Doubt is a Thought

I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about doubt? My experience is that when I’m in Satsang it’s real easy, and then sometimes when I’m alone or in other contexts there is doubt that arises in the face of that incredible happiness. It says, “You must be nuts.”

What is that? “You must be nuts.” What is it?

It’s a thought.

Yes, it’s a thought. What else does doubt say?

This is silly.

What is that?

Four more words. This is really silly.

“This is really silly.” What is that?

Another thought.

Now try this: “You are a great enlightened being.” What’s that?

Another thought.

Now we’re no longer in the doubt category, we’re in the “I got it” category. “You must be nuts.” “You are a great enlightened being.” What difference does it make? Two thoughts. Then we had, “This is silly.” We could try, “This is very profound.” Just two more thoughts, you see.

When a thought comes that says, “This is very silly,” or when a thought comes that says, “This is truly profound, great non-dual Advaita,” is there a choice or a decision or an effort prior to the thought arising to have a thought?


It doesn’t require any premeditation. Where did thought come from? Suddenly, there’s a thought—zoom—there’s another one. They arise on their own. They’re self-originating.

Other than the thought, is there anything to be found called a “thinker” creating thoughts?


They just arise out of nowhere. Did you ever drink soda in a glass? Have you ever wondered where the bubbles come from? As a child I used to wonder about that. You watch, and out of nowhere, suddenly there’s a bubble. Where did it come from? I used to look under the table. I had a lot of fantasies about that when I was a child — what is the source of the bubbles? In fact, I think you could write a hitch-hikers-guide-to-the-galaxy-style book around that — where do the bubbles come from in soda drinks? They just appear. No source—they just arise out of nowhere.

Since thought arises on its own anyway and there’s no decision to have it or not, is there anything you can do about it?


All you can do is add another layer of thought called “That’s not an okay thought,” but that’s just more thought too. Since it’s arising anyway and there’s no choice about it, you might as well let it be because it’s going to happen anyway.

Now, in just letting it be, if the interest is no longer paid so much to the content of thought, what difference does it make if there is a so-called doubting thought or a so-called enlightened thought? Does it make any difference? Does it actually make any difference to this moment? Try it consciously. Go ahead now and think this thought deliberately: “This is complete rubbish.”


Now try thinking this thought: “I love this guy; this is the best evening of my life.” Does it make any difference to this moment?

No, but what’s more convincing to me are the feelings that appear from nowhere.

Okay, so do one thing. Just stay here with your eyes and have the thought, “This is really stupid” and think it to the point that it actually generates a feeling. But stay present with your eyes.

Good. Now try another one. Look at me with your eyes and just for a moment have the feeling that we are completely in love.

Okay, now tell me, as those thoughts drift on by, did either one make any difference to what’s here?

Not really, no.

There is really only one choice, and it’s the only choice that one gets to make in this moment. The choice is whether to listen to the unreal or not to listen. You can’t prevent these thoughts from arising. They will actually subside slowly as less attention is paid to them. There is only one choice, which is whether to fixate on them or not. The only way to not fixate on them is to return the attention to the real, to that which experiences all thought. Then doubts or great enlightened insights are exactly the same. It makes no difference, absolutely no difference at all.

“I am enlightened” is just another thought.

What about a feeling?

It is the same thing when a feeling state comes. Do you decide, “Okay, I think I’m going to have some sadness now?” Is that how it is? Doesn’t an event just occur and sadness arises? You can try to repress it but it’s going to get you anyway. Can’t that also be welcomed?

What is left then if all ideas of what should and shouldn’t be are abandoned?


Quiet, yes. That quiet, does it require particular kinds of thoughts in order to be quiet?


Does it require an absence of thought to be quiet?


It’s a quiet that has no opposite. It’s a quiet that includes noise. And that’s who you are. It’s not an experience; it’s not a state. It is who you are all the time. You have never been other than That, and you will never be other than That. And about that there is no choice. It’s the only item on the menu, and the waiter will bring it whether you order it or not.

So now what’s left?

Quiet and happiness.

Yes, quiet and happiness, which is always there—not an attainment, not an experience and not a state. This happiness that you speak of, could it also include misery?


It is a happiness that has no opposite, a happiness that includes everything. You could call that acceptance. You could call that compassion. It’s the abandonment of all resistance to life.

This is the invitation right now. It can’t be postponed. It’s either now or it’s not. There’s no tomorrow in this. “Tomorrow” is just a way of saying no. This is the invitation. This is neither enlightenment nor unenlightenment; this is neither free nor bound.  This is the inevitable Truth.


This is an excerpt from my book “How About Now”.  Click here to purchase your own copy today!

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