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DON’T SEARCH FOR THE ANSWERS

 

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, 1903 in Letters to a Young Poet

What one thing can you do today that will significantly change your life for the better?

Yes, that’s a question!

And the power of questions is what I’m sharing with you today.

Often, when we embark on a course of development, we become aware of how much there is to do. We focus on the shifts we want to make – eating healthier, exercising more, meditation, a new practice like yoga or a martial art, or learning a new skill, sitting with a teacher, deeper reading, etc. etc. And yes, it can be overwhelming.

When my clients bring their overwhelm to me, an effective antidote to their sense of discouragement, even despair, is to ask them to live into a question.

As Rilke eloquently points out in the quote above, living the questions – loving the questions, gradually brings us into the answers.

So what kind of questions am I talking about?

Try these on to see if any fit:

What is life calling me to do?
How is what I’m doing bringing me into alignment with who I am?
What is my heart yearning for?
What is my contribution to make?
What would deeper connection in my life look like?
What keeps me from being true to myself?
What does my soul long for?
If I knew I couldn’t fail, what would I be doing now?
(Add your own)

Pick a question for the next month.

Live into the question this way:

Part One: Begin a journal with that question at the top. Come back to that journal every day for 28 days. Allow yourself to doodle, jot down a sentence or two, sketch, tear out a relevant piece from a magazine. Perhaps include a quotation or poem that speaks to your question. Capture the title of a film or TV show that concerns your question and comment upon it. (Do this either every evening or every morning to begin the day.) Capture in your journal whatever is showing up around your question. Don’t judge it or force it into a frame. Just capture it. Allow, allow, allow.

Part Two: Write your question where you’ll bump into it several times a day – perhaps on a sticky attached to your computer and on a 3X5 in your sock drawer; on a slip of paper in your wallet or attached to your medicine cabinet. Each time you encounter the question, pause a moment, take a full breath and exhale slowly…then go on about whatever you are doing.

At the end of the month, read over what you’ve captured. Answer these questions:

What is emerging?
What thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations arise as you look over your journal?
What are you seeing, learning, noticing by living into this question?

The practice of living into a question is powerful and revealing. Don’t beat yourself up about “not having answers.” Sometimes, having the right question is far more transformative.

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