The Antidote to Doubt
For Your Reflection:
1. Begin to use mindfulness to detect how pervasive doubt is in your life. Notice how often you doubt yourself, others, institutions, or even life itself. Note the suffering in all this doubt.
2. Without judging, start to observe people you know who are afflicted with doubt. What do you notice about how it affects their lives? Do they freeze up when making decisions? Do they constantly second guess themselves? Do you find yourself being impatient with them?
3. For a few weeks, experiment with cultivating “don’t know mind.” This requires noticing when you have a fixed view about something in your life and then releasing that view. Consciously say to yourself, “It is impossible for me to know all the implications for good or bad of any particular thing. I just don’t know.” This does not mean that you give up having preferences; you just give up being attached to them.
4. Choose one area of your life in which doubt comes up a lot and make it an object of your mindfulness. Cultivate compassion and loving-kindness for that part of you that falls into doubt. What would you be feeling if you weren’t feeling doubt in this moment?
5. One effective way to work with doubt is what I call “and” practice. To do this practice, whenever doubt arises first feel the doubt in your body, become mindful of how it’s manifesting in your mind, and then say to yourself, “I feel doubt strongly, and I am going ahead.”