Next month, Pema Chödrön will present teachings from Chögyam Trungpa’s book Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery to a sold-out audience of 3,000 in the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, California. I’ll be there to soak in Pema’s teachings and also to present meditation instructions. There has been so much interest in the seminar that a live webcast will also be available. There could be thousands more people taking part in this event, joining us via a live Internet hookup.
The thought keeps popping up in my mind that this is an extraordinary opportunity for all of us. How auspicious that so many human beings could gather together to meditate and study fear and fearlessness. It’s one of the last times that Pema will be teaching a big seminar like this in California, which also makes it very special.
One of the teachings in the book that captures people’s attention, and which I think Pema will speak about in California, is the reservoir of trust. This is what Chögyam Trungpa says about it in Smile at Fear:
The reservoir of trust is a very simple, straightforward idea. If we accept a challenge and take certain steps to accomplish something, the process will yield results—either success or failure. When you sow a seed or plant a tree, either the seed will germinate, the tree will grow, or it will die. Similarly, for the inquisitive warrior, trust means that we know that our actions will bring a definite response from reality. We know that we will get a message. Failure generally is telling us that our action has been undisciplined and inaccurate in some way. Therefore, it fails. When our action is fully disciplined, it usually is fulfilled; we have success. But those responses are not regarded as either punishment or congratulations.
Trust, then, is being willing to take a chance, knowing that what goes up must come down, as they say. When a warrior has that kind of trust in the reflections of the phenomenal world, then he or she can trust his or her individual discovery of goodness. Communication produces results: either success or failure. That is how the fearless warrior relates with the universe, not by remaining alone and insecure, hiding away, but by constantly being exposed to the phenomenal world and constantly being willing to take that chance.
What a liberating view: that you can trust both the successes and the failures in your life. We learn from both. Trusting in both success and failure gives us permission to take chances without being so afraid of the repercussions—because whatever the repercussions are, they are part of our path.
Shambhala Publications is offering five free admissions to the the Online Weekend Retreat with Pema Chödrön, to be chosen randomly from those who leave a comment below over the next 2 days. So, take a chance! Enter the contest! To enter please leave a comment about the “reservoir of trust” excerpt above. What does it mean to you?