January 31, 2012

Self Doubt

We all doubt ourselves on a daily basis.  Did I speak to my boss in an annoyed tone?  Did I make the right decision in going to law school?  Did I leave the oven on when I left the house?  They can be huge situations in which we doubt ourselves or tiny little nagging thoughts that represent a part of us that may be forgetful, scared or lazy.  This doubt is one obstacle that is placed in front of us when we have a practice.  Whether this practice be a yoga practice, a musical practice, a pranayama practice, a writing practice or a painting practice.  When we doubt ourselves we are less inclined to practice. 

In Sri Swami Satchidananda's translation of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Sutra 1:30, it is stated that doubt is one the 9 obstacles that may restrict us from practicing.  I see this doubt as doubt of the self.  Doubt that what you are choosing to practice is not good enough or that you are not good enough, not smart enough, not flexible enough, not fast enough.  

I had this thought the other day in training during a discussion about Sankhya and Vedantic philosophy.  There we were all seated on cushions making notes in our books about Indian philosophy and I swear I felt like a deer caught in the headlights.  Words like monoism, dualism, Prakrti and Pushura bouncing off the walls and around my mind.  Trying to catch just a little bit of the conversation while it seemed that everyone else was having an easier time grasping the concept.  I gave up trying to follow the discussion at one point and my mind started berating me - informing me that I wasn't good enough to go through this training program that I would never understand Yoga philosophy and why in the hell did I even have a Yoga practice, what was the point?  I came home absolutely exhausted - mentally wasted.

The following day we discussed Sutra 1:30 and I felt clearer.  It was like this heaviness had been lifted from me.  I realized that this training that I am doing is an extension of my practice - an expansion of Yoga that takes me off of my mat and I was allowing my mind to distract me from my practice.

So, practice.  Practice your writing.  Practice your musical scales.  Practice your yoga.  Practice your singing.  Practice your gardening.  Don't stop.  Don't doubt.  Question but please don't listen to that nagging voice of doubt.  Listen to your heart.

P.S.  Bind in Mari D successful 2 days in a row! Heeheee!


Lacey said...

I love this, Juliana... Seems like you always know where I'm at!

Self-doubt seems to be one of those things that you either struggle or you don't. I have this voice inside my head that I am constantly having to silence that just is always saying "I can't!" when I truly can.

My new practice is that everytime my head says "I can't!" I say "Its HARD and I CAN!"

Anne said...

I have changed yoga studios recently and am full of doubt. Should I have left my old studio? Am I getting as good a workout? Is the practice not as good because it is different? Are the reasons why I changed studios valid?

All this is self doubt, and I was thinking about skipping today's practice because of it when i cam upon your blog.

I also blog on yoga, and I was beginning to doubt that, too, when I booted up the computer and found my first "comment", encouraging me to keep writing and saying that the posts surpassed what this reader saw in related journals.

Self doubt can be big, but I guess all that's often needed is encouragement, however small, to get past it.

Thanks for writing.