“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue.
Do not now 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
In my early 30s I went through an intense phase of deep transformation and was faced with some big questions.
A friend advised me to “live the questions” rather than struggle with all the different possibilities to try and work out the answers.
It led me to Rilke’s classic book, Letters to a Young Poet, and his much-loved quote as the source of this timeless advice.
Lean in to Not Knowing
It was just the nudge I needed to let go of the search and surrender to the reality I was facing at the time.
My process of inquiry led me to lean in to not knowing rather than wrestle to force a resolution that would have come from my head instead of my heart.
I set the intention to remain open to clarity arising from deep within me and focused on creating the right conditions for that to occur by simply being with the questions without attachment to specific outcomes.
Delightfully Surprising Pointers
This led me to play with a mix of meditation, journaling, conscious movement (yoga, walking and dance), paying attention to my dreams and remaining alert to reading the signs of the world.
Sure enough, in what undoubtedly was perfect timing, solutions eventually surfaced and answers that were in alignment with my soul became crystal clear.
I realized just how valuable it is to “live the questions” as a way to discover delightfully surprising pointers that might never have become apparent otherwise.
Honour Your Highest Values
Since then I’ve regularly drawn on this vital component of a conscious approach to writing, living and leadership as it continues to serve me – and those I coach and mentor – extremely well.
Today I’m at ease when facing the usual array of unknowns that are an inevitable part of stretching beyond the boundaries of all that is familiar to explore the full potential of all that lies beyond.
With the magnitude of change that’s occuring both individually and collectively at the moment, “living the questions” is a deceptively powerful way to remain in integrity with true nature and honour your highest values going forwards.
Where are you needing to “live the questions” in your life right now?