Thursday, August 06, 2009

The vital space of doubt

Today is Alfred Lord Tennyson's 200th birthday. Reading about him this morning, I discovered this quote:

    There lives more faith in honest doubt, believe me, than in half the creeds.

I find beauty in all traditions and practices of faith, but the point Tennyson makes here strikes me as integral to a real, growing, embodied living out of an alive, aware, and owned faith. If we are just parrotting the views of our parents, our tradition, our region, our particular demographic, we are only participating in response to an external framework. We haven't owned it; the living out of our faith is not coming from within us, from a seed of transformation we plant and nurture. In my own life Love has grown greatly through doubt--pushing and prodding, asking "why?" and "why not?", and listening, discerning, and testing over time. For some reason I was willing to risk shaking my fist at the ceiling and yelling at God (literally...I know that's not a pretty picture), and even today continue to risk leaving groupthink, again and again, in spite of the sense of belonging the journey might cost me.

Knowing what I believe and in what and whom I believe and how that belief frames my life has always been important to me...and doubt opens up the vital space for me to explore, push, create, and show up as part of Life's arising. I, for one, need that.

Happy Tennyson's birthday!

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