My Practice is Doubt?

As long as I can remember I’ve believed in our fundamental innate wisdom. It made sense that the Creator would build a self-sufficient organism, endowed with all the elements necessary for its journey through life, including and especially the knowledge for self-realization .

Despite this conviction, however, I have struggled to manifest this wisdom in my own life and for years I have struggled with doubt.  I questioned my own wisdom, in favor of that of others.  I questioned my self-worth, such that I was often led down paths not suited to me. In questioning my character I would reinforced those traits I desired least. Doubt has certainly played a less than beneficial role in my life, although one could argue this point, if it brings me to this place of insight.

The Sakyamuni Buddha and many other wisdom teachers have encouraged us to test their teachings in order to realize our personal Truth.  This admonition would certainly seem to encourage fostering a certain degree of doubt as part of our practice.  Yet the Buddha also warns that there is nothing “more dreadful than the habit of doubt”,  and doubt is listed among the five hindrances that impede successful practice. So where is the balance? When do the questions stop being fuel for our journey and instead become hindrances to advancement.

The answer, I believe, is in the practice of letting go.  We let the questions come and release them into the emptiness that is constant change.  Then we observe what comes and let that go too. Into the emptiness. Into our fundamental mind. We practice listening to our inner Wisdom and applying its teachings in our lives.  This is not an easy practice, I’ve found.  I often find myself questioning the still, small voice and wishing it were a little more earth shattering and perhaps not so small.  This is where we engage our faith and trust in our essential Being, God, Unity.  We trust that the appropriate questions will arise for our particular path and just as surely, the right answers will manifest in us. Daehaeng Sunim calls this true, great questioning.  

“When you wholeheartedly believe in and entrust everything to your foundation, questioning bursts forth.  When you let go again of even these questions, the answer will arise from within”

Doubt opens up a space for exploration, a space of non-grasping where, in the words of Martine Bachelor, author and meditation teacher, we can creatively engage the present moment and let our wisdom blossom. Doubt is ok.  The questions will come.  My practice will be let them go and trust my innate wisdom to take care of me as it has through this and many past lifetimes.

5 thoughts on “My Practice is Doubt?”

  1. Wow, What a wonderful post. There’s so much in there, already I want to go back and read that many times. Thank you so much Jabu.

    And welcome to Wake Up and Laugh! It’s so good to have you here! Thank you! _/\_

  2. Jabu, New Brother in Zen! Hello! Welcome, and Love, Peace, and Joy to You. Thank you for this post, in many ways. When I was starting out with Chong Go Sunim, Marcus, Joseph, Joe, and others in at the Sanghas in Seoul, we discussed and debated the ideas of The Gautama Buddha; specifically whether he believed in a God. Indeed, in What The Buddha Taught, it is explicitly said he instructed not to take refuge in any god, but I have come to love Buddhism because it is, for me, The Un-religion, allowing for all sorts of ideas and practices in one’s spiritual kitbag, because I see it as a form of Zen, since Gautama had to to sit in meditation before Buddhism itself came to be, and more so because we know Gautama Buddha taught different things to different people according to what they needed (Which Chong Go Sunim says is the essence of a true teacher). AS SUCH, Buddhism, Zen, and other transcendental practices are unlimited in their abilities to not only lead us to enlightenment, but to keep us open minded to everything. What I am saying is, thank you for mentioning God…. Zen meditation is the single most effective way to help people alter their lives, actively-rather than passively-as in supplication–be they Christians, Muslims, Jews, or whatever, and in keeping it open, we allow for a unifying of practices, an elimination of exclusiveness, and ultimately, broadened wisdom, which, sadly, the interpretations of most other faiths or practices lack, causing as you know, rifts in spiritual practices, dualism, and stress in the politics of human civilization…. And thank you , Jabu, for bringing forward the very helpful concept of the benefits of doubt. As Melanie Beaty says, ‘confusion (or, for our purposes, “doubt”) is a gift, telling us something is not right (or for our purposes, not the answer).’ I do online relationship counseling, and I tell people all the time that doubt is just a way of knowing we need to meditate on something more, or see what it is that is not “right” with what we are dealing with. Dae Heng Kun Sunim is wonderful-for taking Gautama Buddha’s message and making the cornerstone of her teaching of it, the belief in one’s foundation (for dealing with, among other things, doubt), which is remarkable, because in so doing, she echoes Taoism (Practice Non-Doing, and Trust The Way), Christianity (Let Go and Let God), and modern thought, (Trust Yourself/Believe in Yourself/Follow Your Heart)! Thank you for coming aboard Jabu, and for reminding us of these gems in a beautiful post! Peace, Love, and Joy!

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