What If…and If I had…exploring doubt

“Doubt is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills” – Buddha

All our lives we have lived with this one annoying assumption and curiosity of ‘What If’. Whenever you are faced with a situation that you are doing for the first time, even though you assume you are confident, it arises in your head, for example, what if whatever you are doing doesn’t go to plan, or what if whatever you do fails. You are constantly in worry about how confident you are, even before you have acted, you question your self. The mind always doubts whether your efforts will succeed or not and looks at ways around it and seek easier solutions. Man is afraid of failing, they can’t stand failure so the doubting mind is always present. Suggesting and giving ways round the task at hand. Sometimes, you don’t even know what you are doing, you just let fear of failure and urgency take the lead for completion of the task. Have you noticed that you can’t go into the unknown without thinking so many times about the hypothetical scenarios you create in your mind of “what if’s”? The mind constantly reads into the future, that has not occurred yet. Of course, you learn from other peoples mistake but until you don’t experience it yourself how can you say what is right and what is wrong. Life is all about learning of course and you can learn from anyone. Unless you have developed a superiority complex, then you’re just ignorant, to what really is and over time you become stubborn with your beliefs.

Whenever you act have you noticed how cowardly you really are, when it’s something new, until you don’t practice a scenario in your head the belief of failure remains consciously or unconsciously, making you think more and hesitant to act.  The mind thinks negatively at the start of every new process until you settle in, or even after practice it a few times, the excuses of procrastination and delaying the action/task are always there unless your action is heartfelt. Most of the time what really limits you in acting is peoples voices in your head and what you have been bought up to believe about the ways of the world and about yourself. Whenever you act have you noticed how many people you think about before taking a step. Whether it’s a good step or a bad step your thought of others always pops up. Even though you are taking a step for yourself, you are still bothered about what others will think if you take that step. So by and by you become more cautious with whatever actions you take. You take steps more according to your mind than your heart, you probably don’t even know what your heart feels like because you are so mind orientated, calculating the future all the time even though it doesn’t go the way you perceive it to go.

The consequence of taking steps with prejudgement means less satisfaction of the accomplishment at the end. This is because the mind is constantly in doubt of your competency, capability and on the other hand constantly giving self-reassurance at the same time. The mind works both ways, it is positive and negative, duality is always there. Whilst doing an act for the first time, or as a repeated pattern, it will always go in two directions depending on the situation at hand. Even if you think you are good at something the mind will still doubt it. This is because everytime you act there is no certainty of whether you will be able to achieve, accomplish or complete what you have set yourself.  No certainty equals questions constantly raised about being competent, confident and whether you will need more support with the task at hand. As you have thought into your actions throughout the time it took to complete, you will feel a big relief that “thank god it’s over” your happiness will be momentary, but that’s one less headache for you until the cycle repeats again of doubt and the hypothetical scenarios of “what if”.

However, once that is over another cycle will start, depending on whether you have completed your task or action and the situation at hand. This is the cycle of regret It can be the littlest of regrets, such as “If I had done this it would have been better”, “If I had listened or asked someone it would have been better” or the typical one blaming others for your own actions eg “I shouldn’t have listened to him/her and done it my own way, I would have done better”. This cycle continues until you make the same mistake again and then similar scenarios occur and reoccur. This is when the doubting mind becomes past orientated and develops more limitations to the self to act on something new, generally keeping the negative memory of their past mistakes than the positive ones, making the cycle go on and on. In such situations, the mind becomes more calculating and further develops the person to be more insecure about the way they act and question how they should act all the time. To doubt is not a bad thing, but to doubt everything you do is where the disease starts.

Even after you learn from your mistakes, your doubting mind will still be present in the next task you wish to accomplish. Doubt never leaves you, duality will always be there until you transcend it. Firstly be aware that all hypothetical scenarios that you hold on to are not real, and they only are present because of fear, of your insecurities of who you are as a person, stability etc. So all hypothetical scenarios should be dismissed from the start, learn to accept that the future is unknown. Secondly, the past is dead..let me repeat again, THE PAST IS DEAD. Doubt remains because you always want to do better than what you have done in the past. So you constantly think into how you can do it better rather than actually doing it, you spend more time thinking about how you can do it according to your strengths and weaknesses, which you also question all the time to. The voice in your head further influences you to think about what others may think if you act in such a way, so your action never comes from your heart. So whenever you act do you actually do it with a mind that is free of doubt or with a doubting mind that sees the past and future that influences your every move?

So stop thinking about your What If’s in every action you take and stop looking back. Enjoy each moment and practice seeing it as new, try to see the day and the situation with freshness and aliveness, don’t make it a repetition of your past actions and your experiences. Don’t make life boring with repeated patterns, see the patterns of your mind and transcend it. Check out my previous blogs, to learn how to be aware of these patterns.

“Don’t waste life in doubt and fears” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thank You for Reading,

If you have any questions email me at wisdombeyondmind@gmail.com



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