Questioning. The word carries “quest” within it.
It is common to speak of our journey as a “Quest” —not an “Ans.”
Questioning (or “questing”) and answering are two opposite modalities.
How often we just want the answer—and quickly—instead of being willing to live in the question.
Einstein has also been quoted as saying it isn’t that he is so smart, but rather that he stays with the problem longer.
How long are we willing to stay in the question, rather than come up with a quick solution to our problem?
In demanding quick solutions we do ourselves a disservice, although it may bring temporary relief.
In one of Rilke’s poems he has said that if we are willing to live our questions we might someday grow into our answers.
Thus the real journey in life is to live in the question.
Growing into the answer takes patience and commitment.
If we continue to ask the same question over and over, getting the same answer, perhaps we need a new question. Maybe we need to be willing—really willing—to give up how we are presently seeing things.
But if we give up our view, what will take its place? Who might we become? Someone who is inconsistent? Can’t make up our mind?
Doubt sets in. Doubt is an attitude of mind, a view of life. It will take us in the direction of doubting where we never find a place on which to stand.
Acknowledging doubt, and questioning what lies under it, leads us into a place out of which wisdom eventually arises.
We begin to see how doubt has been formed, the beliefs that have given it shape. Doubt can no longer function as a habit. Habits must work in the dark. Light destroys habits. Questioning allows the light to enter.
If our question is “Why is this happening to me?” we need to note the attitude of mind that lies under that question. It sounds as if we are thinking of ourselves as a victim.
How has this belief been formed? What thoughts make it up? Are these true? Or were they planted in our mind? Keep questioning their source.
Or is our attitude one of hurry? That perpetual rush that seems to be a part of Western culture.
Noticing what the mind is doing is the first step in changing the direction of our life.
When I notice I am in a hurry, which has been often, rather than continue on with the task, I do my best to stop and ask what this hurry is all about.
I begin to experience an underlying fear that the world is not quite right and I must do something as quickly as possible to try to make things right.
Then I ask myself what is wrong with this moment? “Well, it just isn’t going the way I want it to.” I need to push things around a bit, shape things up.
Is this reasonable? What am I believing?
As I experience these attitudes, I breathe and let the breath gradually calm the mind so that I can continue to investigate further.
I feel the sensations within my body. I note that something inside me is pushing. It has been such a part of my life that I rarely have questioned it. Tension has been my norm.
But is this the way I want to live?
Do I want to live an unexamined life? Or is there a freedom that I have not yet experienced?
“Real wisdom is when you find a true question. When you find it, you should not rush to answer it. Stay with it for a while. Make friends with it.
We live in “instant times”—instant messaging, instant pictures, fast food—and our mind is accustomed to instant gratification.
If we bring this expectation to our spiritual path, however, we’ll be disappointed. Some of our questions can’t be answered right away.
We must be as patient as scientists are when they run their experiments and diligently evaluate and verify their findings.”
Rebel Buddha, on the road to freedom, Dzogchen Ponlop
A Quest is a soul exploration. Souls are tender, precious, deep places within us that only we can enter. Our soul is our uniqueness, our true Beingness which can never be taken from us.
Our Quest deserves all the attention and time we can give it. It is so much more important than our balance sheet, our planner, our portfolio or our “to do” list.
Soul work demands silence and mindfulness. It demands sitting in these difficult places watching and calmly waiting for whatever arises.
And no answer is permanent. Everything is impermanent—even our troubles! Or especially our troubles!
The Quest is the like a river journey, forever flowing, taking us into our next opportunity. All creation is here to help us.
“Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.”
We’ve been taught this as babes, haven’t we? Hidden wisdom sung to us in our cribs. I’ve been told that all cultures have a similar version of this rhyme.
Flowing gently down the stream, trusting the slow process of inquiry, we discover hidden wisdom, new resources.
Let’s flow merrily go down the stream, by letting go and trusting the journey!