“Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language.”
“Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them.
“And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke (1825-1926) in Letters to a Young Poet (pub. 1934)
In times of marked uncertainty, change, and transformation, it’s wise counsel that tells us to learn to love the questions, or to live into the questions, lest we find ourselves bound tight by fear and a slew of unhelpful statements (which also — honest fact — put a serious cramp in our more creative, intuitive thinking channels!).
Being patient, well that’s a different matter altogether!
But inquiry? We can have some fun with that, and who knows: it might even help strengthen those patience-muscles.
I’ve written about the power of questions and transformative inquiry many times over the years, both on Ivy Sea Online and here at Sophia’s Children.
For many years, I’ve used inquiry and questions with clients, including a long stretch when I specialized in difficult, high-conflict communication scenarios and large-scale change projects.
I’ve also practiced deeply with it myself, because it really does make a difference and open things up when they’ve become too narrow or fundamentalist.
In fact, there’s a little personal joke that my first word was a question (why? followed by why not?).
Even so, I’m always grateful for the reminder, because I often need the reminder — it’s super-easy in shaken-and-stirred times to fall back into the tiny boxes of definitive statements ending with a period, and there are times when I do that as easily as anyone.
It makes sense.
Going through life (and certainly facing challenges) with only the period at the end of a bunch of statements is more than just limiting — it has the potential to be strait-jacketing, creativity crushing, and soul-killing (not to mention the source of a whole lot of avoidable conflict!).
Changing some (or more than a few) of those periods to question marks is like magic, though, in that it opens things up, stirs creative and intuitive thinking, creates spaciousness, and invites new possibility.
I was going to go into the shocking statistics I came across recently, linked to marked rises in anxiety, depression, pharma use, and suicide, along with recent perspectives I came across about the disillusionment of many in our culture, but that deserves its own post.
It’s linked, though, in my mind, to the power of inquiry, and definitely linked with the need to reclaim crucial lost ancestral wisdom and refresh our spiritual practices.
Inquiry, questions, living into the question, creates an instant, if not always comfortable, shift … it’s like a key that opens the perceptual prison, or a force that dissolves those pigeon-hole walls.
As Rilke advised the young poet, and each of us, in the face of uncertainty or hopelessness, even, ask the questions.
Learn to love the questions. Live into the questions.
Because it’s better any minute of any day than closing ourselves off into a deadening box, burying ourselves alive with assumptions and stale statements.
There’s an art to the power of asking good questions, but that makes sense, doesn’t it?
After all, “Why is this happening to me?” is very different from (and a lot less empowering than) “What else might be possible here?”
What other questions might really open things up and even invite fresh perspective, or even what seems magic or miracle?
To further stir the Spirit of Inquiry:
Follow your intuition and click through to read:
• The Question Holds the Lantern,
• See a few sample questions in Home and the Radar of Your Heart, or
• Explore living into the experiment of Holy, Crazy Grace or
• Embracing Uncertainty and the Spirit of Creative Adventure.
Coaching & Consultation for Personalized Progress:
If you prefer more tailored, relevant-to-you counsel from a transformative inquiry dialogue partner and believing mirror ally, schedule a coaching series or consultation – you’ll find current special offerings here:
Current special offers for Coaching, Consultations, Readings & More.
Who knows what creative responses, unexpected ideas, and new possibilities might be just behind the next question?
Big Love and Insight-Rich Inquiry,
March 6, 2015 at 5:19 pm
great post Jamie
We moon in Gems love love love our questions and my favorite one is Why?
I found a new question from Cynthia Sue Lawson of Reality Shifters blog that I love to try on for size. How good can it get? I find this inquiry can dismantle stale thinking and old tapes and bring me to a new awareness.
Yet this winter has been troubling for me. Still posts from friends like you do make a difference.
March 6, 2015 at 6:00 pm
Hey there, Linda. It’s been a wild Winter, for sure, with even wilder energy dynamics from far and wide. No doubt something that those of us who are sensitive to the subtle energies pick up in spades. I wish you well, and am glad the posts and conversations with WordPress sisters (or siblings) have been a help (I feel the same way). Yes, the ‘how good can it get’ question is quite an invitation; I recognize that one from those doing the ‘access consciousness’ and related work. Inquiry really can help gently dismantle stale thinking and old tapes, and open the door to new possibility … even if it’s not yet clear what it is! Lots of Love, Jamie
March 6, 2015 at 6:06 pm
can you tell me about access consciousness?
BTW, I really think I was led to blog here at WP to meet my people as I go through a tricky, slippery metamorphosis. I am so much better at facilitating the healing of others. Me, not so much 🙂 Love, Linda
March 6, 2015 at 6:17 pm
Hey there, Linda. It does seem easier (and sometimes more effective, too) when we’re facilitating healing, etc. for others. I know that’s why I appreciate my mentors and kindreds and believing mirrors so much, too! You can google access consciousness and you’ll see lots of links; I’m only familiar with it second-hand, though the questions are familiar from other types of inquiry work. xoxo Love, Jamie
March 6, 2015 at 5:45 pm
I too love the questions, Jamie. Sometimes TOO MUCH.
It is then I need to sit in quiet stillness and simply KNOW
and LOVE the MYSTERY that is beyond all knowing.
Love to you ~ Anna Lin
March 6, 2015 at 5:56 pm
Thanks, Anna Lin. Yes, too many questions sometimes, but that’s when the artistry and quality of the question helps. And sitting in the stillness allows us to discern the guidance and flow with the Mystery. That’s how I see Rilke’s advice, actually – living into the question IS living into the Mystery. Blessings, Jamie
March 6, 2015 at 6:38 pm
Great post, for it reminds us that pushing, shoving and fretting about answers only drives us farther away from them.
March 6, 2015 at 7:06 pm
That’s about the size of it, Malcolm. Well-summarized! (I know I’ve learned that the hard way about the pushing, shoving and fretting thing; it doesn’t yield ‘quality intel’ and it can actually be repelling the insight or intuitive guidance). Thanks for visiting. ~ Jamie
March 7, 2015 at 4:17 am
hi my Trinity,
(that’s you and luna and baby)
a wo/man without faith/spirituality is like a compass without a needle. a lot of pointless direction going on. that leads to the anxiety, pills, malaise, depression, and suicide as an extreme.
spiritual faith allows us to question our surroundings without dismissing them…. to enjoy the question and to live it, as well as ask it.
thanks for sharing your words of wisdom. and your uplifting art pics.
o and om.
March 7, 2015 at 2:34 pm
Thank you, Dynamic Duo. 😉 It’s so true, O and Om; I feel this way as well when I look out and see the discord and, as you said, the spinning needles on the compasses and the resulting angst, pills, malaise and so on. It tweaks the heart strings to be sure, and likely is an underlying purpose for sharing as we do … putting the words and wisdom and beautiful imagery ‘out there’ for passersby. xoxo O and Om. Always a pleasure when you stop by. 🙂 Jamie, L and B.C.
March 7, 2015 at 2:41 pm
I think many of us have been going through these changes recently.. I know I for one have been led yet again to look within and question my own state of BEing. and look deeper at the answers which come back.
I often would be saying upon my own posts Jamie, believe not one word I say, but seek your own truth, and go and find out your own answers… But first we must also know what Questions need asking.. 🙂
Loved your post, and it resonated greatly with me as I find yet more Questions that I need to answer.. 🙂
One thing I know Jamie, that we are often guided by meeting like-minded souls who share their inner journey .. Knowing we are not alone with our questions, and finding answers together, shows me we are all parts of our Hologramic selves as we mirror each other, as we find our missing pieces ..
Many thanks for your post, I enjoyed reading and learning.
Love <3 Sue
March 7, 2015 at 4:09 pm
Thank you, Sue. Once again, true enough … our words come through us and may point the way (like the finger pointing at the moon, but not BEING the moon) to guide and inspire and encourage ourselves as well as others. It’s lovely to think that we each have pieces of that shattered mirror and, in connecting, are restoring the mirror of wisdom as well. May it be so. 🙂 Thanks again for visiting; always a pleasure. Love, Jamie
March 7, 2015 at 4:13 pm
It was a pleasure to visit.. and catch up a little.. Your writing inspires and comes deep from within, and I am pleased we connected .. Love and Blessings sent your way x.. Sue
March 7, 2015 at 4:40 pm
Thank you, Sue. I’m glad you feel that way. And I’m truly happy we’ve connected via the blog-o-sphere. It’s always such a blessing to connect with kindred-spirit sisters and share the inspiration! Good juju to you. xoxo Love, Jamie
March 11, 2015 at 2:42 am
Reblogged this on Laura Bruno's Blog and commented:
Excellent reminders! Thanks, Jamie 🙂