Posted by: Michael Rickicki | 04/02/2013


When in doubt don't^ - NARA - 535006


I realized this morning that the emptiness I was feeling during my breath meditation session wasn’t emptiness at all. What I would first have characterized as empty was, in fact, full of something distinctly unpleasant and from which I desperately wanted to retreat: doubt.


It is a strange thing not to realize that one’s mind has become completely swamped in a morass of doubt but that is precisely what happened and this pervasive doubt about the efficacy of the practice and the point of meditating at all sapped me of energy and resolve. Despite this, out of sheer stubbornness  I made it through to the end but I will clearly need to deal with this doubt head-on lest it completely knock me off balance. And, how does one deal with doubt? If I’m not mistaken, the texts say that we should educate ourselves on those points of confusion and investigate the Dhamma with regard to the areas we find oursselves doubting. For me,  even before I realized doubt (as a hindrance) was the culprit, I knew I needed to read up on and listen to some Dhamma talks on breath mediation a la Thanissaro Bhikkhu (solely because this is my preferred technique).


So, doubt has been seen and I now know how to meet the challenge which puts me in infinitely better stead than I was before. The hindrances and kilesas are wily creatures and I am constantly amazed their cunning, tenacity and sheer power.





  1. A Zen Proverb that I learned a long time ago says:

    “Where there is great doubt, there will be great awakening; small doubt, small awakening, no doubt, no awakening.”


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