How to Avoid Letting the Answers Stop You in Your Tracks

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“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

Rainer Maria Rilke

Burning deep within us are questions, of some we are aware, of some we are not. Life itself is an enduring question, raveling out into the universe, knitting to itself expansions and varieties of the living and robust question. What we’ve been taught is that there are answers to be had. But there’s something in forming an answer that is unfulfilling, because it is always limited. When do crocuses bloom? In the early spring. We now have one piece of information that takes us nowhere. What is H2O? Water. One more fact that answers a test question. Then… the questions die, snipped off before they have had a chance really to live.

What is true is that if our questions die, so do we. For this internal yearning, this attaching ourselves to the lives of our deepest questioning, is what gives us vitality. As the question grows and matures an urgency arises, a demand that the question itself teaches us the answer. What other flowers bloom in the spring?

This nurturing of the question leads us to a certain trust, in ourselves and in nature. The question draws us to a ramped up awareness, an increased sensitivity, and we watch as daffodils, then tulips, followed by irises display their glory in their own season. What about crysanthemums? When do they bloom? And what about trees, and the night skies, and lakes and oceans, and the creatures of the earth, and the human body? What are their cycles? How do they all fit into the whole of nature?

One question… winding its way from brain to heart and back again, lighting up inner desire, creating a yearning, expanding our perceptions and by its very existence providing the deepest answers. What if we stopped at “in early spring?” How bereft we would be.

The essence of our beings is desire. A lack reveals itself and we have an immediate desire to fill it. I’m hungry, so I eat, I’m tired, so I sleep, and so on. And what is that desire but a question? What do I need to do in life to satisfy my basic needs? And this constant query takes us back to nature and its exquisite abundance. The holding of the question, chasing it wherever it goes, takes us to a higher place, a space above our animal needs, to one of awe and gratitude for beauty and balance and life itself. We discover that we have “gradually, without noticing it, live[d] along some distant day into the answer.”

We find ourselves sickened and horrified at the state of the world and the prevailing question within humanity is: How do we fix it? But consider this. What if the chaos that is descending upon us is not there so we can fix it, but is there so that we may ask the right question, one that will elevate us to a place above the global din, from where we can endlessly follow its lead and find ourselves again?

I’ve thought a lot about this. I look around me and I know what I don’t want. So what emerged out of my observations of the workings of the fourth level of the development of nature — the human species — is: What do I want for me and for all of humanity?

The chase has lasted for decades and has taken me to a source on this planet where I am, with others who have the same question, learning how to reach that upper space out of which truth and solutions and healing actions emerge. It is an awakening, an illumination, six decades in the making, simply by holding onto the tail of one relentless question.

What is your question?

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