Do you sometimes find doubt difficult to overcome?
Quite frequently in the coaching I do, the question of doubt arises. Doubt in ourselves, doubt in our work, relationships and spiritual path. Doubt in the benevolent redeeming hand of the universe. It seems that when we first realise the benevolent presence of a unifying energy, we believe, hope or expect "everything will turn out just fine, it'll all be as we want it to". And if it doesn't, when it doesn't turn out that way, all too frequently we're led back down the ladder of doubt to the lower rung we began from. So what's happening here? How do we break the cycle? The answer is 'flying on the wings of vulnerability'...
Staring wide eyed into the jaws of fear
In my life, I've constantly challenged doubt and disbelief. It's been a life's study of mine. It seems that doubt, disbelief and fear are what truly limit us. And so there's been a constant exploration of it. Whilst doing martial arts for example, I'd always pick the biggest most advanced, most aggressive sparring partner. Not because I wasn't afraid - exactly because I WAS afraid. I just realised early in life that the only fear to really fear is fear itself. It is only fear that constrains and limits us. Fear of not being good enough, fear of not having the right solution, the right outcome. So if I was afraid, instead of turning away, I'd look it in the eyes and go right into the heart of it.
And even though I overcame many fears in this way, I still hadn't overcome ALL fear. It's the same with doubt. Even though I knew intrinsically in my heart that a benevolent presence was always there loving us unconditionally and leading us to ever greater freedom and expansion, I still wasn't trusting ALL THE TIME. It seemed as if doubt and belief were a double sided coin, sometimes landing in my favour, sometimes not.
Expectation: the killer of all true experience
It wasn't until I realised the importance of vulnerability that I truly began to trust at the deepest level, when doubt finally dissolved and the penny fully dropped. Just as with many awakening people, as we touch the beauty and infinite benevolence of Unity Consciousness, we just know that mountains can be moved to unveil truth. Nothing is too great or too small that can't be solved by tuning into this almighty power - it's an intrinsic knowing at the core of our being. So why then does it not always work out? What is the importance of vulnerability?
In a word, the key issue, the key problem is "expectation". Expectation is the killer of all true experience. When we feel the infinite flow of benevolent presence, there often comes with it a neediness or desire to shape it in some way. And when we find we can't shape it, our steadily growing bubble of belief suddenly bursts wide open again. If you're anything like me, the bubble will keep building and bursting until a realisation has dawned...
- "True empowerment is not about intentionally manifesting confidence and building supreme belief that things will go our way. In fact it's the very opposite. It's the absolute acceptance of NOT KNOWING how things will work out which finally unlocks the door of doubt and disbelief."
It's in the NOT knowing where freedom lies
You're truly Walking the Path when you don't know what's coming next. When you don't know how you're going to perform. When you don't know if you'll find the right words. When you don't know if that pay-cheque will come or if there'll be dinner on the table tonight. The truth is, we simply don't know, we can't know, because we don't have control. Sometimes we may think we do, but at the highest level, we created the conditions of not knowing for how can we learn to trust if the outcome is always guaranteed?
I remember back to when I started leading spiritual seminars. I'd traveled a good deal in life and I'd done many presentations before in former jobs and careers. The difference this time was in coming from the heart. It means I don't have anything to 'sell', there's no hidden agenda and so I don't prepare for what I'm going to say. Well strictly, I have some ideas of topics to cover, but I don't know what or how I'm going to say it until I say it.
Here's an especially memorable experience of that:
- "I was sitting in front of the audience in Glastonbury Town Hall waiting for the intro film to finish. I was watching for the first words to drop into mind, a place to begin, a thread to pick up. Usually they came but this time nothing - nothing at all. As the credits to the film rolled, still nothing. As the silence and expectation of the audience grew louder in my awareness still nothing. As I stood up, still nothing. All the while I was watching my inner feelings, any arising tightness. Time ground to a halt. Suddenly, flashing before my eyes were all those times before where I'd been nervous, where I'd wanted to say something, to get a message across. Where I'd needed to defend something or to sell something. Where I'd wanted people to believe something positive about me, to like me, to accept me, to appreciate me and my point of view.
The penny dropped. I realised how I'd previously constrained myself by all of those things. How I'd limited myself. How I'd judged myself. How I'd measured myself by something so small. What was wrong with how I was being? Even if nothing came? Even if I stood there in silence? Even if the only thing that came from my mouth was the inaudible squeak of a mouse?
Time seemed to stretch right into eternity. Without need of outcome at all, fear disappeared, doubt disappeared, disbelief disappeared. I was infinitely vulnerable. As I opened my mouth to speak, I was stepping off the cliff edge into the abyss and I didn't know what, if anything would come next. But it simply didn't matter. All I knew was that whatever did come, was perfectly okay. In front of all those people, at the risk of making an utter fool of myself, I realised I'd rather express absolute authenticity - whatever it was."
The truth will set you free
And do you know what? The truth will always set you fee. Absolute faith and trust? I don't care who you are, there is no such thing. What there is instead, is absolute vulnerability and awesome acceptance of that. When you can be absolutely vulnerable to life so you have not a clue what happens next, when you step off that cliff edge with absolute acceptance of the outcome, whatever it is, that's when you truly learn how to fly. It's not about knowing what's about to happen. It's not about always having the answer or always getting it right. It's having the courage just to be who you are at whatever apparent personal cost.
And here's the beauty of it, you don't have to be an accomplished person, a confident person, an empowered person, an obviously talented person. All you have to be is you, walking boldly into the jaws of life all the while allowing your truth to flow outwards from within, allowing your authentic expression to be good enough whatever that may be.
- "Come to the edge" he said,
"We can't, we are afraid" they said,
"Come to the edge"
"We can't, we will fall"
"Come to the edge"
and they came
and he pushed them
and they flew.
Indeed, the only way to truly fly in life, is to unfold our wings of absolute vulnerability.