Questions and answers

Based on Gil Fronsdal's audio dharma talk "The Value of Questioning"
Note - the link is to an mp3 file - click it and it will probably speak to you

To find a good spiritual answer you need to ask a good spiritual question. Good in this case means something from the heart rather than something just from the head.

And the final answer is perhaps not as important as the process of asking. You may not solve the problem but you can distance yourself from obsession with it. Questioning helps to open your mind, to disentangle yourself, to step back, to do a helicopter.

Here are some questions to give a flavour of what might be asked:

  • How can I be alone with others?
  • How can I participate more fully?
  • How can I remember to be mindful when angry?
  • What does it mean to have a life well lived?
  • What is being requested of me?
  • What is the relationship between self and Self?
  • Why am I behaving/ feeling this way?
  • Why are people driven to compete?
  • Why are we driven by fear rather than by love?
  • Why do our minds sabotage us?


<1> The five-whys approach to deeper understanding

Q- Why do I want to do that?
A- Because of xxx?
Q- Why do I want xxx?
A- Because of yyy
Q- Why do I want yyy?
A- etc

<2> 'Bad' questions are those that focus on the negative. So, instead of asking "What's wrong with me?", try asking, "What's right with me?".

<3> In the Korean Zen tradition students are given one question for life. Less extreme traditions allow graduation through a series of questions. Other traditions do not use questions at all. If this shoe fits wear it.

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