Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart. Don’t search for the answers. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer. ~ Rilke
All of this started with a question. It’s amazing to me to think of a question as a starting point, given how much unknown is inherent in just asking a question honestly. It seems we often think of answers as the actual starting point, but in my experience they are the result and expression of inquiry deeply lived and embodied.
For over a decade now I have passionately pursued so many questions, some of which I did not even consciously know I was asking – spiritual, existential, emotional, relational, vocational. I have spent a large portion of my life meditating, studying contemplative teachings, diving into my shadows and demons, remembering love, falling in and out of love, and struggling to find my place in life.
Who am I? Perhaps this single question underlies all questions. If I have done anything consistently in my life, it is ask this question and struggle with it. And for years I have pursued and explored ways in which I might be of service to others, to help them explore, feel, and live these questions with courage, heart, and earnest devotion. The difficulty I experienced in this pursuit was not knowing what that would look like and how it would feel in harmony with my experience. I did not want to pursue some form of service simply to do it, nor did I want to create something out of thin air to give me a false sense stability and importance.
As it happens, one day earlier this year, in a conversation with my close friend, Vince Horn, I found myself living into an answer: it is the questions themselves that is the path of service because it is our path in life. And it was my own process and the answer that pointed back to itself. It was shocking, but in a good way (which is how I often feel in discovering deep answers). I had simply held to the question, much like a inexperienced person rides a bucking bronco, long enough to find my way into an answer that felt uncontrived, authentic, and meaningful. And it is from this space that I am now offering spiritual guidance and consulting. There are still many questions I hold about life and this process, but I will continue to sit and dance with them, perhaps with you.
I don’t create my own reality. It creates itself through me (and us).
This is such an important distinction and it points to something deeper in what it means to “live the questions” of our lives. It’s not that, because we live questions, we are therefore passive in life, simply waiting for something to happen – we are equally a participant in this great mystery of life, it’s just that we are not in full control, no where near it. The mystery beckons us from within, from without, through all directions, asking us questions. We are these questions, yet we can and do discover answers, and as Rilke says we live our way into the answer, usually not even knowing it until it’s already present. This points to the wisdom of reality living through us and our own innate wisdom that comes through our experience, showing itself like the sun rising in the morning on its own accord. We can neither force answers to come into being nor idly sit by waiting for them to appear. This is the amazing challenge of life that bears so much heartache and beauty. We have no choice but to let it all unfold in its own time. Whether or not we consciously engage everything unresolved in our hearts and lives, we’re living with these mysteries everyday. We can choose to be present with everything, whether it’s deep spiritual questions or what to do in our career.
In sitting with these unresolved questions, becoming comfortable with them, and yes, often wrestling and fighting with them, we discover ever subtler insights and nuances about the question and life itself. It is in these unresolved moments that wisdom is born. And it is through the resolution to these questions and the resolve to act that wisdom takes form. As our action meets the unrelenting, ever-changing nature of reality, inevitably even more questions arise in our hearts. And so the mystery of life continues…
To what end? Where is this mystery going? I have no idea. I’m just sitting with this, feeling all the happiness, sadness, turmoil, confusion, and beauty that swims in me, feeling the world feeling me…