“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 one of my (many!) intense phases of deep transformation and was faced with some big questions.
A friend advised me to “live the questions” rather than wrestle with all the different possible scenarios to 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.
Leaning In to Not Knowing
It was just the nudge I needed to let go of the search and surrender to the reality I found myself in at the time.
My process of enquiry led me to lean in to the not-knowing rather than struggle to force a resolution that would have come from my head rather than my heart.
I set the intention to remain open to clarity arising from deep within me and focused on creating the right conditions by immersing myself in simply being with the questions.
Living More Skilfully
This led me to play with a mix of meditation, journaling, walking, paying attention to my dreams, remaining alert to reading the signs of the world, and more.
Sure enough, in what undoubtedly was perfect timing, solutions eventually surfaced and I gradually found my way into the answers.
I learnt from that experience just how valuable it is to “live the questions” in a way that works for me to create more authentically and live more skilfully in all areas of my life.
Array of Unknowns
Since then I’ve regularly drawn on this vital component of the conscious approach to creativity, writing and living that I’m now so deeply engaged with as a practitioner, mentor and teacher.
Today, as I begin the process of creating yet another new project that feels especially significant, I’m facing the usual array of unknowns as I stretch beyond my existing experience.
I’m following my intuition and remaining in trust that “living the questions” as part of my regular conscious and creative practice will provide the answers along the way.
I’ll keep you posted, and we shall see!
Where do you need to “live the questions” in relation to your creative projects at the moment? Please share your comments or ask a question below. Thank you!