I noticed a pattern while witnessing the incidents of my life regarding doubt and faith. This helped in transcending doubts and belief at the same time and now there’s a state of knowing, which is beyond both doubt and belief, regarding divine presence. Dividing it into some stages (just a raw idea) :
- 1st stage – Divine is far off concept. He/she is someone sitting far away.
- 2nd stage – Some experiences or instances of divine grace create faith in the divine and we feel close. Now, it’s not too far.
- 3rd stage – After some time, the person is tempted to think whether the divine really exists or it’s just a daydream which starts creating doubts and distances. There is a tendency to doubt.
- 4th stage – Doubts have now been resolved. This doesn’t mean that there is no struggle, it just means that there is now a graceful acceptance of what comes along. There is a deep trust and harmony with nature.
Doubt v/s Faith
Doubt and faith, are two sides of the same coin. Faith is a type of belief system, right? But isn’t doubt also a belief system? The one who has faith in the divine believes that someone does exist, that there are other aspects of existence. But what’s doubt? It’s just an opposite belief system where you say you don’t believe. It is a belief system of “not-believing” and “denying”. Both are to be transcended. How? By experiential knowledge, otherwise, the little-little traces of doubt act like holes in a bucket.
My Experience of rising above it
In February 2022, two times my bike ran out of petrol in front of the petrol pump. It was sheer grace. Around that time I noticed that even after having all sorts of such frequent miraculous experiences, I would doubt divine presence. Sometimes, it would feel close and sometimes as if no one is there. Sometimes I would feel extremely frustrated and would feel like shouting in the sky. I would sometimes break down. Doubts even after experiences are a form of ignorance. Ignorance doesn’t mean a lack of knowledge, it’s the inability to see the big picture. It is just a narrow and clouded perception of reality.
Suppose we are surrounded by thick fog then even if someone is nearby, he won’t be visible. Similarly, the thick fog of everyday experiences, desires, past karmas, etc, cloud the perception of a person on a spiritual path which leads to unnecessary doubts. When dark clouds cover the sun, only a child will be tempted to think it is night.
A grown-up knows that the sun is there, it’s still day, and the presence of clouds can’t change this fact. We don’t have control over clouds, but they have to pass because change is the only constant. There’s literally a layer of darkness which has to be transcended by one-pointed concentration and unshakable faith. In the state of intense concentration, when your awareness is subtle, you begin to feel those clouds.
When dream and reality start becoming one then faith in your dream turns it into reality otherwise there is a block of never-ending doubt. When concentration becomes intense, light is seen at the brow centre, it burns the doubts in a flash. One of the reasons concentrative meditation and visualization are of utmost importance.
This understanding helped me in rising above doubt as well as faith. There is neither faith nor doubt. Can you say, “I believe or doubt that I am alive?” No. You don’t believe, you don’t doubt, rather you just know that you are.