philosophies, or anything that is done in simple goodwill or

with an innocent heart.

The Buddha summons us to another kind of doubt, "like

analyzing gold, scorching, cutting, and rubbing it to test its

purity." For that form of doubt that really would expose us to

the truth if we followed it to the end, we have neither the

insight, the courage, nor the training. We have been schooled

in a sterile addiction to contradiction that has robbed us

repeatedly of all real openness to any more expansive and

ennobling truth.

In the place of our contemporary nihilistic form of doubt,

then, I would ask you to put what I call a "noble doubt," the

kind of doubt that is an integral part of the path toward

enlightenment. The vast truth of the mystical teachings

handed down to us is not something that our endangered

world can afford to dismiss. Instead of doubting them, why

don't we doubt ourselves: our ignorance, our assumption that

we understand everything already, our grasping and evasion,

our passion for so-called explanations of reality that have

about them nothing of the awe-inspiring and all-encompassing

wisdom of what the masters, the messengers of Reality, have

told us?

This kind of noble doubt spurs us onward, inspires us, tests

us, makes us more and more authentic, empowers us, and

draws us more and more within the exalting energy field of

the truth. When I am with my masters, I ask them again and

again the questions I need answers to. Sometimes I don't get

clear answers, but I do not doubt them or the truth of the

teachings. Sometimes I may doubt my own spiritual maturity

or my ability to really hear the truth in a way that I could

fully understand, and more often I press on asking and asking,

until I do get a clear answer. And when that answer comes,

and rings strongly and purely in my mind, and my heart

responds to it with a shock of gratitude and recognition, then

a conviction is inspired in me that the derision of a world of

doubters could not destroy.

I remember one winter, when I was driving with one of

my students from Paris down to Italy on a clear and moonlit

night. She worked as a therapist, and had undergone many

different kinds of training. What she had realized, she told me,

was that the more knowledge you have, the more doubts it

gives rise to, and the subtler the excuses for doubting whenever

the truth begins to touch you deeply. She had tried many

times, she said, to run away from the teachings, but finally

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