2 Mar 2011, 9:43am
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Doubt

Doubt

This is not an easy topic to explore. I’m not even sure I want to tackle it. But, it keeps coming across my radar, from within and without. So lets dive in.

Whoa, scary! I bet he has to deal with doubt every time he does that. Looks like he doesn’t let it stop him.

Doubt is not the same as caution. The metaphorical (or the actual) yellow light is a good thing to slow us down when we might otherwise mindlessly forge ahead. How do we distinguish between caution that protects us and doubt that cripples us? The easy answer is that caution is not distressing. It’s simply a signal, a signpost that something unexpected may be ahead.

Or that you may have gotten a little lost!

Doubt, on the other hand, is a state of mind that feels profoundly uncomfortable. Like most states of mind, it’s a good idea to try to get some distance from it by detaching. In other words, know that doubt is there but don’t let it hook you. “Oh, that’s doubt, again,” you say to yourself.

The opposite of doubt is not certainty. Aren’t you always a bit suspicious of certainty? I know I am. The opposite of doubt is belief, sometimes called faith. When it has a capital F, it’s the Faith associated with religious beliefs. But that’s only one brand of faith, and you get to choose your brand.

So if we need belief, or faith, to move past doubt how (or where) do we get it? Well, if you’re getting to know me by now, you can probably guess this has something to do with Nature. When I’m in that uncomfortable place of doubt, I like to sit with it, preferably outside, in a beautiful spot. Doubt is no match for Nature’s toolbox. The heaviness of doubt can begin to dissolve in the face of majesty.

All well and good. (I hear some of you saying.) I can gaze enraptured at the sunset when I’m on vacation but I’ve got to get things done. Now. And doubt is seriously getting in my way!

I’m going to suggest you look to Nature again. Do you need to assemble a team? Break the job down into manageable pieces? Delegate? Inspiration is everywhere.

Whether you’re writing a novel, creating a meal, or cleaning a closet, you can only do one thing at a time (one word, one ingredient, one item). So, when the time comes for doing, do what’s right in front of you to do. All you have to believe is that you can do that one thing. If you have to stop until you can do the next right thing, the world won’t forget to turn.

Doubt is not who you are. It’s a temporary state of mind that we all face from time to time. Like any state of mind, we can get lost in it. The way to avoid that is to STOP and OBSERVE. The most skillful actions come out of a state of quiet presence. You’ll know what to do, where to go. Trust yourself.