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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Doubt?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Doubt

Cynicism is Doubt Based on a Foregone Conclusion

Cynicism is beyond doubt. You might experience doubt or skepticism because you haven’t experienced something and so don’t know it, and this kind of doubt may be useful and healthy, motivating us to find out what is true about someone or something. Cynicism, on the other hand, is doubt that is based on a foregone conclusion. For example, you doubt another person from the pre-assumption that he lacks goodness and so will not come through for you. Cynicism comes in many degrees and levels. It might take the form of not believing that there is such a thing as Essence, or believing that if it does exist, it is not part of you. Or it might exist as part of you, but it is fickle and unreliable. However it appears, it makes you invalidate your own experience, even of Essence. “Was it really me? Did it really happen, or did I make it up? Was it my experience, or did someone make it seem that way? Was I hypnotized, or the victim of suggestion?” This is not an attitude of exploring one’s experience to find out what is true, but an expression of having already made up one’s mind about what one is going to find. It is not an open questioning that invites exploration to find out the truth for oneself, but an attitude of debunking, of questioning something to eliminate it, to cut it down and cut it away.

Facets of Unity, pg. 240

Doubt and Guidance

A subtler level of this issue is doubt about guidance. Let's say you are aware of the Guidance, but you doubt whether that's what it is. You doubt its reality, its truth, or its dependability. This doubt blocks the Diamond Guidance from continuing to operate. For example, if you have worked with the Black Essence, you know that its center is in the middle of the forehead, which is exactly where the Diamond Guidance functions. The subjective state of doubt is one of the main barriers against the Black Essence of Peace. Doubt of any kind will block this center—which the Sufis call khafi, “the hidden”—because doubt is partly an expression of hatred; it is not the same as authentic questioning or curiosity. All of us have doubt about all kinds of things, depending on our ignorance or our history: how many times we were hurt or deceived, how often we were betrayed, disappointed or abandoned, and so on. From these experiences comes ambivalence—a combination of hope for what we want and fear that it won't happen. From this ambivalence, doubt arises, and the doubt has a destructive, hateful quality in reaction to our history of pain and betrayal. As a result, the doubt tries to discount the insights or the messages of the Guidance. Openness to the Guidance can easily be destroyed by doubt. Normally, when truth first arises, it is very subtle, very delicate; if we doubt it right away, we kill it before it develops.

Doubt versus Certainty

In the Diamond Approach, this realization is related to the crystal vehicle of the citadel. It is the timeless wisdom leading to nonconceptual certainty. One attains here a certainty beyond doubt, because it is independent of belief, of knowledge, and of any intellectual or experiential category. One is oneself, and sees Reality as it is, with a nonconceptual conviction. The person’s realization has gone beyond knowing and, hence, beyond any doubt or questioning. It is not that he feels certain because he is convinced, for he is beyond convincing. He is not convinced of anything, not even of the truth of his own personal and ascertained experiences and perceptions. He is certain because there is nothing to be certain about, and nothing to doubt. In fact, there is no such thing as doubt, for the mind that doubts is the discriminating mind. This realization becomes what we call certainty only when he contemplates it conceptually. He understands that certainty is unquestionable only when it is nonconceptual, when it is not certainty about anything, but simply the solidity and rootedness of one’s realization of nonconceptual truth.

Doubting the Teacher and the Teachings

If you give up that longing for the good object, then you are truly poor. If you are truly poor, then you live in sacredness. If you are truly poor, you won’t feel it is not worth it or it is worth it. None of that exists. You don’t give up out of hopelessness. You give up because you know that is the way. No one can do it any other way. It’s the objective truth, and you see it. Along the way you fight, you get mad, you disbelieve your teachers, you misinterpret the teachings, and so on. At this juncture of the inner journey, many people begin to doubt the teacher and teachings; in reality, they simply don’t want to let go. So they may think that when it comes to this point, the teacher is possibly not right. That is one of the last doubts. In reality, unconsciously we are asserting, “I prefer Mommy over God.” We pretend that we want God, but what we really want is Mommy.

Doubting the Work

You need to see what you project onto the Work and what relationship that projection resembles. Any time you doubt the Work, object to some of its principles, or rebel against some of its regulations, and you identify with such attitudes, you are actually not benefiting from the Work. The channel is being closed by your actions. In the old times, it was said that you were not fit for the Work in such cases and didn’t deserve it. I think that kind of judgment comes from the superego. It is better to say that your attitude is closing the door to your connection to Essence. When you make the effort to understand your reactions to what happens here, you will always find an underlying unconscious issue, some kind of resistance. Sometimes it is hard to learn from these observations. Although you might have experienced them a thousand times, you identify with the emotions each time as if you didn’t know better. Every time you identify with your reactions, it’s as if you go to sleep. You give time, energy, money for the Work. From the perspective of what you get, that’s peanuts. Furthermore, it is very little time, energy, and money. Having a connection to your essence cannot be measured in these terms of time, energy, and money. Becoming real, finding out who you are and learning how to live as a real and genuine human being, cannot be measured by these things. When you are thinking about how much time or money you are giving, that thought itself is closing the channels because you are bartering with the Work.

Doubting Your Realization

Sometimes we go to great lengths trying to get support, trying to get someone to love us, to see us, to support us. As I said, for a long time you need to be in an environment that supports your realization. You need to have at least some contact with people who know the reality that needs to be supported, because you don’t have your own support. If all the people around you are completely ignorant of that reality, you will find it difficult to realize that reality. And when you doubt it, the doubt by itself cuts away any support you have, and you lose your certainty. You are impressionable and not completely free, so you tend to believe people when they say, “That’s not true,” especially if they are people you care about. That’s the way you get completely cut down. This is the state of not being seen and not being appreciated for who you are. And what it is to be seen and appreciated changes depending on the state you are realizing.

Faith and Doubt

The recognition of Essence is not yet faith, but it is a necessary element for faith. Faith is an objective experience rather than a mental belief, as I have explained, and refers to a transformation of the soul. When faith is present, the consciousness is changed in a fundamental way, changed in its very substance. So it is not a mental belief based on an inner experience; it is not a matter of having an experience of Essence, and thereafter knowing in your mind that Essence does indeed exist. It is really a transformation that takes place in the soul, in which Essence as one’s nature becomes a certainty, a given, and not something that you need to remember or remind yourself of. This knowing has become integrated and has transformed your consciousness itself. As long as one’s faith is only mental, doubt can creep in, and since doubt itself is mental, something that is only a memory is an easy target for it. When real faith is present, a transformation has taken place and there is no going back. Things might arise that weaken or challenge your faith, but it is there, regardless of what happens.

Facets of Unity, pg. 234

To Not Doubt Doesn't Mean to Not Question

However, not to doubt doesn’t mean not to question. Questioning means curiosity and openness, while doubt expresses skepticism and fear. Curiosity says, for example, “Well, let me find out. I am open and curious and I’m happy to really inquire into whether guidance exists or not.” Doubt says, “I don’t know if there is such a thing, and I am suspicious and distrustful.” Some people say that doubt is good because it is a scientific approach. That is not true. The scientific approach is not doubt or skepticism; it is inquiry, it is questioning and challenging. Doubt or skepticism is a negative energy, a distorted expression of our Being, while curiosity and inquiry is a positive energy, an expression of the optimizing force. We don’t need skepticism and doubt in science; what we need is questioning, inquiry, and a curiosity that embodies openness. So inquiry, which is questioning based on a joyous curiosity, is not only good but also necessary for invoking the Guidance. In contrast, doubt or skepticism is a paranoid, aggressive attitude that cuts life off before it has a chance to grow. Doubt is a direct manifestation of the absence of faith in guidance. Yet some people feel that doubt is needed to avoid being duped, taken for granted, or led by the nose into something they will later regret. However, the absence of doubt is neither compliance nor dependence but instead a curiosity and openness. Only these qualities will reveal what is truly needed for our soul’s unfolding.

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