Suspicion and truth

A suspicious mind can see problems where the truth is very different. If we always suspect the worst, there is a danger we will start to see a world which reflects our pre-conceived fears and beliefs.

A doubtful and suspicious mind
Must carry a very heavy load
On a very long journey.

Sri Chinmoy, No unreachable goal

When our default mode is suspicion and cynicism, we can never cultivate real happiness, because of the cloud of negative which hangs over us.

If we are suspicious, we will also alienate other people and, in turn, make people suspicious of our own motives.


The alternative to a suspicious mind

If we live in the heart, we will try and see the good in other people. We will see others’ failings as only part of their being and not what they are striving to be.

Be kind, be all sympathy,
For each and every human being
Is forced to fight against himself.

– Sri Chinmoy, AP 12871

The best way to overcome a suspicious mind is to remember that although imperfection is all around, people are generally trying to do the right thing from their perspective.

If we are kind and sympathetic, we strengthen their good qualities and bring it to the fore. If we suspect the worse, we will make others defensive, even confrontational, and it can become self-fulfilling.

Real Problems

By nature I am an optimist, I like to see the good in people, and assume people will have a similar outlook on life.

The problem is that in life, even with the best will in the world, we will often be disappointed by what occurs.

Rejecting a suspicious mind, doesn’t mean we ignore imperfection. We try to see the truth without any lens of a pre-conceived filter. Our default mode is to look for the good. But, if we see darkness, we don’t try to pretend it is something other than it is.

An example is the world of cycling

When I started watching cycling in the mid 1990s, I admired those pro cyclists who used to fly up the mountains. Yet, these heroes were later proved to be doping, cheating and lying on a vast scale. This is the reality and it was very disappointing. I don’t care who wins a cycling race as long as they cycle clean.

I always knew doping was wrong, but I now learnt the terrible legacy of long-lasting doping by top cyclists – it has made people much more cynical and suspicious. There are definite grounds for being cautious and making sure people don’t take drugs. But, there is also a danger of swinging too far to the other extreme and take a lazy world view that everyone must be doping, because it happened in the past.

As a cyclist, I have thought quite a bit about this.

There is a long article here on doping, truth and cycling.

I don’t put any cyclist on a pedestal, I will always support those cyclists who I feel are riding clean. But, at the end of day, I do suspend judgement and assumption until evidence points the other way. If I am proved wrong in 10 years time, I have not lost anything. But, if I start from a default position of suspicion and cynicism I have lost a lot. I am not responsible for what other cyclists do, but I am responsible for what goes through my mind. It also helps if you participate in sport for your own sense of achievement and self-transcendence and not solely for the competition of beating other people.

What to focus on?

We could argue that the present world gives grounds for suspicion, cynicism and negativity, but what do we gain from focusing on that?

There is a danger we can allow our mind to be dominated by how bad we think other people are – we get a bit of self-righteous indignation at how bad the world is. But, by doing this, we are contributing nothing to creating a better world. If we want to change the world for the better, we have to change our own mind – look for the good in the world and do something inspirational ourself.

A suspicious mind
Is its own punishment.
An auspicious heart
Is its own reward.
A strangling vital
Is its own punishment.
A serving body
Is its own reward.

Sri Chinmoy, FF #2,560

The world is definitely not short of critics, but the world is short of people who will endeavour to make a really positive contribution to the world. Letting go of a suspicious mind, will lift a dark cloud from our mind and help us to cultivate happiness.