[...] Maybe people should talk to each other
once more about all the 'big' issues. For a moment they could
bring their fleeting lives to a stop and sit down round the table
with a glass of wine and a piece of bread. They could ask each
other the question of the meaning of life and whether they're
happier than their cat or dog.
People can talk their lives over with each
other and the lives of all other living souls. There's no need
for them to deliver a monologue on the eternal truth of the soul
or the universe or the nation, but they can listen to each other
while endlessly talking about all those questions that Socrates
and his friends discussed in Athens.
We don't need truth. We endlessly hold up
our opinions so as not to have end our talk. We keep on
questioning each other and giving answers. We know we can't escape
cave, yet we may seem to control our illusions that we project
onto the wall. Thus they are the self-invented shadows to dispel
boredom. That's how time goes by while being unnoticed by us.
However lively we talk to each other, we don't do much more than
a contented pig does lying lazily in the mud. The conversation
ends where it began: in ignorance. [...]
(adapted from Klaas Rozemond in 'Filosofie
voor de zwijnen')*
The quotation above led us to organize a
round-table-meeting. In order to explore the Amigo theme of trust
in good company, knowing that we cannot know. As long as we would
confine ourselves to an encyclopedic definition, we would come
away unscathed. However, sparkling round the core we played the
game exploring the topic: Can 'trust' be a keyword on the (apparent)
way to the expression of being, which you (already) are?
We can start discussing
trust, but let's begin with its opposite: what is distrust?
It's a sign of distrust when you want to figure out
what has to happen tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, when it
makes you feel uncomfortable lacking a mental workout for the concept
It's also a thought of distrust when you think you can do it better yourself
instead of letting things happen as they do, which they don't do right. They
should happen the way you had in mind.
You can also respond to the question 'what is distrust?'
going from feeling, otherwise it becomes a rather limited conceptual
story. The notion of distrust touches a deeper level of feeling
inside of me as well. There trust means: surrender. The words then
denote something that cannot really be denoted.
Does the word 'distrust' reach for that
layer of feeling sooner than 'trust'?
It begins with what is real. That is always of a
positive and essential value. If that is disturbed you get
the opposite. The heart of the matter here is trust. Distrust merely
tells that there is no trust. And that means giving proof of trust
I think there's the rub in the word 'trust': is there an opposite in the first
place? It seems to give access to something of which there is no opposite.
It is a tool in everyday life too. If you watch someone
behaving suspiciously, it's all right to mistrust. It then functions
as a warning system.
Well, actually you're saying: 'I trust my distrust',
so it's a matter of trust after all. So it is still awkward.
Do you distrust only if you're afraid of
It is like that if it's hard for you to accept that
losing is part of the game and that things you don't like are part
of it all.
As I see it, it's connected to individual motives
and preferences; this shouldn't happen and that should. Then you
get into distrust and trust. 'I trust that...', which is followed
by some thing which is alright for me.
If trust is made known, if it shows itself when there
is danger, only then could you put meaning on the term of 'trust',
putting it in contrast to something else. Trust isn't clear to
you discover distrust.
I think a baby doesn't know distrust. It's something
that is acquired. You are trustful by nature, you cannot learn
it. The essence of your being is trust.
In watching a child I recognize trust within myself.
A child is in total trust. That's how I would like to be and that's
what trust means to me. It certainly exists naturally, until you
come to know that that's not very practical everywhere and all
At the same time there's a trusting that things,
this house, won't collapse. Likewise there are a lot of things
that you take for granted. So there is a large basic trust of which
you aren't consciously aware. You aren't aware of the constant
dangers that could be there. So neither are you aware of the fact
you are continually in trust. If you ask me: do you trust right
now, well, I don't know. The word doesn't mean a thing to me.
When I see somebody thinking up concepts for the next day, I ask
myself 'why?' Why should there be a strategy and why do you panic
if you don't have any? To me that's distrust. Right from there
you can form the notion of 'trust' and say that you're living in
trust - that is, by comparison. But you don't think: 'Gee,
how I'm trusting all this', just like I don't think: 'Hey, that
chair may break'.
As I learned how to ride a bike for the first time,
I trusted myself, my physical ability. When I'm watching outside,
whether I'm three or eighty years old, I trust that my eyes will
work. I do not anyhow trust my eyes beforehand. So there's no
separate perception which you could denote trust, at most it's
your state of being.. If something goes wrong, you won't call it
a matter of distrust.
surrender and peace
To me it's also about risk. Knowing there's a risk,
you run the risk, out of trust.
Then you get at surrender. For instance, if my son
goes on a skiing trip, I must trust that he will be all right.
I can be comfortable again when trust turns into surrender. They
are quite close, but there is a subtle distinction. To trust then
is trying to reassure oneself, after that surrender may occur and
you pass on to the order of the day.
Can there be mere trust, without 'differently'
or 'better'? Just plain trust. At Bhagwan's trusting was practiced
by 'worshipping', dedicating everything you do to Bhagwan. In
the VPRO documentary 'New Man'** on the Bhagwan organization, there
was a woman for whom this trained trust had turned into surrender,
life as it is, nothing 'more', 'different' or 'better'. Peace
in what is.
Trust means the absence of thoughts that figure things
out for you, amongst which there are fears. Anxiety refers to something
in the future. Being trustful means the absence of those kind of
thoughts. And what remains is: 'that which is'. Then there seems
to be, next to 'that which is' yet another me, that may or may
not accept this. Whereas 'that which is' is the sum total of what
is being experienced at the moment. There is no me in it. I think
that is trust.
Then you're done with the word. Being trustful then
means: to live in and along with 'that which is'. Exploring the
word will stop.
Of course you may start analyzing the word, as a
specific perception. However, the person perceiving is completely
innocent, is unaware of his 'trusting'. By definition it's somebody
else that says: this person is trustful. That's how an external
qualification comes about: 'Gosh, how trustful you are!'
Yet you can only say so if you recognize it within
keywords and their counterparts
Well then what makes words such as love,
grace, trust be apt to function as a 'gateway'? Some particular
words make the penny drop all at once. For some it's 'love',
for others it's 'trust'. Why not 'anxiety'? In such a word as
love the dividing line feels to be just flimsy, as if you would
tumble down the hole right away. It seems to be a keyword.
The question then is: Can a word signify or produce a revelation?
Wouldn't that be possible for any notion, if taken
to its extreme? You may take distrust or selfishness for that matter.
Maybe, but I rather think these are words that are
able to trigger something inside of you at the right moment. However,
it is possible just as well that the word is of no importance.
Could there be 'privileged' words?
I don't think so; the man at the baker's on the corner
may say something unawares, which is strikingly significant.
Picking up any word you like out of a telephone book,
you won't have this conversation. So there is something to that
word. You can sense it. You should dare to talk from feeling, if
not you won't have any real conversation any more, everything will
be the same everywhere. So, if theoretically true, we don't talk
like that. We see distinctions between the words. To enjoy this
coffee doesn't run as deep as to say goodbye to a woman I have
loved for ten years. Not taking this into account brings you
right back again to the supremely abstract level of transcendental
What we're doing here is to play the impotent game
of forms. We know we are powerless from the start, but let's pretend
we're supposed to know and wait and see what comes out. Certain
words apparently evoke some magic; we can watch or explore them
and find out what reaction they brings about.
Okay. Let's go back to the question. How come in
duality it's always only one side of the matter that refers to
oneness? Trust is doing better than distrust, love does it better
You've got to decide then from which level you watch.
If I observe the animal instinct in man, it's pretty clear right
away. I then see trust as a biological function. We want to survive
collectively. Thinking in terms of 'aliveness' you'll always arrive
at positive values. All else springs from non-aliveness, but that's
of no interest to human existence.
Sure, man is a standard for all things. However,
if from human existence we're defining non-duality as 'trust' moreover,
it seems as if only just one side of duality refers to the one.
You'll still have got the positive versus the negative, whereas
the one is truly undivided altogether.
Let's see then if the other side, the negative, also
refers to oneness. When looking at ancient times and their horrible
battles, you'll see man is competitive, he wants to attack, by
nature. In the animal world distrust is sometimes quite natural.
So why do we think trust is more important than distrust, whereas
the latter protects us better? Perhaps being trustful goes with
nice feelings. But from a functional point of view it needn't be
the best. If only people would have been a bit more mistrusting
during World War II, they would have stopped Hitler at once.
cake or toothache
Wolter Keers said: 'Do you choose the cake
or the toothache?' You choose the cake of course. What does this
preference for the positive originate from in the first place?
That too is a purely biological mechanism, a kind
of innate instinct for survival. In comfortable living surroundings
you increase your chances of survival.
Once having obtained something though, after a while
you are back for more. Having eaten a cake, you want another one.
A Volkswagen first, then a Ferrari... It's human nature wanting
for more all the time.
Isn't there a hierarchy, like the Maslow pyramid
of needs? First you want a house, then relationship and attention,
then art, culture and finally transcendence. In the West we are
at the top. If you are somewhere down in the pyramid, you are in
quite a different register altogether: What I need is what you
need too and if there's not enough for the two of us, we beat each
other's brains out. So what remains of this transcendental trust?
I've always believed I would never be capable of
killing, until my children were born. I found out a killer may
appear inside of me, if my child is being hurt. So what is happening
and how you will be acting cannot be judged by your image of yourself,
or the image of you others have, to which you feel committed. All
that appears within you is 'what is', and you can do nothing but
trust that, can you?
If being trustful means: to trust that which appears
inside of you, that's alright with me. Yet I may trust as well
that I won't kill even in that situation.
the agenda and the morrow
If tracing it then to daily proportions: when somebody
wants to enter the next day after endless laborious thinking, or
when somebody feels deeply sorry about something, I think: that's
a shame. It is too bad if anybody should be burdened with either
of these. Why panic, if you failed to plan for the next day? Why
Well, writing things down in your agenda is functional
after all, isn't it?
The question is where the functional turns into something
troublesome.. And to my view that's when there's a 'me' coming
But then, with or without a me, to 'it' it makes
no difference whether or not your agenda has been written in?
If you are planning for the next week, it doesn't mean you need
a 'me' to do that. It happens or doesn't happen.
It's happening of course. But still it is a fact
that a lot of people are stuck with troublesome thoughts of the
and can't change that. I just don't understand why.
Planning things is nice because you can realize something.
It possibly means having a nice day tomorrow. I do understand
that people are building a future reality that doesn't exist and
which you are projecting forward: so as to feel more comfortable.
In actual fact we don't know what tomorrow will be like.
Okay, it's always now, but I can't be really aware of that. We know it is so,
and yet we start dealing with this future. You are moving toward something
not existing, that's funny, is it?
Which implies that I as a director am in control. In any case it's rather peculiar
for me to be occupied with the life that has been and is going to be, whereas
in reality it's always now and can never be not-now.
Well, while at the dentist's I'd be only too glad
if it were not now.
trust starts from connecting
Trust seems to be connected with things that have
happened to you. You must have gone through bad experiences first
in order to get to know distrust. I think it's about people's relationships
Trust always relates to something. You may consider
trust from your full human being, feelings, mind and body. Seeing
trust that way, you could call it a kind of connection. For instance
in 'worshipping'. This woman has managed to connect the trusting
to the completeness surrounding her, a transcendental being whole.
She opened to Bhagwan, and later on to totality.
Perhaps you should begin somewhere to connect yourself. You can
either keep out of life's way or make life invite you. You only
do so by connecting to things you come across in your life.
You should look at yourself in relation to an object.
Then you are in a duality that you understand best. You can tell:
I trust my mother, I trust my guru, I trust totality.
At totality we've finished up. Yet, there's nothing left to say anymore. If
you still want to be able to talk, you've got to stick to the ordinary objects
as a consequence.
Trust then is still comprehensible. For instance, I trust Rinus Michels, because
of what has happened earlier on. I trust Osho. Why? Because you stake something
whole of yourself, which wants to direct itself to even more of that. So we've
got to find an object and have a look at trust afterwards.
Do cynicism and skepticism get in the way
I think the power of trust outweighs any cynicism
by far. It always wants to increase, we always want to get absorbed
into the 'greater'. That's the reason why there is this drive.
It's there in order to get something, that's true, but if you look
on this motive as the source of life, things become clear. Trust
may come into being out of anything, from a simple intention to
worshipping the highest of all. You continually add to it, until
you slip into totality.
I find it fascinating that trust may grow. It may
increase more and more. So what is this? There is something to
it as a consequence, which is not in the word, but is in me.
You trust a number of set things and your mind watches over them. The first
bit of trust is easy to come by. You can test it. And it may keep on growing
bit by bit, just like the woman 'worshipping' and finally opening into complete
Isn't that because of her experience? In that she
sees things work out well again and again and lets go of all her
...or, on the contrary, has a strong desire for something.
That's because without longing for something, you won't stir yourself.
If you're going to see totality as a living, dynamical thing, you
end up in a whirlpool. It gets more and more real to you. It will
absorb ever more aspects of you. Just regard it as a metaphor
for the process of realization. The realization of a word, in this
case: trust. In doing so the word may enliven, otherwise you'll
knock it out straight away.
trust as an abstraction
Increasing trust is an image, an abstraction. The
ever-fascinating thing to me is to see through abstractions so
that notions lose substance of meaning and become meaningless.
So what is it that you see through in those abstractions?
That they are abstractions. The moment you see through
them, what remains is what is concrete.
'What is'. And there's nothing to tell about that,
except by way of abstractions. Abstractions are structures, constructs.
'What is' is never a construct. The risk of using metaphors is
that they make people really believe in them.
To me that may be right on a functional level. I
go to someone like Osho and I'm skeptical. Yet, I agree more and
more, transfer my bank account and leave my family. That's about
increasing trust, isn't it? I can say 'it's what is', but that's
not what happens to me. Emotional surrender takes place. That is
an approaching route to 'what is' for that matter, is it?
The power of surrender may burn off the personality as on might say.
Is it possible to celebrate and live life
I don't remember I ever needed trust in order to
understand what things are about. Trust doesn't mean anything to
me. Why not just celebrate life as it presents itself?
I associate 'celebration' with the Christian community.
Celebration doesn't mean that much to me. When I walk outside
in a couple of minutes, will I be celebrating my life? Would that
be the state of being that you've longed for all day long? It may
again be a word to make another penny drop, but which is not the
ultimate as it is. Even if the penny dropped, you still won't go
through life celebrating all day, will you? You may be fed up with
life or just don't think anything of it. Quite often there's just
nothing at all just the ordinariness of life.
Then we arrive at neutrality.
Just doing things nice and easy, in trust one time, out of distrust the other
time. As a matter of fact you won't get away from setting targets, having
desires. For a while I thought you could and should, but after some time
that idea passed by all by itself. And now once more I take up all sorts
of things. I've found out that once you let go of those rigid assumptions
as to what life should be like; things get a lot easier. You can
still feel annoyed, but you don't really believe in it any more. On the other
hand you are making use of it to satisfy desires that you sense to be there.
If not I don't know what to do and I would become a 'plant'.
You can split up a man's life and analyze it to death,
but there's no getting away from the fact that life must be lived.
Of course it's also about everyday life. 'To celebrate
'perhaps sounds a bit cheerful, but it is the day-to-day play,
of taking everyday life for real. You aren't always aware of that.
Our understanding that so-called reality is mere sensory perceptions makes
a substantial hole in this reality's authenticity, as a consequence of which
its weight falls down.
is it a play or is it real?
I always compare it to playing tennis, trying your
very best to win. You know it is a game, yet you play it the best
you can, because if you don't it's no fun. In the same attitude
of mind you go to the movies; it's no fun watching a movie and
realizing 'it's just film' all the time. The essence of a game
is to pretend it's not a game. You should play it true to life.
Do you have a choice? And first you've got to know
what is real, until you know something is a play.
Is this we're doing here a play? I think it's real. The difference between
play and real, in my view, is quite difficult to make. Because we don't exactly
know what is real. I consider my whole life to be real.
You consider it real, but it isn't real.
Who tells you? In my opinion you think you really
experience things most of the time. And even then I would have
to realize it's a play. That's quite serious already. Just try
and play a game truly. There's always some seriousness in the background.
You've just got to take it for real, or else the
play is no fun.
If you play a game, you don't take it seriously.
Now what is the difference between play and real? If I'm doing
badly on the job, they'll kick me out. Well, is that real or is
it play? Is it different from losing a game of chess? That's a
little less intense, yet gives you the same feeling. For, if not,
it's no fun at all.
Ah well, it's a game of words...
...and we're playing it only too seriously...
Seated round the table: Nico Gietema, Herman
Snijders, Ruud Houweling, Vincent Peeters and Kees Schreuders.
*'Filosofie voor de Zwijnen' was published
in Dutch by Veen Magazines
**1984, 20 years ago, scriptwriter Frank
Wiering made a film on the Bhagwan organization (New Man). He
followed four of them, from a living communion in The Veluwe
(The Netherlands) through to the commune in Amsterdam to Rasneeshpuram
in the US, the place where the master stayed at the time. It's
the eighties: They, just like Wiering himself, were seeking after
a more profound life, struggling out of the compelling consumer
society, career and status.
Twenty years after the first documentary
(New Man) Frank Wiering filmed the four Bhagwan devotees he had
followed in 1984, once again. The result: New Man 2.
What happened to these four people who entirely dedicated
themselves to their ideals? Where did they end up? And how have
the master's lessons determined their lives? Evidently they spread
all over the world, from Australia to Denmark. It's about seeking
a different way of looking at life. An amazing, enviable and touching
confrontation with existence.
(edited by Kees Schreuders & Vincent
Peeters, Utrecht, February 2005. Translated in English by José Zwaferink)