Jump to content

Doubt?


Guest billmc
 Share

Recommended Posts

Guest billmc

How do you (or don’t you) deal with doubt in your everyday life?

 

Religion can often portray doubt as the opposite of faith, as something to be avoided or expunged. On the other hand, doesn’t doubt sometimes act as a catalyst for growth, as an open door into further knowledge, insight, or experience?

 

Is your journey plagued with doubts? Or are doubts something that you only rarely have? Or do you live in such a way that doubts seldom, if ever, come along? How do you balance doubt with trust? Are they in opposition? What role does doubt play in your journey?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Those are really great questions, and I'm looking forward to reading about how others have dealt with doubt.

 

I went through a painful period of doubt about 2 years ago. A friend recommended the book “When the Well runs Dry” by Thomas H Green. It isn't exactly progressive, but it helped. However, what helped the most was having someone I trusted with whom I could share my doubts. My friend did not dismiss them because he didn't share them, nor judge me, he just listened and offered support when I needed it and advice when I asked for it. Mostly, we just shared. The most important part for me was staying close to someone who loved me and was gentle and caring in his support.

 

Doubt can be exceedingly painful and disturbing. I believe you are absolutely right, though, because I when look back on that time I see it as a period of tremendous growth.

 

Now, when doubt creeps in, I remind myself that its probably growing pains and call my friend. For the times when those pesky niggling doubts surface, I return to my favorite book “Praying A New Story” by Michael Morwood and my faith journal.

 

BTW, I highly recommend “Praying A New Story”. There are beautiful progressive prayers & reflections. (I also highly recommend keeping a faith journal.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't really consider myself knowing a lot to bother having doubts about much. The less you know, the less doubts about it you can have. It seems to me that most all that i view just seems to me to be so.

 

It seems to me that doubts follow them that think they know moreso than those who don't. You can quote me on that! :lol:

 

Joseph

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't really consider myself knowing a lot to bother having doubts about much. The less you know, the less doubts about it you can have. It seems to me that most all that i view just seems to me to be so.

 

It seems to me that doubts follow them that think they know moreso than those who don't. You can quote me on that! :lol:

 

Joseph

 

 

You totally made my day!!! :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I prefer "wrestling". For example:The historicity of Jesus. If the 13.7 billion years of evolution is scaled to one year Jesus lived for a 10th of second 4.6 seconds ago. Evidence for modern humans goes back 8 minutes. A 10th of second in 8 minutes! Seems to leave room for a lot of other prophets. We are always in need of prophets to show a better way, to lift our eyes to new beauty and to move our heart in wider circles. When I wrestle I look for information, understanding, and language to tell a knew story.

 

For me the problem is the gap between knowing it is only a story and living into the reality of the story.

 

Dutch

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How do you (or don’t you) deal with doubt in your everyday life?

 

Thank you for the koan. I look at doubt as an agent of evolution. Doubt tells me it is a time to change, move on, intensify, or contemplate if I am on the right path? It is self-evident; one doesn't have to be told. It is the Divinity within telling us something. When we eat a good meal we are satisfied, in the same way, we are satisfied with the spiritual path that we have chosen without a doubt. The spiritual pleasure experienced is much more satisfying than the worldly pleasures of the senses so one loses interest in the cruder pleasures like gambling, intoxication and illicit sex. The bliss or spiritual happiness one experiences makes one forget about those lower pleasures. We can't understand spiritual pleasure intellectually because others can't accurately describe something that is beyond the mind so we have to experience this higher pleasure by ourselves and that is how we know we are on the right path. If someone is describing a piece of cake to you that doesn't mean you are eating the cake, eating the cake is much better. Everyone would rather delight in the taste rather than the description of spiritual bliss. Doubt is a sign that I have ventured away from the spiritual pleasure that helps me sacrifice, serve and help others with a smile.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I certainly agree that doubt is a precurser to growth. I have come to think of doubt as what is termed "cognitive dissonance", a state of cognitive disharmomy when our mind has detected ( most often first at an unconscious level) some inconsistency, incongruency, within our beleifs system structure. "Something" doesn't "fit" as it should. "Something" is out of order. Our reasons, basis,for something we believe, think we know, is being threatened.

 

This often begins when new information has been assimilated, and presents challenge or conflict with present beliefs about ourselves and reality. The resultant growth comes of relieving the strain caused by the incongruence, inconsistency, that had become evident between elements within our personal beliefs system.

 

Jenell

Link to comment
Share on other sites

“Thou doubtest because thou lovest the truth. Some would willingly believe life but a phantasm, if only it might for ever afford them a world of pleasant dreams: thou art not of such! Be content for a while not to know surely. The hour will come, and that ere long, when, being true, thou shalt behold the very truth, and doubt will be forever dead. Scarce, then, wilt thou be able to recall the features of the phantom. Thou wilt then know that which thou canst not now dream. Thou hast not yet looked the Truth in the face, hast as yet at best but seen him through a cloud. That which thou seest not, and never didst see save in a glass darkly – that which, indeed, never can be known save by its innate splendour shining straight into pure eyes – that thou canst not but doubt, and art blameless in doubting until thou seest it face to face, when thou wilt no longer be able to doubt it. But to him who has once seen even a shadow only of the truth, and, even but hoping he has seen it when it is present no longer, tries to obey it – to him the real vision, the Truth himself, will come, and depart no more, but abide with him for ever.”

 

-George MacDonald from his novel, Lilith.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Richard Feynman a nobel prize winning physicist commenting on understanding the meaning of "the whole world" says

To decide upon an answer is not scientific. In order to make progress, one must leave the door ajar to the unknown -ajar only. We are at the beginning of the human race: of the development of the human mind, of intelligent life- we have years and years of the future. It is our responsibility not to give the answer today as to what it is all about, to drive everybody down in that direction and to say:" this is the solution to it all" Because we will be chained then to the limits of our present imagination.

 

While he is talking to scientists primarily I think the lesson is even more appropriate for those of faith. All people of progress doubt.

 

steve

  • Upvote 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

I've been meaning to get to this thread, but time has been slipping by.

 

I agree with what I perceive to be the consensus here, that doubt can be a vehicle for growth.

 

We can realize that ultimately we are the question that we ask, that doubt can be entered into fully, permeating every aspect of one's being. This is my understanding of what has been called "The Great Doubt", and is considered a necessary precursor to insight. Doubt becomes existential and somatic, and not just a problem of the intellect. It is how we feel, or how we are comported to, reality. There are many layers to our doubt, to our lack of trust in reality. When I find I am in doubt, my body tenses up, it is physiological as well as intellectual. I've often found that when my body reaches equanimity, the intellect too reaches some clarity. Sometimes I'm not sure which was the cause of which. But what it does suggest is that doubts must be felt through with the entire mind and body. Both doubt and insight involve embodied movement. The intellect plays an immensely important role in clearing up one's assumptions, untangling conflicting beliefs, etc. But there's more to our being than rationality, and this this 'more' does have an influence.

 

Naturally, there are, then, different types of doubt. Some doubts, to my mind, can be misguided, like doubting the ultimate nature of existence and trying to find ultimate objective answers to existence. This is a misplaced expectation on the role of discursive thought, it presumes that noumenal reality (reality-in-itself) can be objectified and abstracted.

 

I think in the modern West we have tended to become rather tangled in what I see as rather artificially created philosophical doubts that really need not be there, and this is due to our intellectual heritage in terms of Descartes and Kant. For instance, the conflict in our categories of thought, between mind and matter/body, or between the phenomenal and the noumenal. We tend to think of the mind as mirroring an external objective reality to which it has no true access. We think of mind as opposed to the supposedly objective world of matter. This naturally causes nothing but skepticism in the flavor of Hume, but for the life of me I have not been able to find much coherence in these metaphysical stipulations, much less why we should be compelled to believe in them.

 

We might then simply embrace the intimacy of our own being -- rather than as just a "representation" of an objective world. Deep down we are already connected to -- we already are -- the reality we seek. There is no answer to the question of reality outside of the mind which asks it. Note that this doesn't mean there is no reality beyond myself. This isn't anti-realism. This is simply realism about subjectivity.

 

That's my perspective, anyway.

 

Peace,

Mike

Edited by Mike
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We tend to think and talk about doubt as it might pertain to the 'big things', philosophical, theological, religious, all those big abstract concepts that we humans seem driven to bring out of the abstract and into concrete forms we can grasp, hold onto.

 

We might say this is doubt "about other things"...

 

But I think the pervasive sense of of doubt we are likely to experience on a deep and personal level is doubt about ourself. All kinds of experiences real and imagined plague us with doubts about, am I really who/what I think I am? Are my senses, intellect,and emotions really trustworthy in anything I think I know? Am I really maturing, or just getting set in my ways? Am I really growing, or going senile and eccentric? In other words, doubts that assail our senses of self-confidence, security, competency, in ourown ability to discern, to know, to comprehend.

 

Over the past 72 hours, some developments in my life and those of some others around me, and coincidentally, two others who are not a part of any of those situations, but are in crisis' of their own, are shaking some of my, and other people's, assumptions about what we beleived as "reality" in our little worlds, to the core....indeed, things are not always as they seem, even with people and situations you thought you knew well.

 

Such events not only shake your confidence and trust in others, and even in your world as a safe place, but in yourself. People emotionally and psychologically writhing in the agony of feelings of betrayal of trust by someone else must deal at the same time with the a sense of betrayal of one's own trust in one's self, for having been caught up in what has turned out to be a delusion.

 

I think this same grievous pain of a sense of betrayed trust, not only by others, but our own very mind and heart, is very much at the core of the pain, often manifested as anger, even rage, at discovering that the religious and other teachings, people, and institutions we trusted and accepted, have been false, deceptions, lies. It is easy for that to be projected even upon God. And if there truly is a God, I don't think we offend Him in that...I think He understands and grieves right along with us.

 

While religious related betrayals are not involved in all of these crisis in lives around me, there is a thread of it running through several of them. And while other forms of betrayal in these situations aren't much relative to PC topics here, this one is.

 

Some have shared here in other posts that agony of betrayal by religion and religious communties and religious values of family and loved ones connected to the emergence of awareness of their sexual orientation, young people falling into 'violations' of sets of community social standards for right and moral behavior, and the sometimes devastating effects of harsh, unfair judgementalism, prejudice, gossip, and general mean-spiritedness.

 

When these betrayals of trust hit us, we feel betrayed also by our own selves. We experience humiliation, shame, at "not having seen it coming." At not having seen truth, actual reality, as it really was and is. This very visceral level self-doubt gives rise to and feeds doubts about everything we think we know, believe about reality. And God. And our own existence. And purpose and meaning in life. Endlessly.

 

And where ever our Humpty Dumpty of faith and trust, in others, in reality, in those that we trusted to teach us about life and the world and God, but most of all in ourselves, has fallen off the wall and been broken, it can never be the same again.

 

Doubt is perhaps something like walking a tighrope, trying to stay balanced, fall to neither direction.....to let doubt be the nudge toward dispelling ignorance or error toward seeking truth, yet not become a force that sends us tumbling, painfully, into despair.

 

Jenell

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

terms of service