Trust vs Certainty

“Someone who meditates becomes an agent of the evolutionary process, watering the root every day from deep inside. You’re becoming a wise person, and a person who has wisdom on the basis of knowingness is a person who no longer depends upon words like trust in order to be able to move forward with grace.”

Thom Knoles

How much trust did you have that the sun would rise this morning? And even if it was hidden by clouds, did you still trust that it was there?

Unless you live near one of the polar caps, where you can go for months without seeing the sun, no doubt you had enough certainty that you didn’t need to apply any trust at all. You were certain it was going to rise and can be certain it will rise again tomorrow.

Much of the stress in our lives is caused by uncertainty, which we smooth over by applying trust or faith to a situation or to a person, but that’s an approach that leaves us exposed to outside influences. 

In this episode, Thom shares a sure-fire approach to dial up the certainty in our lives and to make us resilient to the uncertainty that we need to keep life interesting. We are certain you’ll enjoy this episode :-).

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Episode Highlights


Object-referral Way of Looking at the World



Problem Means Problem Consciousness



No More Problem



Self-referral Consciousness Commences with Vedic Meditation



Consciousness Field is the Knower, Knowing and Known



We Start Taking More Responsibility for What we Are Experiencing



Percentage of Self-referral Awareness



Internal Locus of Control



External Locus of Control



But a Highly Sophisticated Human Brain



Faith and Trust – Suspension of Disbelief



Certainty is Better than Trust



Absolute Supreme Knowledge



Vedic Rishis Don’t Operate on the Level of Trust



Knowledge Has Organizing Power



Knowledge of the Knower has Infinite Organizing Power



Capture the Fort – Then the Entire Territory Belongs to You



Water the Roots



Becoming an Agent of the Evolutionary Process


Jai Guru Deva


Jai Guru Deva. Thank you for listening to my podcast, The Vedic Worldview. I’m Thom Knoles. Today we’re going to start with a few thoughts on the subject of trust.

[01:02] Object-referral Way of Looking at the World

In order for us properly to enter the topic, we have to look at another fundamental difference between the way that a person of evolving consciousness experiences the world, compared with someone who is, though evolving, evolving much more slowly.

In the regular way in which people look at matters of trust. We have things like, “Is someone trustworthy? Is there trustworthiness there? Can I trust? I’m not sure I can trust, so I might put that on myself. But maybe I should go ahead and trust?” Or “I trusted once and then I ended up with a negative experience and now I can’t really trust anymore,” and so on and so forth. A lot of talk about trust.

Let’s boil it all down to two completely different ways of looking at the world. And the first way is object-referral. That my experience is driven by the world. The world is the source of my experience. The source of my experience. And also, slight distinction between the two, but an important one, the cause of my experience. Both source and cause.

The world “is out there.” The people in the world, the various elements of nature, the weather, the idea that I’m living on a planet that is going through ever-changing phenomenology, the object world. Everything except little old me and little old me is a lowercase me.

And then there is the self-referral way of looking at the world. I recognize that my interpretation of my surroundings is based in a consciousness state that I’m in at a given time.

[03:31] Problem Means Problem Consciousness

When there are problems, problem, the word problem means problem consciousness.

So for example, I’ve given this before as an example, my little son, Henry, who’s four. Who sees, that it looks as though his little brother, Asa has moved his Ironman toy and comes crying to me “Ironman gone. Asa took it. Asa is always taking things. I can’t trust him.” And from where I’m sitting, as these concerns are being brought to me with great force, I can see the little Ironman sitting over on the window sill in the recreation room where they play. And I say, “You know, maybe you should go and have another look right over there.”

“No, no, no. Asa took it and I’ve had this problem before. Dad, you just don’t understand.” Asa is, by the way, two years old. “Asa took it, now my world is over with” kind of thing. His whole being is consumed by the fact that this thing is missing.

When I say to him, “Come with me, we’re going to go and stand near the window and see if we can find it.” We go and stand right next to it. He’s looking out the window, “Why are we standing here?” And I say, “Just look down.” He looks down. It’s a rather deep window. So from top to bottom, the lower sill of the window is about at his waist height.

[05:10] No More Problem

“I wonder if that Ironman might be right here?”, pointing at it. He looks at it, looks at me rather sheepishly, and then has to go and sit for a while. And because now, no more problem, his whole way of looking at the world has to go through a change.

Happy that he got the toy, but still feeling a need to withdraw from the former argument that it was his little brother who was the source of either, in this case, his misery, or if a little brother hadn’t moved a toy, could’ve been the source of, you know, at least a kind of impartiality about little brother. Lovable little brother who doesn’t disturb my toys.

[06:01] Self-referral Consciousness Commences with Vedic Meditation

Object-referral, self-referral. Is the world that you’re experiencing, of itself and unto itself, the cause of what you’re experiencing and the source of your thoughts.

To what extent, and this is not a black and white way of looking at things, as in it is either all this or it’s all that. There are percentages. Somebody could be 95% living in an object-referral reality, giving an only 5%, conceptual allowance that, “Somehow I’m responsible for what I’m experiencing,” but 95%, “If only all the elements of the world behaved in alignment with what I need, then I would be a happy person.”

 This is somebody who’s very object referral, either attempting to make arrangements for the world and all the elements in it, all the people in it… “to conform with and comply with what I consider to be my very innocent needs. I have certain needs and why shouldn’t the world be providing for me?”

 “Maybe I could answer that question in a variety of ways, but if I come up with a shortfall, it’s because the world didn’t provide me with the resources that I need in order for me to be someone who can assess the whole question with a degree of accuracy.”

Self-referential consciousness commences when we start the practice of Vedic Meditation.

[07:53] Consciousness Field is the Knower, Knowing and Known

In Vedic Meditation, we sit comfortably and easily, we close our eyes, and then we pick up a mantra or sound that has been taught to us by our qualified teacher of the Vedic Meditation technique, which comes from ancient India.

Within a few minutes of practicing the technique, in a 20 minute sitting, the mind has settled down to less-and-less active, more-and-more subtle consciousness states. Until ultimately the deepest state of consciousness is reached, and one experiences, perhaps for a few seconds, or even for minutes, with greater amount of twice daily practice over a period of years, perhaps several minutes of the bliss of just Being, Being capital B.

Not thinking. Not acting. Just Consciousness knowing itself. Consciousness experiencing Consciousness. That is the true capital S Self, that knowledge of the Knower. Knowledge of the Consciousness Field.

Consciousness Field is the Knower. Consciousness Field is the means by which Knowing is occurring. Consciousness Field is the Known. Knower Knowing and Known, all one thing, the Consciousness Field. It is the unbounded, Unified Field of Consciousness, the source of all of our thoughts and the home of all the laws of Nature.

Having that experience on a regular, strategic, and systematic basis for 20 minutes twice every day, one is an accomplished practitioner of Vedic Meditation.

[09:55] We Start Taking More Responsibility for What we Are Experiencing

And as that practice asserts on us, its effect, we start to notice more and more, that we begin taking responsibility for what we’re experiencing at a given time. “It may not in fact be the truth that everybody around me is behaving in a way that is infuriating to me. It may just be that I have those kinds of glasses on.”

You know, if you put on green glasses, the whole world looks convincingly green. If you put on red glasses, the whole world looks very convincingly red. If you put on blue glasses, the whole world looks very convincingly blue. A white wall, that is to say white without any glasses on at all, looks very blue with blue glasses on.

Someone wearing red glasses disagrees entirely. “That’s a red wall, anybody can see it.” Somebody with the green glasses on, disagrees with both of them. “It’s a green wall.” Each person is experiencing something that has a lens that has changed their perception of the outside world.

Is the outside world actually changing? No. The lens through which the person is perceiving is changing. We have a fundamental idea in Vedic science, and that is that the world is actually a projection of the state of consciousness in which we find ourselves.

[11:40] Percentage of Self-referral Awareness

Someone who is in a state of consciousness where Being is powerfully and abundantly awake, even in the regular waking state with eyes open outside of meditation, they can experience the underlying source of thought, the field of Being, the home of all the laws of Nature, while engaged, even in the most dynamic activity. Never being overshadowed by any activity from the outside. This is a person living in a very high percentage of self-referral awareness and a relatively low percentage of object-referral.

The object-referral world never goes away, but it can reduce down to, let’s say, 5% of responsibility for what it is I’m experiencing. In other words, the world and its offerings could be as little as 5% of what I take into account when I’m experiencing a thing.

95% it’s my consciousness state that is the cause of what I’m experiencing, since it’s my consciousness state and I have the capacity, in these more enlightened states, I have the capacity to alter my consciousness state, then I am in charge of what I’m experiencing rather than the world being in charge of what I’m experiencing.

This can be also very easily understood using a slightly different model, which I used and described in my podcast episode on the subject of hypnosis. Hypnosis is a very interesting thing. It requires a certain degree of suggestibility, and these things can be understood in terms of certain terms in psychology that we use to give us a value of the degree of suggestibility somebody has.

[13:47] Internal Locus of Control

An internal locus of control, Internalized locus of control, locus here is spelled L-O-C-U-S, locus. It means the fundamental ground from which you’re experiencing things. An internalized locus of control makes a person powerfully self-referential. They have self-referral consciousness. The object world is there, but it’s not the cause or the source of their thoughts and experiences.

They have what we call field independence. They’re independent of the field surrounding them, but an experiencer of it.

I am the Knower, I am the Totality Consciousness and the world around me is just the world around me. It behaves in all kinds of ways, but those ways are all easily predictable because they operate in accordance with sequential cascades of laws of Nature.

 My mind is grounded in the home of all the laws of Nature and so I’m not surprised by or disappointed by any of the behaviors of the laws of Nature around me. The world is simply behaving the way that the world behaves according to the laws of Nature.

[15:18] External Locus of Control

And then we have another state of consciousness, and again, these are not black-and-white states, we can have degrees of them, which is, in accordance with what I described earlier, object-referral awareness, where we have an externalized locus of control, L-O-C-U-S again, the point from which I sense that my experiences are being determined is external to me.

An externalized locus of control makes me field dependent. I’m dependent upon the world around me to make me happy, or the world around me is making me unhappy. So I, the knower inside, am at the mercy of whatever the world does. If the world decides to behave in some way that’s bewildering to me, which frequently it does in object-referral awareness, then I’m constantly surprised or constantly disappointed, and I just can’t figure things out.

Whereas in self-referral awareness, the world behaves in exactly the way that you would predict that it would, because cascades of behavior that are started by different consciousness states of different people and things in the world, cause very predictable behavior.

One is in charge of what one is experiencing and simply able, at will, to either interrupt the flow of the cascades of the way the laws of Nature are cascading and cause a different kind of effect, or simply to leave it alone and let the natural outcomes go the way that they are.

One has a greater sense of being in charge of what one is experiencing.

[17:16] Faith and Trust – Suspension of Disbelief

So an internalized locus of control versus an externalized locus of control. But neither of these being you know, an off/on or a black-and-white phenomenon. More again, percentages.

To what extent are we field independent self-referential, and have an internalized locus of control? And to what extent do we, at any given time, have a field-dependent externalized locus of control?

We are living a kind of object-referral life with bits of happiness here and there if the world conforms and seems to comply with what I consider my needs to be, but happiness comes and goes because the world just behaves on its own independently of me, and I have no control over it, and I’m not in charge of what I’m experiencing.

So these two consciousness states, out of one of them comes the idea of the great value of trust. Trust is a very interesting word. It is in fact a secular version of another word, which is used religiously, which is the word faith. Faith and trust really are the same word, the same concept, the degree to which you’re going to allow yourself to believe in things being okay, without any intellectually rigorous information and without any rigorous evidence, you’re going to suspend disbelief.

And so the suspension of disbelief, if done successfully, results in you being a trusting person. You know, somebody who, has some designs on somehow extracting from you, some benefit from themselves at your cost, could be thinking, “Aha, there’s a very trusting person,” And take advantage of you, but it doesn’t seem to matter because the great virtue seems to be placed on a successful suspense or suspension of disbelief.

[19:41] Certainty is Better than Trust

If you’re a trusting person, then somehow God smiles on you more. And that’s also the same kind of person, if we want to use the word trust in its religious context, we would use the word faith. You know, “I have faith. The things are so, I believe it, even though I don’t have any way of proving it. I don’t have any intellectual, intellectually rigorous phenomena I can go through to demonstrate things. Nonetheless, I’m going to sacrifice all and go ahead anyway, on the basis of trust or on the basis of faith.”

Trust is a very interesting thing because what it does is it puts on the other person the burden of them behaving well, rather than what we really should be going for when we have full-evolved Consciousness, we should have what we would say knowingness or knowledge.

What is it that’s better than trust? Well, it is certainty. What is it that’s better than trust? Trust means I don’t have certainty, and so I’m going to steel myself, make myself hardened and take a risk, perhaps quite a big risk, and decide that things will go all right if I just let go and trust everything. Or trust somebody, or trust a situation, or trust the weather report or whatever.

[21:18] Absolute Supreme Knowledge

What I don’t have when I have trust is I definitely don’t have absolute knowledge. Why shouldn’t we have absolute knowledge? It’s because we’ve been trained and indoctrinated in the idea that you can’t possibly have absolute supreme knowledge. If you did have absolute and supreme knowledge, then surely you wouldn’t need something, which is really the consolation prize of trust.

Is a person trustworthy, really is me saying, “I don’t really know anything about this person. I don’t know enough. Perhaps they’re a con person,” you know, confidence person, or perhaps that’s just me being suspicious. I’m going to default to trusting because I like the idea that I don’t really have any attachment to any outcome.” And that’s also faking it.

The old thing about “Fake it till you make it,” definitely not a Vedic ideal. Faking things until you make it is not a good idea from the Vedic perspective. What we want to go for is knowingness, knowledge. If possible, supreme knowledge. The ability to put things to rest and to put concerns to rest on the basis of knowledge, not on the basis of, “Okay, I’m trusting you, all right? I’m giving you something here, which is my trust and it’s now up to you to justify my trust and you’re gonna do the right thing?”

[23:02] Vedic Rishis Don’t Operate on the Level of Trust

And there’s this kind of risky gambling, everybody asking questions, and the onus, the burden, is on the other person to demonstrate their trustworthiness. So far from that, when you meet a Vedic Rishi, they don’t operate on the level of trust, not at all.

I remember once saying to my Maharishi, or hearing somebody say to him, that a particular person should be rather trustworthy in performing a very responsible job that was a high stakes thing that Maharshi wanted done.

Why? Well, because he had done lots of rounding— rounding is industrial-strength meditation that you do in a retreat setting— and Maharishi’s response was, “You take a potato, you put it in the oven, and it bakes, and when you take it out, it’s a baked potato. But it’s still a potato.”

He was making his comment on the fact that even though the advocates of this particular man who was being, in his absence, nominated for a very responsible job, the advocates were all in favor. Maharishi was using his knowledge and his experience to say, “He’s still not ready, not ready for this job.” And the whole discussion ended there.

It wasn’t a case of, “Oh yeah, well maybe he’s done some industrial-strength meditating, so now as a result of that, I can trust him.” There’s no maybe involved, there’s no guesswork involved. Even better, there’s no shoddy guesswork involved, which is what most people live their lives by, is shoddy guesswork, and therefore, there’s no need for anything like trust.

[25:06] Knowledge Has Organizing Power

What’s there is absolute knowledge, self-referential, totally internalized locus of control, field-independent, supreme knowledge. This is what we want to go for.

So this is our goal. Our goal is to develop knowledge, knowingness. Knowledge of the Knower is the starting point for that. How do we get to that position? First of all, all knowledge is only knowledge to the extent that the Knower is awakened inside. In most people who don’t meditate, the Knower, the ultimate witness point, that which is the Knower of all the thoughts, might be awakened only to 1% or maximum 2% value.

You learn to meditate and rapidly that changes 10%, 15%, 20%. A few years of meditation, 50%, 60%. A few more years of meditation, 70%, 80% the Knower, that which is the knower of all things.

Let’s look at it from a slightly different angle. Information theory is a theory that everyone who follows the philosophy of science or who has done in fact, computer-based programming knowledge, there’s a fundamental tenet of knowledge theory, of information theory, which goes something like this, knowledge has organizing power. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but if you have knowledge, you have organizing power.

And it seems to be axiomatic, meaning uncontroversial and unchangeable that knowledge has organizing power, knowledge eliminates fear. Given that it’s true that knowledge has organizing power, then what is the organizing power of knowledge of That by which all things are known.

[27:21] Knowledge of the Knower has Infinite Organising Power

What do I mean by that? What is the organizing power of knowledge of That, and we’re going to give it a capital T here, Knowledge of That by which all things are known?

The Knower, the Knower, the consciousness field deep inside you. That state of Being, that unboundedness is the Unified Field of Consciousness, the Unified Field of all the laws of Nature.

That place deep inside you that you touch upon when you meditate is not just your own little personal patch of peace and tranquility. It is in fact the Totality field. Out of that field, all laws of Nature emerge. Embedded in that field, all intentionality about how the laws of Nature are going to zoom forth into manifestation. It’s all contained there.

When you capture that field, you capture knowledge of the Knower. Knowledge of the Knower has infinite organizing power.

Perhaps an analogy will help here. This is an analogy that comes from the famous treatises known as the Upanishads. A group of texts that come out of the Vedic body of knowledge, Upanishad.

You see a territory that’s desirable to capture. This is for somebody who is a conquering type. The territory has gold mines and silver mines and diamond mines, just to give it some glitter. And so you could mount a campaign where you go and you capture one of these diamond mines, or you capture one of the gold mines, or you capture one of the silver mines.

[29:26] Capture the Fort – Then the Entire Territory Belongs to You

But there’s a fort that is the stronghold that protects all of these silver mines and diamond mines and gold mines. If you capture the fort, then the entire territory belongs to you. Capturing the fort means capture the field of Being. When we capture that knowledge of the Knower, we capture the field of Being.

When we awaken in ourself, the home of all knowledge, the home of all the laws of Nature, then all capabilities belong to that state. We could race around and try to capture this thing and that thing and so on, you know, get some stuff done and all of that. But if we don’t have knowledge of the Knower, then we don’t have the ultimate infinite organizing power. And so awakening that inside of us, which is knowledge of the Knower, awakens our infinite organizing power.

One last story, parable or analogy. A gardener notices a tree that normally would have fruits and flowers all over it in season, is bereft of the flowers and the fruits and the leaves of the tree are beginning to turn brown.

And if this gardener hadn’t yet really properly graduated from gardening school, then she might climb up into the tree with a little bucket of green paint and think, “Well, the leaves are supposed to be green. I’ll just start painting them green.” Painting away, painting away 100,000 leaves in a big tree and then, you know, painting one leaf after the next and comes down and gets some perspective, stands back and has a look.

[31:24] Water the Roots of the Tree – the Underlying Transcendental Field of the Tree

“Wow, green tree, looking good so far.” Noticing that there aren’t any flowers or fruits, goes to the market, buys some lovely flowers and buys some fruits, and then with a stapler and some tape, climbs up into the tree and starts taping fruits onto the tree branches and stapling flowers onto the branches.

And then goes back and gets some perspective and has a look and says, “Green leaves, that was a lot of work. A hundred thousand leaves, but I got it done. All those fruits hanging from the branches, beautiful. Flowers everywhere, fantastic.”

But what tends to happen is that with all this dressing of the tree, only a few days needs to go by between the time when the fruits go rotten and fall apart, the leaves start to fall off the tree and the flowers all begin to sag and become very drab.

“What happened? What’s wrong? I did everything.” Actually, the thing that needed to be done wasn’t done. At the base of the tree, down deeply in the ground are its roots, and taking water and watering the roots of the tree would’ve been the solution. If you water the roots of the tree, you water the underlying transcendental field of the tree.

Then without having to climb in the tree and paint all the individual leaves, without having to staple on the fruits and tape on the flowers and things, the tree would naturally, of its own, blossom into a beautiful, fruitful flowering tree. But we’re trying to manipulate the outer part of the tree and make the tree look trustworthy.

Make the tree look as though it’s really something. And then having dressed it up like that, having not nourished the tree from its colorless sap inside. You pour the water on the roots and the colorless sap inside the tree converts itself into beautiful fruits, into beautiful green leaves, into beautiful flowers.

[33:44] Someone Who Meditates Becomes an Agent of the Evolutionary Process

This is our meditation program. We take a dive inside. We experience the field of Being. We awaken from deep inside ourselves, that fundamental home of all the laws of Nature and Nature begins to support us. Nature itself gives its support to whatever it is, is an evolutionary agent.

Someone who meditates, becomes an agent of the evolutionary process, watering the root every day from deep inside, you’re becoming a wise person, and a person who has wisdom on the basis of knowledge and knowingness, is a person who no longer depends upon words like trust, in order to be able to move forward with grace. So let’s transcend the need for trust and dive into a larger concept, which is the concept of supreme knowledge.

Jai Guru Deva.

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