By Sri Sri Shuddhaanandaa Brahmachari
Doubt comes easily. Making it go away is not so easy. Once doubt comes in and finds its space, it grows strong, tenacious roots in your mind. Firmly established, it spreads. Repetitive doubts about many different aspects of your life take hold. With the wildness of a weed, doubt grows in the un-mindful bed of your mind. It leads you into suspicion and dis-ease, creating a toxic atmosphere in the mind. It keeps expanding, extending its reach, as long as you remain unaware and unconscious of your behavioral patterns. Before you know it,
The real truth, though, is that doubt never existed at all. It is a self-created phantom of the mind. You gave the phantom a name, “doubt.” You gave it a form and an identity. You gave it time, space, attention and energy, all of which allowed it to grow in your unconscious mind. Now that you are miserably uncomfortable, you realize this is an unwanted, unhealthy guest in your mind. You want all doubt to leave.
Of all the obstacles to your being peaceful and to your advancement along the path toward enlightenment, doubt is among the most difficult. Its negative, constrictive energy hinders growth and expansion which is the essence of the life of the soul. Spiritual flowering can only happen when doubt is transformed into freedom, confidence and trust that arises from doubtlessness.
Doubt is a dark force inside of you which needs your participation to survive. It is a kind of disease of the mind, a mechanism of the ego that keeps you separate, in illusion, locked in the small “I” of the conditioned mind. A truly healthy mind is without doubt. A doubt-free mind dispels the darkness of fear and gives you the freedom to be who you truly are.
As the desiring mind courts friendship with the Divine, it often focuses on the fulfillment of its desires and dreams. Maturing and growing in consciousness, a time comes when you grow out of the need to ask God for much of anything.
As long as the purpose of your relationship with God is to fix your problems and satisfy your desires, you will occasionally fall into the pit. Doubt can take over. Does God exist? If yes, why are my earnest prayers not being answered? Why can’t God fulfill my cherished dreams?
Relating to God without a speck of doubt ultimately occurs through the annihilation of the ego. It is the culmination of persistent surrender and devotion. That is not an easy task. It is not a minor evolution.
The purpose of spirituality is to gradually allow you to work in the field of your mind with patience and trust. In India we call trust shraddha and patience saburi. It may take a long, long time, but these two qualities are essential to moving beyond all your doubts.
When doubt comes, simply watch it as a fleeting thought. Center yourself in the light of your Spirit, in life and the life process. Let faith grow confidence in you until it is strong enough to melt away all doubt. Fill yourself with devotion and love. That will take care of all you need in life. Affirm with conviction, “I am ever safe in the Divine. With every breath of my life, I am one with the all. I trust in unconditional love. All fear and doubt evaporate in the enlightened shrine of my heart.” Repeat this practice time and again, until those doubts which bring you so much restlessness, the ones that destroy your inner peace and harmony, have gone away in silence.
Another way to win over doubt is to practice gratitude and service to others. Express your gratitude for all that God has already given you rather than focusing on your wants. You have been given infinite gifts. Take stock of them and be happy in the abundance of love and support, guidance and Grace that you have already been given.
Find a new way to contribute to another human being each day, to practice generosity of mind and heart. Notice how that expands your experience of the goodness and beauty of life, how that carries the feeling and spirit of your day forward. Extend the practice of compassion in your spiritual life beyond your immediate circle of self, friends and family.
Find new venues of compassion through which to express your love for God by serving the living God in those who suffer. As you fill your mind with compassion for others who are suffering, as your heart swells in gratitude for the infinite blessings that God has bestowed upon you, you come closer to your Eternal Self.
Faith in your own self, faith in the power of the eternal goodness which is always available to you, faith in life and the life process, are the natural antidotes to the poison that doubt creates in your mind and body. As you trust in the infinite power of your inner being, infinite possibilities open to you and in you. In place of doubt and fear comes relaxation and letting go. That, in turn, invites the universal energy to work through you for the fulfillment of your deepest desire, to be enlightened and free.
Gradually, because you are not so concerned about those little doubts that come and go, a time will come when they disappear without you knowing it. Worship trust, worship faith, have patience, serve others, and doubt will have no space in your mind.
You will see that you don’t have to pray for the fulfillment of your desires, they will happen as fragrance happens to flowers. First love the Divine. Then all is yours, not in bits and pieces, but as a whole.