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Wisdom in the Questions

driving on a foggy road

Beauty in Driving Blind...

Low visibility can be stressful. When we can't see the landmarks, when light is dim and the way is obscured, what do we use to navigate? In the absence of things we've come to rely on for finding our way, it's easy to collapse into fear or seethe with anger...and it's also possible to develop new ways of navigating. If we can relax our grip on the steering wheel, unclench our jaw, breathe deeply, and become aware of ourselves beyond our fears, there is space for the extraordinary. We may discover exceedingly subtle perceptions to guide us, inviting us to trust and listen to a wisdom that's always here—if we allow ourselves to go beyond the obvious. Poets see life beyond the apparent, which makes many of them, like Rainer Maria Rilke, sages in their time. Over a hundred years ago, Rilke urged a younger poet, “be patient toward all that is unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves.” His encouragement to “live the questions”—to feel and appreciate uncertainty—echoes across a century to counsel us today.

Confronted by the extreme discomfort of all that's unresolved in our world, most of us quickly react or distract, with a hope of finding relief. In doing so, we bypass the lessons life is offering. We simply postpone, or even prolong, the suffering we are trying to escape. Perhaps living into questions is the very reason we are here. Given the enormous distress of these times, much has been said and written lately about hope. This raises the question I've been living for a long while: What is hope? Love in Questioning Hope...

This question arose in me nearly two decades ago, when hope began to feel too small. I witnessed that hope for a particular outcome tends to cultivate a feeling of powerlessness and set us up for a fall, if we don’t get the outcomes we want. The inflationary/deflationary nature of this type of hope—especially in times like these—creates a kind of fatigue that leads to despair. In questioning hope, I’ve come to recognize that beneath the fickle cycle of elation and dejection, of win and lose, and pleasure and pain, there is something constant, ever-present and timeless that feels completely trustworthy. When I am able to connect with this underlying trustworthiness, I feel the presence of Love, and the word ‘Hope’ simply arises to describe it. This deeper quality of Hope is beyond all outcomes, yet it doesn’t prevent me from taking action toward outcomes. In fact, connecting with this Hope lubricates what’s dry or brittle, and expands what feels contracted or tight. From this ‘juicier’ sense of spaciousness, my actions arise more gracefully, without a sense of struggle or push. Hope then is beyond a wish for life to turn out a certain way, it’s a relationship with the essential beauty and goodness of life—throughout its oscillations between health and disease, compassion and cruelty, shine and shadow. Hope is our connection to the Mystery, to the power of Love, which animates every living thing. Perhaps you touch Hope in the stillness of sunrise, the majesty of mountains, the openness of children, the truth of poetry, the playfulness of animals, the abundance of gardens, or even the beauty of tears. You may connect to Hope through the kindness of strangers or by expressing tenderness in your own, estranged heart. Hope arises when we understand that both pain and pleasure are our teachers. Cultivating Hope is not about changing or repressing anything, it’s about experiencing our relationship with everything. Hope is a fundamental respect for life and the questions it brings. While the smaller, cyclical kind of hope leaves us feeling fatigued and overwhelmed, the endless, ever-present quality of Hope is healing salve.

Solace and Wisdom in Circles...

For me, hope is reliably felt in the simplicity of presence—in the natural presence of wild things, and the untamed presence of fellow human beings. In conscious relationship with the natural world and with other people, I don’t feel the stress of ‘driving blind,’ even when the way is unclear. When I step outside the noise of our dominant culture and into a depth of presence, it’s easier to live the questions. In so doing, my life becomes a living answer. This is to say, wisdom travels the internal path that our questions create and it lives through us, eventually expressing itself through our words and deeds. And I’ve found that when supported by the power of a collective—a circle of intention—we can access a level of wisdom far beyond what’s possible on our own. The Wisdom Circle is emerging as an answer to my question: What’s mine to do in these turbulent times? Strengthened by the beauty of wild things, shared intention, and the presence of open hearts, the Wisdom Circle will gather to support each other in living the questions and becoming living answers. If this sounds like a place you're meant to be, reach out and ask your questions...follow your heart, live your answers, and feel the abiding presence of Hope.

Photo Copyright : Jay Mantri



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