We naturally long to sequester our doubts and fears, to disavow pain and worry. Unfortunately, to vanquish doubt is to leave the domain of the human being. Conversely, to embrace both one’s doubt and faith, one’s fear and courage, is to relate to the totality of the human experience.
The paradox of struggling with doubt — as with all so-called “negative” feelings — is that only by inviting it in, exploring and illuminating its meanings, can we be enriched as creative artists. This is especially true for those writers and actors among you, whose work involves creating life-like characters. The plain fact is, the more willing you are to mine the landscape of your own doubts, the truer and more recognizably human your characters will be. (And the more impact your characters’ faith, if such is their destination, will have.)
Keeping the tension between Faith and Doubt alive within you, without either falling prey to blind optimism or succumbing to despair, is not easy. We veer so often in one direction or the other that, in their exaggerated forms, Faith and Doubt can look like two sides of the same coin. . .
In all aspects of life, an unquestioning faith is the same as unwavering doubt — both are belief systems employed to try to protect a person from the complicated, sometimes contradictory, always unpredictable ebb and flow of actual experience.
“Faith and doubt, both are needed...”
The truth is, if we each had winged imps named Faith and Doubt parked on our shoulders, competing for air-time, the ideal situation would be for their voices to stay at more or less equal volume. For our attention to shift from one to the other, and back again.
And, ultimately, for us to integrate what each has to say, and to struggle to create and thrive from that place within us where all feelings, including faith and doubt, reside.
See also: Feel Everything