What did my face look like before I was born? Do I wake up when I sleep, or do I wake up when I wake up? Is waking really sleeping? Who am I? What does it mean to be here? What if my tears aren’t liquid, but hard, frozen ice with geometrical points, that can cut out the blindness and make me see?
I have a lot of questions, a lot, o answers, just questions. Rumi (the great Persian mystic/poet) speaks about not allowing the lack of an answer to create disparity in you; but rather holding the question, living the question, until one day we live into an answer.
So even the less metaphysical, less grand questions can be asked, like, will I have a family? Will I get married? Will I be able to pay off my student loans? Will the world implode on itself before that time comes? When will I stop trying so hard? How do I wake up without this pit in my stomach? Do I love my body perfectly? What’s the difference between a good cry and a bad cry?
Lately, this is all I do, nothing but asking questions. When the world wants answers, I ask questions. More and more questions. I trust that the answer will come through me, or become me or I will simply continue to ask questions.
In Zen Buddhism there is the Koan: The unanswerable question. Designed to demonstrate the inadequacy of logic, how the struggle, how living inside the unanswerable question is the way to enlightenment. Within these no answer questions the journey become the answer. The conversation becomes far more important and powerful than the answer. In the questions you find yourself unearthing all sorts of things inside of you.
Like, “Is it bad to live without a hell?” – Pablo Neruda, The Book Of Questions
One of my favorite collections of Neruda. An entire book of questions. I think his most vulnerable work. In a world where poetry is the answer to the unexplainable, and he was so damn good at explaining the unexplainable, here he is simply stating all that he can not (yet) explain and simultaneously making room for all he is willing to learn.
When we ask the question we make room inside of us. When we live a life surrounded by answers we constantly close ourselves off, by thinking we can know all things or any thing in a constantly shifting world.
Aude Lord said, my silence will not protect me… What am I keeping silent? What are the words I do not yet have? What questions do I need to ask? My silence will not protect me. Pretending I know the answers and have no questions will not protect me.
Perhaps when we pause to catch our breath, between gulps of sweet poison, between the “knowing” we may glimpse the peril into which we are willfully placing ourselves over and over, and we can choose a wiser course of not knowing, of allowing. We can ask the questions we need to ask and we didn’t even know we were ready to:
What sweet poison do I keep sipping? What (habit, person, place, thing) must I walk away from? Sometimes giving is knowing how to receive, sometimes offering is not giving, who can give me what I already have? Is awakening a sort of currency that passes from hand-to-hand?
Why are we separate? Are we separate? What am I becoming? How do I give myself? How do I listen? What is today’s disguise? What am I pretending to be today? What is my greatest weakness? What’s under my foot? What’s under that? How do I think with my heart and feel with my head? Am I running from or going to? What do I really need? What is it that brings dignity to my life? What allows me to live without regret? What is a way of living where I am no longer hostage to the world of conditions? What is a way of living where my mind is actually a friend rather than something that torments me? What will finally quiet the noise? What comes after death? And will I be ready? Am I ready? Can you have respect and genuine love? What is wanting? What is craving, what is desire? Am I safe? What is my true self? What stories did I tell myself today? Why am I alive? If all of life is medicine, where do I find medicine? How do I want others to remember me? If this was the last day of my life what would I like to do? What do I believe?
What is happening right now?
Let us be and give ourselves over to the only valid response for all these questions: Here. Now. This.
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