…what I notice as I observe the ensuing inner battle between love and fear is this: the deepening experience of lightness and joy always seems to be closely followed by equally powerful feelings of badness, self-justification, exhaustion and finally, collapse. Whatever project, idea, or dream I am in the process of creating, at this point, always falls flat. It seems whenever I am on track, before too long I am knocked right off. Not necessarily by anyone else but by something within. As I lay silent and still on the sofa for twelve hours straight, I didn’t try to change anything. I just watched in what form the ‘darkness’ emerged. The answer was Doubt.
As I acknowledged just how crippling self-doubt can be, it also became apparent that the burden of proof lies within the doubter. If someone else doubts us, it is none of our business. Their need for proof is their problem. If we doubt ourselves, however, responsibility is ours. My own personal doubts in that moment were whether I was qualified enough, deluding myself, making a fool of myself, getting it wrong and generally messing up. A fear of humiliation. A fear so disabling it habitually has me huffing What’s the point! as I throw in the towel on yet another dream. In the face of such self-doubt the challenge is to foster a sense of self-worth. Since doubt arises out of confusion and fear what is needed is clarity and love. Gentle, self-awareness.
We think we know ourselves but most often we don’t. We only tend to see what is clearly visible - those parts of ourselves that we are comfortable projecting out to the world. The parts that make us feel more acceptable in the presence of others. Strong? Helpful? Intelligent? Caring? It is far more difficult, however, to be conscious of the aspects of ourselves that we have hidden from view. Our shadow. The disowned parts of ourselves that by definition we are too ashamed to own. Anger? Jealousy? Vulnerability? Tears? Selfishness? What comprises our shadow is different for each and every one of us. As we grew up some of us may have been supported in our vulnerability; some of us told to toughen up! Some of us may have been encouraged to express our anger; some of us repeatedly silenced.
Self-awareness, then, allows us to make visible, that which is invisible. To shine a light on our habits, patterns and learned ways of negotiating this world. To ask whether they are truly serving us or simply limiting us in life. Giving us the choice to employ those beliefs that promote our growth, and the opportunity to drop those that no longer support us on our path. When in doubt as to which decision to make notice which feels expansive and which more contractive. As I let myself be guided by the more spacious, relaxed and joyful option I the notice the answer to the question What’s the point! is revealed.
The point is Love.
And so, when it comes to the increasingly powerful experiences I seem to be having - I've decided - no more resistance to The Path. Just a gentle curiosity as I wander towards the light within.
Trained in a depth, buddhist-based psychotherapy, using everyday outer world experiences to develop inner wisdom, one day at a time.