On the spiritual journey, doubt can either cripple us or it can free us. Doubt is simply a feeling of uncertainty. When it is expressed as a negative emotion, it causes us to stall out in practice by creating fearful responses and blocking change. Or it can be a powerful tool for awakening when it’s used as an invitation to challenge what you think you know.
There is a healthy kind of doubt that leads to inquiry and to deep questioning of all that you’ve assumed to be true. Feel into the difference between deadly doubt and healthy doubt to see which one may be affecting you.
—Walking the Advanced Path by Mu
People, by and large, function habitually. They want certainty in their lives and find comfort in the rituals of their minds, even if these habits keep them from realizing Truth. They will use deadly doubt to “protect” them from changing.
Doubt becomes a spiritual gift when it enables you to question your assumptions, beliefs, and stories. This healthy doubt is a doorway between thought. It is an opportunity to find out who you really are before layers of conditioning and habituation. It allows you to ask, what if…? It is a state of wonder, curiosity, and openness where Reality can reveal itself.
The Buddha said to find out for yourself if what you’ve read and what you’ve heard and what’s been passed down for generations is true. Is it true for you? In this moment, is it still true?
—Advanced Path by Mu
Meditation and mindfulness are important partners to healthy doubt. They interrupt your usual cognitive processes so that you can inquire into what is True. This inquiry allows you to challenge your assumptions, so that you can stop behaving reflexively and start living intentionally.
Waking up is not about changing out your beliefs. In other words, awakening is not an exchange of one set of “unenlightened” beliefs for a new set of “enlightened” beliefs. It is moving from a fixed set of beliefs to fluidity beyond all beliefs. It is the space of not knowing, which is the field of possibility and freedom.
Consider your relationship to doubt, and realize that doubt can serve your spiritual journey. It can teach you to relinquish all that you “know” and cherish uncertainty. It can teach you how to be free.
Mu is the author of three books about the direct path of awakening. Transcending the Advanced Path, a detailed exploration of the shift from realization to full enlightenment, is available on Amazon.com and internationally at Amazon UK, CA, FR and DE. Walking the Advanced Path, a clear guide for how to navigate the pathway to enlightenment with responsibility, awareness, and grace, is available at Amazon.com and Amazon UK, CA, FR and DE. Advanced Path is a collection of lyrical verses about the journey to liberation, available at Amazon.com, and Amazon CA, UK, FR and DE.