I received this morning the transcript of part of an interview I did with a student of Sufi master Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri, a man by the name of Faadil Khan. The following is a short piece in which he talks about doubt and certainty:
Faadil: Once I was sitting with Shaykh Fadhlalla and he sensed that I was going through a moment of doubt. He looked at me and said: I’m always doubtful and that is why I am always certain.
Amir: Beautiful. Can you explain that?
Faadil: I was confused, but then he elaborated. He said: I’m doubtful of myself, this is the nature of the self; and I take refuge in that which is beyond self, which is pure consciousness. I’m governed by pure consciousness and I’m under its protection, therefore I’m always certain.
That was a profound teaching for me, because doubt is very disorienting. I’ve experienced doubt with him many times. I’d be sitting with Shaykh Fadhlalla and feeling so doubtful of him, of what he was saying, about how it worked. He would look at me and say: Truth and certainty are only useful if there is doubt. The mind will always doubt, because this is the nature of the mind. It was an incredible teaching for me, because as long as you function with limited consciousness, you’ll always experience the limitations of that consciousness, which can be doubt, anxiety, and fear. This is a natural inclination. The mind will always interpret limited experience as doubt, anxiety or fear. You’ll always experience that, but if you recognize doubt, stop, and turn to pure consciousness…
Amir: Would you say that you needed the trust in Shaykh Fadhlalla in order to have a perspective on your own doubts?
Faadil: Yes, it was trust and experience. I don’t know which comes first, but when there was trust, there was an experience that confirmed it.