than some other purpose, one will quickly discover the real benefits of these actions, which are a spiritual benefit totally unrelated to any kind of emotional need, ecstatic experiences or attention.
Once you begin to perform these activities for their own sakes, instead of for ulterior motives, you will be able to place things in their proper context, and realize that those lesser desires are irrelevant to spirituality.
If you recognize you have a need for emotional support, entertainment or attention; understand that these are not necessarily a barrier to spiritual work.
They are only a barrier if you try to force these needs into the work of the Mystery School.
If, alternatively, you find ways to address these needs outside of the school, you will then be able to continue your spiritual work in a focused way.
Attempt to satisfy these needs as required through everyday work, relationships and activities where they are appropriate.
Do not look for the school to serve this purpose.
Trust that what you really need spiritually is not what you believe it to be but something you cannot yet understand, that will nevertheless become comprehensible to you over time if you do not create barriers to it with your own assumptions and expectations.

You may be wondering how one can recognize if a student is operating out of these undesirable behaviours.
The answer is this: if a student, when in the presence of a master or other students, acts in such a way that an everyday person (a stranger) who is not from the school would feel uncomfortable around this student, then the student is operating from these undesirable behaviours.

A Further Note on 'Entertainment'

It is a common 'disease' in a Mystery School that students will seek to be 'entertained' by the work they are doing or their interactions with their teacher.
By this I mean that they will have the expectations that their work will constantly produce in them a state of ecstasy or whatever they consider to be 'advancement', and the absence of this will be interpreted as failures on their part or on the part of the teacher.
This will result in several undesirable activities.
Students will expect to be constantly trying new techniques as opposed to experiencing one technique with depth or time.
If their master will not humor them in this regard they will blame themselves, assume they are not doing well, or blame their master and assume that he is not giving them enough attention because he is not doing things the way they want.
They will either drop the work he has suggested for them or they will add extra work for themselves that he had not advised, on the assumption that more work will somehow mean better results.

This need to be 'entertained' will cause terrible problems and is based on faulty demands.
One does not expect, or should not expect, constant entertainment or 'results' when they go to a doctor or a lawyer, nor will they go to a regular school and expect that the teacher will constantly entertain them or present them with only the information that they want.
That would be fine if they were only seeking trivia, but not if they wanted a thorough educational experience.
The same understanding must be prevalent in a Mystery School.
Often students will look for diversion in mystical practices that they should be receiving in other pastimes and pursuits.
Seek out entertainment in hobbies or pastimes, rather than warping the nature of the work that your teacher has offered.
If you are not being given additional work by a teacher it is not because you are a failure, but rather because you must continue to go deeper in your current work.
Often students who, of their own accord, drop work given to them or take on additional work that is not given to them will end up missing the entire real purpose of an exercise rather than 'enrich' their studies; and this is all too often because they have assumed they know the 'purpose' of a technique when in fact they do not.
So they will assume they've understood what they were supposed to, when in reality they are barely skimming the surface.
To take on additional work that was unassigned in these cases is much like the Sufi story of the man who tries to dig fifty 1 foot wells instead of going to the 'trouble' of digging one 25 foot well.
He will not get anywhere.

Just as bad as the assumption that you've already 'got' a task is the assumption that you are 'not getting anywhere' in your current task, either on the premise that your master hasn't assigned anything new for you or on the premise that you aren't 'experiencing' anything from the task.

This is as before based on the assumption, often faulty, that you already understand the reason why a teacher gives you a task to do, or that you know what is supposed to happen.
You may be placing the expectation on your work that it should result in emotional breakthroughs, bliss, visions or any number of other things, all of which might be completely beside the point of what you'd been told to do.
If anything, this reaction is even more serious than the false idea that you've 'gotten it', because a student that assumes that 'nothing is happening' will fall into a pattern of stagnation that will keep them stuck and often disrupt the whole working of the school.

The remedy to all of this is quite straightforward.
All that is required is for the student to return to where they began, drop any additional work, and drop not only the attitude of defeatism about not getting the experiences you expect, but also the twin ideas that you already know what is 'supposed to happen' from doing a particular task and the expectation that work will not be tedious or must constantly provide you with emotional or 'spiritual' stimulus.
In some cases it is this very stimulus that is supposed to be avoided at your present stage.
Many students will claim that these expectations are actually their desire to learn or their desire to experience the divine.
But in reality, to have these expectations is the opposite of trust; and it is the opposite of a 'desire to learn' or 'desire to experience'.
They are the desire to have your pre-existing expectations fulfilled, rather than a sincere openness toward the work, master, or school.