Doubts About the Practice

Whether we like it or not, doubt is probably going to be a companion for at least some of the path.

Working and seeing in new ways almost never comes without uncertainty, Between what we knew, and what we're discovering in the freshness of our present experience, there is a gap.

The conditioned mind perceives this gap as a threatening void that annihilates our ability to function well and respond to reality. It is a subtle and cunning expert in counseling us back into old patterns with what looks like "common sense." Its message = keep using the original software installed on the system, no matter how broken, limited or out of date it is.

This is why not-knowing is such good counsel, particularly in life transitions. The bigger the shift = the greater the disorientation, the greater the not-knowing, and the greater the opportunity for true wisdom.

This is also true with small things. Many of us encounter it just with the practice of grounding and present moment awareness. Is this it? Are we doing right? What are we going for here? I don't think I'm feeling it. How do I know when it's working?

These kinds of arisings are actually where the real leaps happen in practice. Why? Because they throw us completely into our own experience. Each doubt is basically an opportunity for inquiry - for deep, sincere, prolonged listening.

Everything becomes a living question, a dialogue between the confused mind (the child) and the wisdom of awareness (the parent):

  • What is grounding for me, in my own experience?

  • What are the signs of it that are unique to me?

  • What are the signs - specific to me - when I am not grounded? When I am "too far out"?

Beyond all the general instructions (feeling of the feet, the grounding chord, whatever) lies our sincerity - the fundamental sense that if we really want to know something for ourselves, and we investigate with awareness, we can know. If we don't want to know, we won't. We can trust in the simplicity of that.

We must learn to live with the question in stillness and really listen from our nature for the answer.