Doubt is a tricky thing.
I was raised Christian but in my youth I was blessed to be exposed to a great many religions and that taught me to look and learn for myself rather than listen to what others have to say about it.
If you don’t see it, know it, learn about it for yourself then how can you know the truth of that thing?
It’s like a friend telling you about a person you’ve not met. You don’t know the person, you only know what your friend thinks of the person. Your friend relates to you what they’ve experienced based on their own interactions which are affected by their own likes, dislikes, life experiences and relationship with that person.
At the end of the day you only know what YOUR experience is in relation to someone or something.
In 1990 I began to study Buddhism. At that time it seemed the right path for me. I have always had a fascination with eastern religions. They far pre date Christianity and I was curious about the origins and practices of these ancient teachings. The idea of self awakening and self-awareness paralleled many “newer” religions which likewise intrigued me.
I’m writing a longer blog (might turn into a book actually) about a journey I once took and during that journey I came to a few realizations. It involved a great deal of introspection, mediation and spiritual practice. I became calm, clear and developed a strong inner peace. The other thing that occured was that I had become complacent.
I was living in Los Angeles taking yoga classes everyday, sometimes twice a day and although I loved the practice I found that I was putting other things in my life on the back burner.
Here’s an example of that I mean by putting other things on the back burner. I began to look at the world in spiritual terms instead of materialistic terms, meaning the constant need to have things, achieve things, get things etc. In turn the choices I was making began to reflect an all spiritual side in that terms of the continual journey toward satori or enlightenment.
I started to question what my path was whether I should dedicate myself to full time practice or dedicate myself to full time acting/producing. I was at odds with myself because I wanted BOTH.
I still wanted my career in the entertainment industry but how did that career fit into the spiritual world. I was pulled by that inner feeling of peace and calm that came from my yoga and meditation practice and yet in that peaceful place I found myself stuck in a dichotomy and that dichotomy lead to complacency.
I was actually turning down auditions and meetings because they conflicted with my practice but there was an imbalance.
I felt like I was in the middle of two opposing forces and unable to make the choices that would take me in one direction or the other. Doubt is a tough thing to figure out. Unless we have an understanding of exactly what we want, set goals, plan then and take actions to execute those goals we will be forever stuck in doubt.
When I realized that my goals had become fuzzy and I was not clear on what it was that I actually wanted...I stopped myself. Letting go does not mean letting go of wants and desires, to me it means letting go of the NEED, the struggle, the "must have" mentality. Could I achieve within the peaceful world that I had created within?
I found that I can. Yes, you CAN have both. It’s a balance. It’s the reason I continue my spiritual practice (no matter what your religion and even if you don’t have a religion). Sometimes we move so quickly in this world that we miss things from opportunities, to loved ones, to life itself and that can lead us to doubt, in hindsight, if we’ve made the right choices.
Letting go of that pressing need opens you up to so many possibilities. Opening your eyes to other things allows you to see a door that you might have missed or a path that you might have taken.
Set you goals, know them. Work toward them and look to create balance and those goals won’t just be easier to achieve, you’ll have more fun along the way. Here's the cool thing...you can actually change your goals! They're yours after all. It's your life to create, to paint the canvas however you like. It’s never too late.
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
- C.S. Lewis