Or maybe you’re not clear about the questions you need to ask.
And maybe you don’t really want to hear the answer!
Perhaps hearing the truth about an issue, or how someone feels, and their view of life might upset your apple cart, the way you have arranged things in your world.
It has been said, “If you don’t want to know the answer, don’t ask the question.”
Is this wise? How often have we bought into something without getting enough information and then had to deal with the consequences of betrayal and loss?
Those who suffer less in this world seem to be the ones who ask the most pertinent questions, thus getting lots of information before making decisions.
They question for clarification, not to try to “best” someone, and learn to do so in tactful ways without blame or shame.
They investigate kindly, with an attitude of lovingkindness.
As I reflect on the times I’ve gone away from a conversation without getting enough information, I realize I’ve valued the other person’s approval above my own. I just wanted to feel safe.
I certainly didn’t want them to think I didn’t trust them. So I often asked a few perfunctory questions, and then accepted or rejected what they had to offer.
That way I didn’t rock the boat. Only my own—as I had to live with the results.
Through these reflections I discovered the degree of my addiction to the approval of others.
Addictions are not easy to explore. They are humbling to admit to, but since they are the cause of much suffering they need lots of investigation.
I avoided the hard questions in the hopes of avoiding the pain of embarrassment. I didn’t want unpleasantness so pushed it away, striving to acquiesce when at all possible.
What followed was rebellion when I found I didn’t agree, which really muddied the waters.
That blew the illusion of what a really “nice person” I was!
Wanting a certain outcome I discovered how hard I could push for it, while ignoring my underlying motives.
I was under the seductive sway of the “wanting mind.”
There is such a tendency when we really want something to refuse to see any downside of whatever it is we desire. We see only the good.
And conversely, when something appears unpleasant we only see the problems. When we don’t like someone we look for all the flaws, ignoring any good qualities.
There is a strong tendency to ignore what we don’t want to see.
But actually the upside and the downsides are always present in everything, in all of us, and need to be looked into.
When I get very excited over something I now realize this, too, is a red flag.
Feeling the fire of excitement, I now stop, pause and begin to investigate by asking the hard questions before leaping.
How much wanting do I have about this “thing?” How much am I really pushing for it? If so, I am blind to the many possible outcomes.
Thus my decision won’t be as beneficial as I would like.
I ask: What are my feelings right now? What is happening in my body? Is there agitation?
What will this “thing” bring me that I don’t already have?
What is missing in my life right now?
How will this “thing” bring me bliss?
The wanting mind blinds us. It tells us how much we need whatever it is and hides our real motives.
Also investigation is needed when we find ourselves trying to push something away from our experience and want nothing to do with it. “No, this mustn’t happen. Can’t be allowed. It would be awful.”
We need to investigate to find what is beneath the push for or against anything. Going deeply we will usually find fear lurking, disguised as logical, rational thinking. Acting from fear causes suffering.
We need to take time to ask the hard questions and digest the answers before we will be able to act in a way that brings harmony and love into the circumstance.
Listening to opposing voices and patiently hearing them out can produce amazing results! When the warring sides listen to each other the communication allows harmony and joy to emerge.
Bringing opposites together under the right conditions brings forth something new that is truly delightful.
So, let’s stop being so polite to our “wanting mind” that pulls us towards something and says we must have it and won’t be happy until we get it.
Or to our “aversive mind” that tries to push something away.
Some pertinent questions are:
How will I be if I never receive this, or if this event never occurs? How will I live? What will become of me?
As we ask the questions, it’s important to wait on the answers.
Underneath it all we will find a small, frightened child inside that simply needs our love. Our love is enough. Just being with this child, holding her or him, and gently rocking, soothing this child with our kind words and open hearts will bring the comfort and serenity we have been seeking.
When we actively love the vulnerability and seeming weaknesses within ourselves we will discover we haven’t been abandoned, which is probably our greatest fear.
As we quietly sit with this child, we will feel gratitude, for no one likes to be ignored or left out. This gives us the courage to keep on.
After patiently giving and receiving this soft, gentle love we will find answers unfolding over time. A new world opens!