Location: Gadag, India
Dear Francis, I know this question follows very closely to my last. I must preface it briefly. It is about doubt, specifically doubt after the Truth has been seen in full clarity. After many smaller experiences, Truth revealed itself as my true identity beyond all doubts and remained there, effortlessly close and real. This unshakeable state persisted for six days, until I became very ill physically. It then waivered and left. I have recovered entirely, but the solidity I thought was final left. The sense of finality and sureness left. Doubts have returned about my role as a doer and a decider. I think of Jesus's doubts later in the Gospels regarding his sense that he had to die as the will of the Self, the Father. After prayer, as the narration goes, he seems to come to terms with his fate. What touches me is that Jesus seems very human with doubts, though clearly not unable to resolve them. I also read many Zen teachers who say that the true difficulty comes in maintaining one's practice enduringly, both pre and post-enlightenment. That there exists a final, lasting state of self-realization free from doubt seems entirely beside the point. I know that you teach enlightenment as leading to eventual establishment in self-realization, which I assume is unshakeable. My question is, does this state entail any practices to maintenance it or to return to it if it is seemingly lost, and is such practice how sages remain doubt free? (I know that it can never be truly lost, for it is the truth of what we are.) I sense that so long as a human body exists, certain samskaras will surface irrevocably, perhaps most commonly doubt. Indeed, I find that I still have a few recurring mental habits that come from ignorance, even though I have seen that they are ultimately false. These habits involve doubt surrounding my true identity. Sometimes, of course, they seem more convincing than at other times. Is the final state an ongoing journey, or a perfectly solid sense of Truth, or both simultaneously? And is it free from doubt? Thank you for your words of wisdom and Truth. Blessings, Jay
A doubt exists only in reference to a belief, doubt and belief are like the two sides of a same coin. What is the use of a belief? Can we live without beliefs? If we live our life from the belief that we are a separate, limited consciousness, we experience misery. If we live from the belief that we are universal consciousness, we still experience doubt, which is also a form of misery, for the possibility of being separate has not been eliminated.
We have to see clearly that the mind by itself has no access to Truth, and, for that reason, cannot reach certainty. Certainty cannot exist as a concept, only as an experience of Truth, which resides beyond the mind. We think: “If only I could be certain, then it would be the end of my suffering”, seek Truth in the realm of concepts, and end up attached to a belief that doesn’t deliver the happiness we seek. A happy mind is not a mind with doubts and beliefs, but a mind which is silent and free.
Let’s go back to the question I asked earlier on: can we live without beliefs?
To live without beliefs doesn’t mean to live without thoughts and concepts. It simply means not to be attached to them. More specifically, regarding the main philosophical doubt you alluded to in your question, can we live without plastering a ready-made “yes” or “no” answer to the question “Is our consciousness, that which is perceiving these words right now, limited, conditioned, separate?” Can we live without knowing?
The revelation of truth requires the humility of not knowing. This is true in Science, and also in Wisdom, which is the science of happiness. When we truly don’t know the answer, we are open to all possibilities, and, in this humility and honesty, the truth of the moment, which is all the limited human mind needs to and can receive, will offer itself to us, as an intuition in the mind, or as a serendipitous event in the world. Understanding will fill the mind with clarity and silence, and the heart with joy and peace.
In the unknowing of things is the knowing of God.