Powerful Questions

We live in a world of ready answers. Quick fixes. Immediate solutions. Left brain knowledge of a particular sort. Despite all of this, too many of us do not seem to be doing so well. What if this was because we are looking at it all the wrong way? What if it is not the answers to be sought after, but the questions?

Given how many of us currently live in a conditioned, answer-oriented way, this would be a brave choice to ponder. A bold stroke to choose to pause, to not immediately know. A radical act to live by more questions than answers. And yet, what if cultivating the practice of crafting meaningful questions was at its core life-changing? Powerful. Informative. Healing. What if learning to ask more questions would be the very thing that would help us to not only find solutions, but to frame the larger and most essential issues of our lives in more all-encompassing and effective ways?

I once heard someone say that to wonder about something gives rise to the voice of the soul. Can you imagine? Can you imagine sourcing something truly all-knowing when attempting to solve the dilemmas of your life? If so, what could you specifically wonder about in your own life? What could you wonder about for the life of the world? What could you stop trying to pound out an answer to, and instead, hold a well-placed question to?

Try this. Locate some issue you are struggling with. Something that seems to defy an “answer.” Something you have been working very hard at that just seems to yield no satisfactory solution. Despite your best efforts. Despite even lots of outside help.

For instance, instead of hammering away at that entrenched physical issue, trying to run down the answer, could you ask, ” What is it that my body most needs right now to heal?” Or how about for that “fork in the road issue,” asking “What is it I most need to know at this time to choose wisely?” And for a relationship issue, how about, “What is mine to do/not do here?”

Ask a question, and then, let it go. Drop it. Take the intensity of solving for the answer out of it. Instead, whenever the issue in mind presents, wonder to yourself about it through your question, and then let the whole thing float away as easily as a helium balloon gleefully released from a child’s hand. No need to figure anything out.

Learning to let go like this does take effort. But it is a different kind of effort than most of us are used to. Instead of a pushing and a tense striving, this approach is more of an effortless one; once you get the hang of it. A kind of letting the answer find you instead of working to make it happen. This might not initially feel good to that overachieving part of the mind that will say you aren’t doing enough. It might even feel as though you have given up, or entrusted your life to the wrong things. And that if you aren’t the one in charge, who will be for god’s sake?

And that is exactly the point. If your long-term efforts at finding the answers have not gotten you to where you most long to be, is that not information enough? Is that not feedback enough that perhaps another way might prove more fruitful? That this is not a matter, as the rational mind might say, of just needing to find the “correct” information. Perhaps it is time to entertain the knowing that maybe your efforting has been on the wrong end of the equation. Perhaps your efforts would be better served in learning to surrender, have patience, and practice trust. Which by the way are all very, very significant and meaningful qualities to develop while one waits for an answer.