If you can create doubt in yourself, you likewise can create Trust. You did the first unconsciously, most likely. And now you are doing the latter consciously. You are reading this post because some part of you, conscious or not, desires to choose and create something MORE than doubt for yourself. Something higher.
Trust in yourself is essentially "holding space" for yourself.
Can you hold space for yourself?
Holding space means to become, or recognize oneself, as the container that holds all of your (or others) internal experiences.
It's the recognition that you are NOT your thoughts, your emotions or your body - but rather you are the witness to the experiences you have through your mind, body and emotions. Its becoming a witness, an observer, to all your or others' experiences, which requires opening your heart, offering unconditional support, and letting go of judgement and control.
How can you learn to recognize yourself as the observer, as the container, for life that occurs through you? There are many, many ways and different spiritual teachers will offer you endless ways to practice this. Play around with different methods. I offer you mine.
This is what it feels like physically, in my body, to hold space, to trust myself and my journey, no matter how turbulent:
Literally, physically in my body I just ride the wave of emotions that are coming through me. Like a surfer - an energetic surfer. A real surfer doesn't try to manage waves - a surfer just...rides them! The waves do what waves do. Itd be really silly and scary and impossible and exhausting to think and act otherwise. Yet this is how most human beings go about their lives every single day. Every thought and emotion you have is literally just a wave of energy moving through your body. Its not you. Its your experience. Believing otherwise would be like a surfer believing she was each wave that came her way! Let every wave of thought and emotion pass through you by feeling it as an energetic breeze, or wave, coming from your left side out through your right. You can literally FEEL it, this isn't just a metaphor I'm talking about, its an actual sensation.
How do you learn to ride the waves of your inner energy movements (feelings, emotions, thoughts)?
You have to feel into your body - where do you feel the emotion in your body? What reaction in your body came from that thought you just had (maybe it was something small, like you looked up)? What emotion was triggered by that thought you just had AND again, where do you feel that emotion in your body? You may need to scan your body if you are really out of touch with your bodily sensations (many people are). Now go deeper into your bodily sensations. Find any inner tension - not just muscular, but what feels like an "energetically holding on" to emotions or thoughts deeper within your inner space. The only way I can describe this is as an "inner tensing." I describe muscular tension as "outer tensing." Its the inner tension that manifests in your physical body as muscular tension. If this doesn't make sense, try this: Next time you feel yourself with muscular tension, like furrowed brows or hunched shoulders, let go of that muscular contraction. Now feel into the subtle energy beneath that that wants to re-contract those muscles. Now let go of THAT subtle energy. Its a 2-layer sensation, the outer more obvious, the inner more subtle. Let go of any and all of this outer AND inner energetic tensing, as this "tensing" is resistance to what IS. Since all we have is WHAT IS RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW IN ANY GIVEN MOMENT, resistance to what IS keeps you from moving forward, and it increases and prolongs your suffering. This is not wrong or bad, its just certainly not comfortable nor how most people want to experience their life.
It can take some practice. Its just like the common meditation tip where you just observe your thoughts passing through you like clouds passing by (and you are the sky). For me, that metaphor never worked to get me "there" no matter how hard I tried. So once I 'got it' in my own way, I describe it with my own metaphor, which reflects how I feel it.
Here is a more concrete, less abstract exercise to add to your practice:
1. Name your emotion(s) as they arise. For some of you, this may be a new practice to get in touch with your emotions not just your thoughts. Ex: "I am feeling doubt. I am feeling anxious."
2. Say a warm "Hello" to your emotions, each as they come up. Ex: "Hello doubt. Hello anxt."
3. Tell your emotions you trust that they are perfectly OK as is, and you accept them as they are. Ex: "You are perfectly OK to expressed doubt. You are perfectly OK as you are, anxt."
4. Tell your part of self generating these emotions that you love this part of yourself. Ex: "Part of me that is feeling doubt, I love you. I love you just as you are and as you feel. Part of me that is feeling anxt: I love you. I love you just as you are and as you feel."
What you are doing with these exercises is letting go of recognizing yourself as your mind (which is only one tiny part of your temporal self), which sees the world in simplistic black and white terms (duality), and thus will always have SOMETHING it sees as needing to be "fixed or changed." If you are in "need to fix or change" mode, you are not the witness, the container for all experiences. In other words, you are not recognizing yourself as your Soul. Because the Soul's reality is that there is NOTHING to fix or change - we all have our highest potential within us at all times, and we reach that by transcending our mistaken identity that we created for ourselves (that we are our thoughts, our emotions, our bodies).
Going back to Trust, you are practicing finding Trust with these exercises - trust that everything comes up to serve your highest good. EVERYTHING. PERIOD. In other words, you are Trusting your journey has NO part that is "wrong" or "bad." All parts of your journey lead to the same place: your highest potential. When you begin to see that, you can actually begin to cherish your lowest moments, your most intense emotions, your hardest times, because those are moments where we simply NEEDED a powerful teacher. And what is more powerful to get your attention than those intense experiences? When we are lost in our mind, our mind often won't listen without the warning bells of extremes. And you appreciate those times (not enjoy, but appreciate, in that you see value in) and weather them without trauma by holding space for yourself.
Some spiritual teachers use the word "acceptance" to describe what I am describing - this tripped me up for a long time, until I discovered that for me, it made more sense to use the word "Trust." I "get" what trust means. Acceptance has too many nuanced meanings and always brought me back MORE into identifying as my mind rather than experiencing myself as "having a mind."
Trust, or acceptance, or even "relaxing" (as Matt Kahn describes it in his YT video called "The Secret to Spiritual Success") means letting go of all inner tension (resistance to what IS) by just TRUSTING in all your experiences, all your emotions, whether they are comfortable or not. Because what else is there to do but Trust? What is happening within and outside of you is happening with or without your trust. And doubt feels awfully shitty. So why NOT choose trust instead?
Holding space for you all <3.