5 Ways to Move Forward in the face of Doubt

Relax, Nothing is Under Control, Art Café, Koh Phangan
Relax, Nothing is Under Control, Art Café, Koh Phangan

Right now I am on a new adventure at the Samma Karuna School of Awakening and Healing in Thailand, doing a yoga teacher training. As a part of the training, we have pretty regular group checkins called ‘forums’ where we share our innermost stuff with the group.

We share what is going on for us, and we are witnessed by the group. What strikes me most during these occasions is how similar the inner goings on of everyone are.

Fears, doubts and insecurities about a whole host of different things were the common elements were of what people voiced. We are all, on the inside, very much the same.

What do you do if you find yourself in a period of doubt, where the doubt can be so overwhelming that you can become paralysed? 

Firstly you can remember that the main characteristic of life is that it’s uncertain.

Uncertainty is the very nature of existence.

Everything that we call ‘security’ is an illusion of the mind. And that it is your relationship with uncertainty that will change your experience of life.

  1. Instead of being afraid of uncertainty, can you be curious about it? Or even, excited by it?

In the year 2000, I started out on a long trip overseas, with a destination fairly unknown. I was 26, and starting out with some friends but after I would be travelling by myself for the first time. At the airport my brother gave me a card that ended with:

“….relish the uncertainty that travel brings.”

Can you get excited about uncertainty? Can you remember in your moments of doubt that that’s what makes life so amazing – the fact that you don’t know what’s going to happen next?

2. If you are unsure of what you are doing, ask yourself how you are helping others?

In the airport that day was the last time I saw my brother. He died in a motorbike accident a few months later. This led to a long period of sadness and introspection for me, but that is another story. What I remember about my brother Bren was his willingness to feel all of life. And his feeling for other people. He had so much love in his heart and was always there to share it with others.

He also loved helping others and got so much joy from this. This is something I learned from him. That in giving of yourself you receive so much. Each time I give a Reiki session, I receive an equal or greater benefit than the person I am giving the healing to. And I experience a similar feeling when I teach a yoga class.

Ask yourself how you are helping others in your life and if you could do that more? Be curious about the answers that come. It might be something as small as connecting with people more, or buying someone a coffee.

3. Ask yourself, what is your mantra?

What is your inner mantra?

What is the thing that really makes you tick?

I think that all of us have some inner mantras that we may be unaware of. Sometimes they are helpful and positive, encouraging us on our path, and sometimes they might be the opposite.

Investigate what your inner mantra is, and see if it needs tweaking.

To live a meaningful life, it helps to know what our soul is most longing for.

Your mantra might be something like:

By being the truest version of myself I can be, I free others to be the truest version of themselves.

4. Ask yourself what do you value most in life?

If freedom and autonomy are two big values for you, but you are stuck in a job you don’t like, then you may be out of alignment with your deepest values.

If you want to experience more Surrender in your life, and the feeling of being in the flow, but you find yourself living a bit on auto-pilot, with your life so structured and scheduled that there is no room for serendipity, then you might want to look at how you are spending your time.

5. Give yourself full permission to live your dreams and take full responsibility for yourself.

Most of us know deep down what lights us up. We know, when we get quiet, what our soul wants to experience in this lifetime. But it’s amazing the reasons we can come up with as to why we can’t do, have or be X or Y.

Regardless of whatever these reasons are, the act of making excuses for not following your dreams is an act of giving away your own power. You voluntarily give away your own power to whatever or whoever is the excuse, and then you give yourself permission to resent it or them.

Give yourself full permission to live whatever your dreams are, and take steps today to making them happen. Even one baby step.

Taking full responsibility for your own life and your own happiness is empowering, and it brings you into alignment with how things really are.

Here at Samma Karuna they have given us doors for awakening in the Yoga and Self Development class.

They are:

  1. Reality is as it is (so, accept what you cannot change. There is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’.)
  2. Not only is reality as is it, it is as it should be (everything happens for a reason.)
  3. You are a part of existence and existence loves you (there are no enemies except yourself.)

Some good pointers to reflect on.

And remember, if in doubt about what to do next, keep moving forward. Take one step in a direction that lights up your heart.

See if like my brother advised, you can relish the uncertainty that life brings.

Remember there are no wrong paths. And that in life we are more likely to regret things we haven’t done rather than those we have.


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