I Doubt It

I Doubt It

Are you a doubting Thomas? Would you like to be?

Did I hear you say, “I doubt it?”

Perhaps you’ve never thought of doubt as something positive, but it can be, if you use it deliberately to develop your understanding.

Let’s call this practice Productive Doubting.

Even the minds of Easy Believers have currents of skepticism. The mind naturally questions, and when we don’t engage in conscious questioning, unrecognized doubt undermines our happiness in ways we could have prevented.

Doubt is not black-and-white and it doesn’t announce its presence, but careful questioning uncovers pockets of doubt in even the most strongly entrenched belief system.

Transforming doubt

Conviction is arguably the greatest gift of transformational practices such as meditation and Reiki.

Conviction is not belief, but rather a profound inner knowing that supports us through times of challenge, a compassionate knowing that is steady and deep without being rigid or positional.

The process of developing conviction is gradual and developmental. It happens invisibly as we practice consistently over time, and we cannot fast track it.

But we can organically accelerate the process somewhat by identifying where we lack conviction and acknowledging the presence of doubt.

Uncovering doubt

What do you doubt? (This is a time for deep self-honesty.)

Do you doubt you can have happier holidays this year?

Do you doubt you have a purpose in life?

Do you doubt you can sustain meaningful, enduring relationships?

If you are a health professional, do you doubt your healing practice benefits your clients?

Here’s another approach to Productive Doubting:
What have you assumed to be true, and never questioned? (Sometimes these beliefs hide in sentences that include the word “never.”)

Productive Doubting reveals how our continuing practice is transforming our awareness in ways we might have otherwise missed. This in turn gives us patience with the process, and conviction in the effectiveness of practice.

What understanding or opportunity has opened up for you because you chose to doubt what you were told, by someone else or by your own mind? Please share in a comment below.

Pamela Miles shares 50 years of experience with holistic health and spiritual practice.


  1. Yes I agree that doubt is a great teacher. It tells us where are gaps are AND if looked at without judgement, will often lead to something deeper.

    For example, lets say that I doubt my Reiki ability. So I sit down, and take time to listen and invite the doubt to come forward. I may discover that it is actually my fear of what others will think. In that case I can send Reiki to that part of me and begin to work on that aspect. Or perhaps it is my fear that I am not using the right hand positions. So… I can go back to my Reiki book. Or maybe I doubt that the Reiki is flowing. Working with another practitioner or my Reiki teacher may be able to help me with this one. There are innumerable ways to tackle it. But until I stop and listen, I will never be able to address or “solve” the issue.

  2. Doris Eugenio says:

    I suppose the big questions are at least touched by uncertainty if we are honest but can be approached as resulting in being differently shaded each time we contemplate them. The last question about doubting if I have a purpose in life — I doubt being able to put my finger on what exactly my purpose is but my self-worth doesn’t depend on identifying what that might be. It’s ever evolving and I can appreciate there’s no fast track. Thank you for another provocative theme.

  3. Getchie Argetsinger says:

    Thanks Pamela – I love the idea of Productive Doubting. For me doubts are like the dishes – they appear every day and I certainly feel better when I tend to them! Now the dishes are easy but doubts can be tricksy – so I am thrilled to have a template for recognizing, contemplateing and learning from doubts. I love what Sandy said about “taking time to listen and inviting doubt to come forward.”

  4. Pamela Miles says:

    Getchie, I LOVE that image, “doubts are like the dishes — they appear every day and I certainly feel better when I tend to them!” Thank you thank you!

  5. Jason says:

    I think doubt is essential. How else can you really say that you believe ANYTHING? Sure… I understand the “felt-sense” that one can get–a feeling in the gut. But I enjoy re-examining those things/concepts, too. That way, when I say that I believe something, I can say that with the same “felt-sense” in my gut.

    And re-examing core beliefs/concepts/truths allows me to see how I’m growing and changing over time. Things that might be taken for granted–taken as THIS IS TRUE– are allowed to be explored, again. Seen with fresh eyes.

    And often times, this allows me even greater understanding. I’m thankful for that.

  6. Pamela Miles says:

    Thank you, Jason. Do you agree that belief can be transformed into direct knowledge (what I refer to as conviction), or do you think it remains belief?

    • Jason says:

      Such a good question, Pamela! I’ve been “chewing on it” all day. Yes… I agree that belief can be transformed into direct knowledge/conviction.

      And I STILL will take time to doubt that! Or at least ask myself WHY that is so…

      It helps me to keep focused. Not just accept. Or remember that at one time I’d accepted something as true.

      That’s one of the things I love most about your blog–you pose good questions that make people really think. I’m sure it acts as a mirror sometimes, too, right? In my own experience, when I talk about things–really open it up for discussion–it gives me the opportunity to explore and remember WHY I know what I know. And how I can best communicate that.

      Thanks for the question that made me say “Hmm…”

  7. Pamela,

    Thank you for your informative article. I find that it is very helpful to be aware of “productive doubting”. During a time when I’ve decided to take my Reiki practice to the next level your article definitely speaks directly to me.

    When I look back at where I started, I had plenty of doubt but decided to keep at it. Now, right before my very own eyes, I see that the benefits of being attuned to Reiki is not only helping myself but helping others. Never in a million years would I have ever imagined where I am today. Without ” productive doubting”, I would have never challenged myself to move in this direction.


  8. Joan Bright says:

    My healing journey began with doubting the doctor who told me that without asthma medication, I would stop breathing well, or maybe, at all, and searching for a way to feel better, breathe better and perhaps, not have to take four and five medications a day, at times. I then discovered my own doubts about being able to heal – and breathe freely and easily, and under those, fear and a compulsive attachment to carrying an inhaler…and more fear and doubt. It has been an amazing journey. I live medication free for 99% of the time today, I breathe freely even on days when it is ‘different’, I don’t instantly panic, and the other form of energy healing I was studying along with visualization techniques taught me by that first energy healer I went to, have led me here. Reiki came into my life about four years ago and my journey continues – the practice does allow what is ready to be healed in me to come up next – and it uncovers new convictions. I no longer doubt my ability to heal from my own challenges and I do not doubt Reiki’s effectiveness. A new-found conviction that I am meant to work with animals and their people in the use of Reiki is something that my Reiki teacher helped me see, recently, as being true for me. As I grow into the person who no longer doubts that I have a purpose in this area, I am a better practitioner and a more grounded person. Thank you for pointing out that uncovering doubts is how we get to them to change them, that’s an important part of this journey you’ve made me reflect upon and reminded me to trust as a process.

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