Western Baul Podcast Series

Basic Trust: The Soul’s Key to Being (Peter Cohen)

July 28, 2022

Basic trust is a term used by A.H. Almaas. It manifests as the willingness to leap into the unknown. Basic trust is different than our ordinary sense of trust that is dependent on external circumstances. It is an implicit trust that reality is ultimately good, that the universe will take care of us, that everything is OK and that what is optimal will happen. Almost no one has this basic trust--though some have more of a taste of it than others. One definition for enlightenment could be perfect basic trust. All activities of ego are evidence of a lack of perfect basic trust, a sense that we have to strategize and manipulate to get our needs met. The solution is not to strive for it, which can be just another form of the striving that is constantly manifesting in life. The paradigm of cause and effect and that we are the author of our choices and actions is an illusion from the perspective of nonduality, which can be considered as the "independent co-arising of phenomena" in Buddhism. The (theistic or non-theistic) view that all phenomena arises interdependently, that everything is being done regardless of us, can be comforting or threatening depending on whether we are trying to preserve our identity as a separate doer. So what is the role of personal responsibility? How can all the apparently horrible things that happen in the world be reconciled with basic trust? Who is it in us that can be trusted? Some statements from great spiritual masters on trusting God or the totality are considered. Peter was the drummer for the Western Baul rock band, Liars, Gods, and Beggars from 1988 to 1994. He is a spiritual practitioner who has followed the nondual path and rhythm of life in Alaska and Idaho as a nurse and a musician.

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