Obstacles in Meditation: Dealing with Skepticism and Criticism

There is so much of negativity in the world, we all have experienced this. And if you are a creative individual or someone chasing a dream which doesn’t resonate with the society and its norms, perhaps a spiritual seeker, at times it becomes extremely annoying and difficult to endure the words people spat in an unqualified, critical and sceptical conversation. Yet one can easily shut down one’s doors, windows and ears on the faces of such energy vampires. However, criticism and scepticism penetrates deep and in almost an unhealable fashion when it comes unjustified and unexamined from someone you love and care about. When it comes in this manner it gets me worried, thinking: How does one deal with it? How does one come out of it?

Scepticism is a residual of animality in man, an evolutionary side effect. Once a survival instinct is now an overfed feeling. Yet there is a way to deal with scepticism and it is by working hard and having faith. But the key here is not to ignore scepticism because sometimes the treats might be real and when taken in a positive manner could save one from making grave mistakes. However there is no need to allow the threats to induce any fear because fear is extremely rubbish and unreal, it is just a habitual response to any threat, which just like any other habit could be changed through proper knowledge and culturing of mind.

The secret to dealing with scepticism is to have faith and working on one’s goals with persistence and integrity, to nurture it like a baby flame hoping that it will soon be a torch which shall illuminate the path and doing things based on what you want rather than what you expect because many times mind will play games it will make you feel that what you’re working on it too improbable, impossible rather but if one keeps moving despite all the opposition on has some chance.

“In the Yoga as in life it is the man who persists unwearied to the last in the face of every defeat and disillusionment and of all confronting, hostile and contradicting events and powers who conquers in the end and finds his faith justified because to the soul and Shakti in man nothing is impossible. And even a blind and ignorant faith is a better possession than the sceptical doubt which turns its back on our spiritual possibilities or the constant carping of the narrow pettily critical uncreative intellect, asuya, which pursues our endeavour with a paralysing incertitude. The seeker of the (integral) Yoga must however conquer both these imperfections.”

– The Synthesis of Yoga, Part IV, Chapter XVIII, Faith and Shakti, Sri Aurobindo

Steve Jobs shares some amazing wisdom on this topic in his 2005 commencement address at Stanford.

Steve Jobs’ Commencement address (2005)

Criticism somehow has always some truth hidden in it and that’s why it hurts, like for real. However the embedment of truth in criticism is not complete and all-encompassing in essence, rather it is a crooked version of some partial truth, so moulded intentionally to hurt someone or something. So why should one bother about such crooked representation of truth anyway whether coming from an insider or an outsider? The fact that we are listening to criticism is a shred of evidence that our awareness is scattered and allowed to be focused on others opinions than staying completely absorbed in the work or dream which truly deserves it and truly matters to us.

As far as loved ones are considered one should focus not on the toxicity of the criticism but on the love and attachment out of which it emerges when we do that where do we see any negativity in love. The family should be given time to embrace the craziness of one’s nature and weirdness on one’s dreams. The whole point of the post is, why should one focus the time and energy responding to the calls of negativity that drains the energy and pulls us down. Rather one should try to stay focused on something productive, calm or amusing. Life is too short for worrying and entertaining negativity.

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