I’m not sure if I have touched on this before but Doubt it one of my favorite movies. I just love how the confident nun with all the answers, realized the order of things is really disorder and unknown. Everything she was self-assured about left her when she needed it most; but as the credits ran and she was in tears about her new found doubt, I was excited she would be able to learn and grow, no longer believing she had all the answers. While I have never felt I had all the answers, I recently had a conversation that left me feeling I had zero.
To be fair the conversation really didn’t destroy me as the nun, played by the amazing Meryl Streep ( I mean who is better really ), but I had such an amazing sense of powerlessness and loss. I just felt as though maybe I am not the beacon of hope I felt I was. I had dread I was on the wrong path and the people I’ve shared my experiences and limited wisdom with were done a disservice because I have nothing to offer. I have to admit, this feeling lingered. I had to meditate, seek counsel from friends, read up on the Dharma, and then I had to let it go. Still I’m shaken by the exchange.
Without revealing too much about this person’s life, it boiled down to seeing a loss in their spirit. I saw them wanting to be healed, doing many of the right things by seeking comfort in their spiritual practice, eliminating most negative people from their lives, going to support meetings, and stopping to just be when things got overwhelming. Honestly this is an amazing approach that helps countless people, and some of the tools I utilize myself. In listening to them speak, I kept hearing the same thread that bothered me but I had no idea how to bring it up. What also bothered me was the feeling that these positive tools could actually be hindering someone’s progress and truth growth.
What I felt I was getting was avoidance. I saw someone truly wanting an escape from the darkness but ended up creating more barriers. This person appeared to be focusing on keeping busy, not allowing idle hands to corrupt or give way to deeper feelings. I must say this is only what I picked up from a few hours of conversation. I could be five thousand percent wrong but the energy I received told me they were not dealing with the root cause of certain things. But what if they were avoiding some things? The positive work they were doing in other areas were great and benefiting so many others. No one is to say to mentor and be a rock for someone, you have to be all together. If that was the case I would need to shut my blog down immediately.
My issue was intent and motive. A person’s intent colors how they proceed and the information they might share. If I want to be a relationship counselor to stop people from being hurt because I was hurt, it’s great but I would hope something more positive like I just was a fan of love wanting to be of service. Yes rosy glasses but I feel like it’s important to start off in a place of love, kindness and strength when one is trying to be of service to others. I prefer someone with war stories because if you don’t know pain and struggle it’s hard to coach others through that minefield. However if you still haven’t really dealt with your own then the message could be less clear and beneficial the way you might want.
I also got the sense they were unaware of the negative side of positive actions. An example I love to give is being unhealthy and deciding to now eat better and exercise. Who could say this is a bad thing? Many people would once it became nothing more than another addiction to fill the void of the last one. The void is the real issue and what I gathered was that void wasn’t being addressed with the friend I was with. The void is the real culprit in many things. What is put in the void has to be strong enough to eliminate the negative space, but positive enough to not cause other problems along the way. The easiest example there is loneliness.
Most people fill their lives with friends, or jump from relationship to relationship not to deal with being alone. In a quiet space there really isn’t much else to do but to contemplate and those truths can be extremely heavy. But this filling of ones life with people can be a distraction if again the motives and intent aren’t on a sure footing. When I am lonely, and Deepak Chopra says it better than me, I ask what am I lonely for? If I want affection honestly I try to find a way to get that affection from myself. I don’t want to emotionally eat, go to the bars to be ogled, or take drugs to be numb. I want to know why I’m lonely and fill my void on my own. This kind of thinking takes time and in the end, maybe I was just there to listen. I’d like to think what I shared during the conversation was helpful and may be recalled in a reflective moment but I just left feeling like I was of no service.
This is completely my issue feeling like my purpose is that of a healer. I enjoy being a sounding board and being helpful. I left feeling I was not that in a way I could quantify. I clearly have let ego take over, as I clearly wanted to leave feeling like I’ve sent this person on a better path but who is to say I didn’t? I’m mad at myself for wanting that kind of validation. I’m pissed I felt like I didn’t do enough, or really that I didn’t have the tools to do enough. I am optimistic enough to know this doubt, this feeling of ineffectiveness could push me to acquire the tools needed to be the force I see myself as.
So I have doubt.