Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Living the Questions...

"Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and 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, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer."

Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

In my last entry I spoke of the awareness that seems to come from the ether upon asking a question. It is as if the questions of the heart are silent prayers to an unknown god who reveals what needs to be known in the course of life itself. As I've said before here, I'm treating my life as a sociological experiment, meaning that I have become the observer/scientist. I ask questions, wonder about the answer and when it will appear and in what form, continually open the space in my life for an answer (meaning I clear away the emotional debris that has contributed to my lacking clarity before this point) and then I live my life. And as dear Rilke so wisely stated, "someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer."

For me, the key seems to be suspending any and all beliefs of what you think the answer is. Like any good science experiment, the observer can make a hypothesis but he must not let that sway the course of the experiment nor influence the conclusions he draws. I like letting my life unfold out of the questions of my heart. I like wondering "What will happen next?" I like not knowing where it's all going. I like being surprised.

I think this is what all the great inventors realized. I've read a number of accounts of how the great ideas of history came to people. It was when they'd put the questions to rest and turned to other areas of their life. They left the questions hanging in the ether and went to work, or did dishes or went for a walk or had coffee with a friend...and poof, from somewhere came the answer, the needed clarity. And the world was forever changed. I think this is the magic of life. I think this is the power of questions and the magic of holding a sense of wonder about life and everything in it.

So, be five again. Ask lots of questions. Wonder. Look at the sky and get immersed in the shapes the clouds make. Assume that you know nothing. Start every day, every moment, with a fresh breath and a fresh eye. There is only one life and it is the one living through you right now. And it is wonder-full.

tall penguin


Anonymous said...

Right On Sistah! I had a most profound present moment experience and percieved eternity back in the 1980's while washing dishes!!! And this without the use of
Thanks for the wise reminder as I resist a sink full of dirty dishes right now in what I 'think' is a loftier ambition!

Vanessa said...


"There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle."