The Power of Questioning

December 5, 2016

I love questions.  Questions stir me to open to what I think I know and to fling open the imaginal realm in which new ways to respond make themselves known.  These possibilities become the catalyst for more expansive thinking and trigger new questions of my own.  Questions cause delightful cascading chain reactions that open entirely new perspectives.  Answers, at least in some circumstances, dam up the flow, so I remain in the question and stay in curiosity whenever I can.

Joanna Macy recently asked, “How can I be honest and not add to fear?”  That’s such a great question.  My response ricocheted in many directions as I tried to wrap myself around the ramifications of the question.  After much contemplation, I don’t think that’s possible. Any effort to protect others from their reaction to honest communication devalues them.  I believe we are not called to shelter them from what frightens them but instead to assure them that they are powerful beyond measure.  Encourage them to access that power and simultaneously guide how that power is expressed.  It’s important to gently dissolve myths about security that they have embraced, and support them in realizing that the power needed to deal with whatever comes their way is already imbued in them, waiting to be accessed.  As Helen Keller said, “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.”

Almost any conversation of late stirs confusion which tends to add to fear.  Fear is feeding fear.  There is more than enough fuel for those fears and television commentators are attracting guests that perpetuate and amplify fear.  The “unknownness” of the moment to moment changes in our government are leaving many people feeling insecure.  The down side of the wonderful world of questions is: left without answers, people make up stories to fill in the gaps.  If the story maker is feeling secure, those stories probably have happy endings.  If the story maker is in fear, the stories can be dire and literally dread-filled which in turn generates more fears, more stories, more worries and even panic.  An unfortunate synergism can result among coworkers, colleagues, friends and family each feeding off of one another’s anxieties.  Chaos, complete disorder and confusion, reveals a shared sense of foreboding.  Left in the swirl of human emotions, this sequence will auger its way deeper and deeper, energized by its own negativity.  Conversations about, “what’s the scariest thing you’ve heard today?” result in awfulizing – a sort of “one downs-man-ship.” So  how might the power of question be used here to change the direction of these conversations?

Change for many is unsettling, for some chaotic.  The threat of change is insidious and destabilizing, causing even greater stress, reactivity and emotional outbursts.  Such reactivity is detrimental to physical and emotional wellbeing and definitely hazardous to all relationships.  When that relationship is with you, can you muster the strength and presence to simply be with the person who has hit the slippery slopes of emotional chaos?  Can you use the power of question to challenge yourself to stay in compassion rather than judgment?

Change happens – it’s all around us.  We can let our emotional response to change hold us hostage, control us and cause us to be constantly stressed out,  OR we can remember that we are the ones that control us, actually we are the only ones that can control us – even when it appears that circumstances are controlling us, it is we who have given the circumstances the power to do so.  What if, we chose to slow down and ask, “How am I to be … what is mine to do here?”  … and then listened, really listened, to the guidance of Spirit!  What if you committed to follow the guidance even though it might not be the most comfortable thing you ever stepped up to?

Chaos evolves, never devolves, so the spiritual force within chaos always rises to a new and better normal.  All the great shifts in history have been preceded by periods of chaos.  It is that chaotic energy that scrambles everything so that it can resolve to a greater yet to be.

Humans are naturally curious and intuitively seek peace and harmony.  They innately care for one another.  These are characteristics of our divine essence.  When these traits come together, our souls protest and declare we are more than the swirl, we are more than the downward spiral.  Suddenly the seemingly fractured chaotic energy coalesces and births something greater than has ever been experienced before.  This “spirit force” continuously feeds, nourishes and strengthens our resolve to seek and reach a better, more expansive expression of ourselves.  Our curiosity and desire for harmony and peace pulls us forward to meet all circumstances to serve the common good.  Our compassion and joy blossom.  Gratitude arises.  We remember we are in this life form as activities of the Divine as Love.  We have within us all that is needed to transform all current circumstances.  Spirit is calling us to together, to collaborate and cooperate.  All the swirl that is going on around us is a call to action … a call to “spiritual engagement” with all on behalf of ALL.  Nothing is beyond us!


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