Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Trust Where You Are

I was practicing push hands recently with a taiji buddy. (Push hands is a partner practice, sort of like taiji sparring.) He shared something from his teacher who reminds him from time to time to “trust where you are.” That intrigued me and I asked what it meant.

He explained that his teacher observed that when my friend does not trust where he is, it is easy to move him off balance, because his center is raised in a way that makes him top heavy, like an inverted triangle. In contrast, when he relaxes and sinks his center, trusting his alignment to absorb or deflect force, it is difficult to move him. He is then more like a pyramid resting on its base.

Like so many things I learn in martial arts, this instruction to trust where you are applies to life in general. We get so much advice about lowering stress, living in joy, not worrying all the time, having a positive attitude, being present, and more. A thread runs through all this advice, a thread of trust.

Chogyam Trungpa spoke of the basic goodness of the universe, and the basic goodness of human nature. The Bible observes that the sun shines on the evil and the good, and the rain falls on the just and the unjust. The Dao De Jing compares Dao to water, moving effortlessly according to its nature. All these sources suggest that there is a natural order to things that we can trust.

On a more personal level, we spend a lot of energy trying to determine our best way forward, analyzing pros and cons, gathering data, predicting outcomes of various choices, and second guessing ourselves. We usually think we should go somewhere better, do something better, be someone better.

When our thoughts spin off like this, our center is raised up in our head. We are top heavy like the inverted triangle, and as a consequence, we live life out of balance, unaligned with the natural harmony of the universe. We try to force or resist. We don’t trust where we are.

Conversely, when we trust where we are, we are relaxed and confident. This doesn’t mean that we don’t ever move to a new location or try something new or seek to improve our skills. It means that no matter where we are or what is going on, we are fully present, open to inner guidance, knowing that every moment we are exactly where we need to be, in harmony with the natural unfolding of our lives. Like the maps in parks, malls, and hotels that have a little arrow pointing to a spot “YOU ARE HERE,” we realize that we literally and figuratively can’t be anywhere else than where we are. So be there – accept it, embrace it, trust it. And then, as a friend is fond of saying, let’s see what happens.

As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live. ~Johan Wolfgang Von Goethe

4 thoughts on “Trust Where You Are”

    1. And surrender — right? All these concepts even more important in today’s travel environment. Hope your trip is off to a great start, Kathy. Can’t wait to read about it!

  1. “When we trust where we are, we are relaxed and confident.” This quote from your post nails it for me. Morning meditation for the past year, an overall sense of calm and purpose, a loving family, and escaping the worst of Covid unscathed has put me in good place.

    There is a powerful feeling of being in the right rhythm and finding my “fit” in the bigger picture. Thank you, Galen, for your words that brought my present reality into focus.

    1. Right rhythm — that is a great way to describe it, Bob. When we are in alignment (meditation helps establish that!), we are attuned to and in harmony with the vibration of the natural order of things. We experience “an overall sense of calm and purpose” because we are not struggling with reality. It is indeed powerful, as you observed.

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