Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves… Do not seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke, from Letters to a Young Poet
Kim Gorman, fellow blogger at Midlife Awakenings, reminded me of this quote in her blog post. It is a very timely quote. Thank you, Kim.
Much of my life I have not been a patient person . . . with myself that is. With others, I have endless patience. Raised with a typical Western mindset, I believed that if I was suffering, then I was doing something wrong. The fix then is figure out what I am doing wrong and change it! Easy peasy.
After five decades of employing this method with only a modicum of results, I encountered a challenge that was too big for such a fruitless approach. Allowing time to assist me in healing my wounds was not something I understood until I had no other choice.
The longer I lived and the more unanswered questions piled up the weightier my world became. Rilke’s wise words hold a valuable reminder for those of us still learning to let go of the need to know why things happen as they do. We will drive ourselves crazy trying to find all of the answers.
Instead, love the questions. Embrace the uncertainty. Go with the flow of life. Allow life to unfold in a natural progression. This is not indifference, or laissez-faire. In fact it’s the opposite. It’s an active questioning and allowing each question to unfold one after the other. The answers we need to know will unfold naturally in this way.
The difficulty in making this a part of our life, is not in the difficulty of the process itself, but in the strength of our resistance to it. Once, however, we are get a taste of the freedom and energy this change in our mindset creates, it becomes easier to do. In fact, it is the most natural thing in the world and the way we were created.
Asking questions is second nature to me. As I let go of the need to pass the test, or have the answer to every question, a quiet joy arises and the world opens up exactly as it should.