It’s important to have self-confidence. It’s even more important to have spiritual self-confidence. Spiritual confidence is that unique and palpable sense of absolute conviction that cannot be affected by external or internal fluctuations. It’s being absolutely sure. It’s knowing, before you know, that you know. It’s the highest gift and blessing that comes only from the deepest insight into the true nature of things. It can also be the most precious jewel that is freely transmitted from the awakened heart and mind of a true spiritual master to any and all who would receive it. Absolute conviction destroys existential doubt and frees the human soul.
The Eastern traditions say that doubt is one of the biggest obstacles to the profound discovery of enlightened awareness. The sparkle of ecstatic conviction in the eyes of a saint expresses the liberating joy and fearlessness that are testimony to powerful spiritual self-confidence. Unfortunately, madmen, monsters, and megalomaniacs from the East and the West also gain their power from absolute self-confidence. But that’s not a confidence that comes from knowing that mystery which is ungraspable. More often than not, it’s a confidence that comes from fear, from overwhelming arrogance, from the puny ego, or from ethnocentric pride. It’s a confidence that comes from a desire for power and an aspiration to dominate. The kind of spiritual confidence I’m speaking about comes from a very different source and from a very different part of the self.
Some people claim that absolute conviction of any kind is dangerous and should never be trusted. But the kinds of people who make those assertions are hypocrites. They are hypocrites because they stubbornly express an absolute conviction in their own perspective while simultaneously proclaiming to others the futility of such a position!
Spiritual confidence is the heaviest anchor in the midst of the unending storm that is life and death. It is an unshakable confidence in the inherent rightness of being here–confidence in the rightness of finding oneself in the very middle of the life process, even in all its chaos and complexity. Having this kind of confidence is of the utmost importance for anyone who is convinced that they deeply care about the way things are–and even more so for the bold and courageous warrior who wants to create something truly new, who would dare to be the one to step forward, to stand for and bear witness to that which is higher.
It’s especially important to have this kind of confidence in times like these when there is so much turbulence and individual and collective insecurity about survival. Without this kind of confidence as a constant reference point, we may find ourselves at times without the emotional, psychological, or spiritual resources to fight the good fight. And those who care more than anything else about the perennial quest to transform the world into a powerful reflection of that which is sacred cannot afford to allow even a moment of doubt or fear to overshadow their soul. Why? Because that may be the one moment that counted the most! In other words, we can’t afford not to have spiritual self-confidence if we want to change the world.
The kind of powerful conviction that I am referring to fills one’s heart with a love that is not dependent on external circumstances for its fullness. It’s a love that is unshakable, unmoving, and indestructible. Such love–a love that transcends yet simultaneously embraces the world–is what compels human beings to evolve, from their own deepest depths, and to become better citizens of our world and our cosmos. Knowing the mysterious source of that love is knowing before thought that life is good. That inherent goodness is who we really are. And that’s what we discover in deepest revelation.
Have confidence in that and change the world.
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by Andrew Cohen