Week 20: Doubt

This week, Joseph moves on to discuss the fifth hindrance, doubt. He tells us, “Unnoticed, doubt is the most dangerous of the hindrances because it can bring our practice to a standstill.”

We learn of the ways doubt can manifest, including doubt in the relevance of the teachings and doubt in our ability to practice. As with the other hindrances, Joseph instructs us in knowing the cause of doubt and how to remove it. It is no surprise that cultivating wise attention is a very important tool.

Questions:

What experiences of doubt have you had with regards to the teachings?  How have you dealt with them that has been effective?

How do you know when doubting is no longer present?

How have you become aware of the phenomena of doubt masquerading as wisdom?  Do you have tips for discerning between true wisdom and doubt masquerading as wisdom?

When doubt has arisen, how can you perceive it as a state of mind as opposed to the way “I” am?

In a society like ours (where faith is a big part of religion), what is the difference between overcoming doubt through faith and through seeing things for one self?

Are there kinds of doubt that are wholesome?

Practices:

When in a state of “more or less mindfulness” or when doubt is present, do walking meditation with focused attention to your walking practice and reflect on what your state of mind is after that.

Notice what happens in the transition from a doubting state of mind to a non-doubting state of mind.  What do you become aware of in terms of your state of mind and your relationship to your body?