In prior posts we explored two pillars of Zen: great faith or trust and great doubt. Today I want to share my thoughts on the third pillar: great determination. As mentioned several times previously, one does not have to be a Zen practitioner to use these themes in one’s daily life; they will prove valid regardless of one’s religious or spiritual orientation.
The three pillars of faith, doubt, and determination coalesce around ultimately a spiritual or existential quest for meaning and fulfillment in our lives. Our quest usually begins with dissatisfaction or, more deeply, a crisis that drives us to question our assumptions and beliefs. We experience great doubt.
It is in the midst of this doubt that we must draw on our faith or trust in our inner wisdom or, for many, some power greater than ourselves. This trust serves to ground us and allows us to be with our fears and anxiety. It is our faith that provides a pathway through fear – but only if we employ our determination to take action and move through crisis to the opportunity that lies beyond.
It will not do to sit and wait for opportunity to drop into our lap. Nike’s dictum rings true here: “Just do it.” We can always course correct and refine our actions, but if we do not take action, we are caught in a kind of emotional paralysis.
When we study successful people, we see that in every instance they were determined to succeed. Edison chalked up failures too numerous to count, but he never gave up. In the end he found the key to the incandescent light bulb. Einstein failed basic mathematics yet gave us an invaluable paradigm with his theorem mass equals energy.
Have you faced a serious crisis in your life? Are you currently facing a crisis? Try using the pillars of doubt, faith and determination and see what happens!