What is the role of doubt in our life?  

What is the role of doubt in our life?  

Can doubt be positive and constructive?  If we take the time to pause and be self-reflective, doubt can be a process to review or check out the alignment of our actions with the values that we are committed to and uphold. What are we actually doing?  Do the fruits of our actions match our intentions?  We grow in wisdom through our attempt to inquire into events in our lives.  If we sit with doubt and do not move beyond, it has the capacity to erode our self-confidence.  Henri Nouwen suggested that we don’t think our way into a new way of living; we live our way into a new way of thinking.  Perhaps doubt is the starting point.

Question marks surrounding a person demonstrating self doubt

At times the mind tends to latch onto one thing after another, it can be relentless, producing a lot of internal noise.  We can become trapped by our own mind.  Ask yourself if you are attached to a particular outcome? When making a difficult choice check in with yourself, which decision makes you feel depleted and which one makes you feel energized?  By focusing in this way you become connected to your senses, connecting to your body as well as your mind, like sensing the process when you eat an apple, noticing the chewing, swallowing and digestion.  It is by tuning into the felt sense, focusing, or becoming mindful, that we begin to pay attention to what is going on.  Steady practice is required for the mind to become more settled.  You are working to shift the attention away from inner thoughts which are like boats floating down a river and begin to focus on the river itself.  By creating a sense of connecting with things around you rather than being separate it brings interconnection into view.  This can help to facilitate a shift in perspective.  If this perspective is used as an opportunity for self-reflection it can provide a measure of objectivity into “doubt” so we can better understand what is happening in our lives.

When there are doubts in our life there are often contradictions too.  Without contradictions there is no progress.  It can be uncomfortable to have our habits, prejudices, or partial identities be challenged and disrupted.  However, it is those contradictions that we have the potential to wake up to greater possibilities, if we can move beyond our resistance to choosing sides to preserve our preferred position.   Sometimes our preferred position keeps us stuck in repeating patterns of action and reaction.  Become curious about the “opposite,” strive for a synthesis through the integration process, bringing together and producing a greater sum – that of differing parts.

Knowing the difference between being in formation with others and being on course with our own inner guidance is vital to our sense of self.  Sometimes we choose the comfort of conformity over the uncertainty of being ourselves.  If we can access our options and inquire of ourself whether something is a possible improvement requires reflection and the recognition of who you are.  Staying curious has the ability to bring you directly into the now and can create insight.

Some of our ideas and beliefs that we have clung to for a long time may have been in existence since childhood and have become like fossils embedded deep within.  But are they helping or hindering our situation?  We want to amplify self and expand our capacities so that things like confusion, doubt, and overwhelming difficulties are dissolved rather than solved. The focus of your attention initiates the primary emotional processing of various events.  Accepting your situation doesn’t mean abandoning the effort to improve what is.  It means think again.  Pass through the clouds of doubt and the shadows of disbelief in self.  There is no magic.  The magic is in the state of our mind and the thoughts that we allow to enter into our awareness.  At some point our actions become smarter and we find a greater sense of well-being, longer durations of feeling peaceful and expanded moments of happiness.  It is important to learn to change unhealthy habitual thought patterns of doubt because we cannot enter into a place of peace while we are in a state of confusion.

“Life isn’t about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.” –  George Bernard Shaw