4-18-21 Spirituality – Doubting or Questioning

Spirituality – Doubting or Questioning 

Doubt: Indecision, confusion, fear. 
Question: Inquiry, investigation, curiosity, growth, learning. 

We may doubt something, but if we dismiss it because it does not fit our current, comfortable knowledge base, we can’t grow or learn. We can, however, question something we are unsure of. To Question is essential. To explore, to have first-hand knowledge, to experience for ourselves is necessary in order to fully believe in something.  

A mind that says, “This is not part of my mental framework, therefore I don’t believe it,” is a closed mind, and taking such an attitude is a great disadvantage for any who aspire to follow a spiritual path. To assume that everything that fits our preconceived notions is right and anything that doesn’t is automatically wrong is a distorted view that prevents learning.

“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance — that principle is contempt prior to investigation.” — Herbert Spencer

If other people with deeper experiences and vaster minds say they have experienced something, then we should at least be able to say, “Perhaps it might be so.” We should not take our limited minds as all-knowing entities. They are not. Our thinking and decision-making in our addictions provide ample proof of that. 

In my addiction, I doubted my basic goodness. I doubted others, Spirit, love, possibility, and meaning. The way my mind has changed over the course of my recovery is a great example of the mind’s capacity for transformation and growth. I have become steadily more open and accepting of thoughts and ideas that I dismissed, or might have frightened or angered me then.

And that’s the good news: Our minds do become both more open and vast as we progress. We do begin to see things more clearly, and as a result they slowly begin to fit into place. However, we need to be patient. I’m sure we all know certain books of wisdom that we’ve read and reread over the years, and each time it seems like we are reading them for the first time. This is because as our minds open up, we discover deeper and deeper layers of meaning we couldn’t see the time before. It’s like that with a true spiritual path. It has layer upon layer of meaning, and we can only understand those concepts that are accessible to our present level of mind. It is the work of a lifetime. Our questioning will spur us on and keep us growing and intellectually alert.

Within the realm of spirituality we need to question, not just blindly accept a doctrine. We need to work with what we feel is true and a good path for us. Unlike data, spirituality is something we can’t KNOW in a cognitive, informational sense. We can’t categorize, quantify and label spirituality. Spirituality is something we study, work with and grow with, even though we may not understand what is occurring. “Not knowing” is a good thing in spirituality. Ask yourself: Does it get results? Does it feel right? Is it wholesome and does it foster kindness? Those are questions we can ask about our spiritual life, and answer. How it is occurring is beyond any simple answer; we simply see results.

We can’t define and enumerate our spiritual growth; it is more experiential and deeper than words or descriptions. By questioning, by remaining curious, we can begin seeing and feeling the meaning behind and beyond any words. That meaning will guide us to a place that is beyond where we are…where we begin to connect with the spiritual energies in all of life.

It’s at this point where we see ways we can help others, ways we can bring kindness and caring, without needing to prove anything…all of which was completely foreign to us before.

We need to develop confidence in our innate qualities and believe that these can be brought to fruition. We all have an amazing spirit within us, and all the qualities necessary for our spiritual path. The most insidious doubts are those about oneself, especially when they promote a lack of confidence in one’s ability or worthiness. A spiritual practice can appear too difficult, or one can’t imagine having the inner capacity required. When we begin to have a glimmer that a fuller, more content life is available, we must then work with the means of stepping into it. It is not easy to become more spiritual in nature when we have spent so much time and energy denying it and promoting selfishness and a sense of unworthiness or superiority.

“One of the ego’s favorite paths of resistance is to fill you with doubt.” Ram Dass

Spirituality is difficult at first. When we meditate, if we are all relaxed and enjoying it all the time, we may not really be meditating…probably we’re just daydreaming, too loose. Or we may be forcing ourselves to sit there till the gong is Finally rung. A bit too tight. In meditation, prayer and introspection, we are honestly looking at ourselves, how our mind works and how to better connect with a higher power. And when, (not if), we begin to see where we are coming up short, it takes effort and trust to begin engaging in new behaviors, and to dismiss the old comfortable but harmful habits. 

Diligence creates opportunities for strengthening practice: for developing mindfulness, concentration, understanding, and non-clinging.
We need the dedication to begin slowly. Imagine the goal is to do 100 pushups. We start where we are, doing 5 or 10 and adding a few more each time. If we diligently pursue our goal, we will build strength and stamina and eventually we will reach it. The same is true in a spiritual practice. Begin and continue and the results will occur. If we allow doubt to keep us from starting practicing, or if doubt causes us to revert to old unhealthy practices, we will stay at the starting gate. 

Though we may not live a holy life, we live in a world alive with holy moments. We need only take the time to bring these moments into the light. Kent Nerburn – Small Graces

How do you fill your bucket? One drop at a time
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step
The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for
May you be well. May you be happy. May you find peace.
Heart Of Recovery web site  — fcheartofrecovery.com