A Powerful, and Counter-Intuitive Buddhist Tip for Long-lasting Relationships & Business.
Do not Trust.
It’s a good thing.
I’m sitting in a cafe, right now. The Trident Cafe & Booksellers in downtown Boulder, Colorado, on West Pearl. In two hours, I’ll be biking back up to my house, Hotelephant, on the Hill, to video interview Jared Polis, a friend, a Congressman, and a multi-kabillionaire.
In our publicity for Congressman Polis’ interview (we’ll focus on his support for a bill that would create a federal law mandating equal employment rights for GLBTQ, which surprisingly doesn’t now exist), there wasn’t a single mention of his long involvement in and support of elephant. Not that it’s hugely important—he’s an impressive person, regardless. But he’s also elephant “family,” part of our community, and that makes his appearance on our Walk the Talk Show all the more interesting. I’ve gone to his Halloween party, he’s hosted my last two birthdays. He’s joined me at our Buddhist Shambhala Day (new year celebration), I’ve grilled him and his opponents in an official candidates’ debate for Congress on the stage of the Boulder Theater.
But there was no mention of that. I asked my talk show producer why–and she said, oh, I leave the PR up to her assistant. I trust her to do it. I can’t check everything.
I said, it’s a Buddhist thing, do not trust. Never assume anything.
It sounds like a negative thing.
If we don’t engage in blind faith, we’re forced to remain alert, awake, all the time. That’s a good thing. There’s a saying in Buddhism that not trusting makes friendship stronger. Because we always remain awake to one another. I think that’s fascinating: imagine a couple, married for forty years, who doesn’t relax into assumption, or blind faith, in one another, but instead remains awake, alert, fresh to one another. I love that.
There’s a poem about it, by a Buddhist meditation master:
But be friendly.
By being friendly toward others
You increase your non-trusting.
The idea is to be independent,
Not glued, one might say, to others.
Thus one becomes ever more
Compassionate and friendly.
Whatever happens, stand on your own feet
And memorize this incantation:
Do not trust.
So: don’t trust.
Be friendly, but don’t trust. Be awake, instead. Trust is blind.
Relationships don’t require trust, they require respect.
Trust is overrated.
Without trust, we have to communicate more, that’s a good thing: touch in, then go out and accomplish.
Better to just be awake, friendly.