Why are we here? What is the purpose of our existing? What is the meaning of life? How can these questions support our everyday living?
For the most part, we don’t have these questions as a part of our lives, and yet we are living the answers and don’t know it or realize the consequences. We live out of the conditioned mind that has accepted and agreed with the answers found by those who’ve come before us. What if those answers aren’t correct? What if those answers limit us to the possibilities known by those who’ve just passed them along and don’t know for themselves?
The Wisdom of Not Knowing
A large part of inquiry is not knowing the answer. The best scientific investigations involve not knowing. The scientists are discovering for themselves what is real and true, if a hypothesis is correct or not, provable, can be replicated. When we approach our spiritual liberation work from this perspective, we open the door to greater possibility and already we are more alive, curious, interested, engaged, involved, and open. We, our own mind, heart, body and soul become the laboratory of our living experiment. We become more excited, a flame begins to burn within—a living flame of Truth becomes lit with a deep interest in discovering for ourselves what is real and true.
As we begin to question, we will uncover many of the underlying assumptions that are a part of our make up and that actually drive and direct a lot of our activity. Ideas like, “We are here to: survive, and to do that we have to earn a living; find love, get married and raise a family; get enlightened and leave the mortal coil behind; live a good and decent life so the afterlife will be better; to be able to have, do and get what is wanted when it is wanted, “ and so forth. We seldom question these basic ideas and assumptions unless conditions and circumstances bring us to wonder.
Why not wonder now? Do we believe these are true? How are they working out for us? Do they bring a sense of happiness or satisfaction? Are we here to be happy and satisfied?
Most people don’t allow themselves to radically not know the answers. Most people are deeply afraid that if they let go of these assumptions and their consequent limitations that give a sense of false security they won’t survive. As a result, as Thoreau put it, most people “lead lives of quiet desperation.” The misery in the world is the result.
To discover why we are here, we have to be where we are right here and now, in the not knowing realization of this moment’s—this unique never before never again moment’s experience. When we really don’t know, when we give away every reason we think we know, the answer can make itself evident in the moment.
For example, we might recognize that we are at work and on the job because we have to be here for x,y,z reasons. If we sincerely look to see why we think we are there, and genuinely not know that is true, what happens then?
What if our thinking we know something limits all possibility of freshness, of aliveness? We may discover how much resistance we have to being where we are because of what we think we know about it. “I am here visiting my pain-in-the-neck relative because it’s my duty, it makes me a good person and I am earning my wings.” Really?
When we begin genuinely to wonder why we are where we are, what really causes us to do what we are doing, we can uncover all sorts of content that we don’t really resonate with when we actually feel our way into it. We can also recognize our body’s tension, usually a chronic state of tension. The body emulates consciousness inclusive of unconsciously held beliefs and our dissatisfaction with them.
If people get this far, and few do, they frequently don’t know what to do. They latch onto yet someone else’s belief; find a place to belong where there’s a better set of assumptions offered. Nothing wrong with that, yet still, sometimes quite literally, buying into what someone else has discovered for themselves.
The Primary Question
What if the primary question of aliveness is an open question? What if we are to continually fuel and fan the flame of Truth Alive by being in the discovery moment to moment? What if not knowing is a radically alive way of being? Might that be fun and exciting? What if even when the task of the moment is dull and boring, if we question in the midst of doing the task, “why am I here?” “What do I really believe?” “What if it isn’t true?” “Why in the entire world am I manifesting here in this moment in this place in this activity?” If we can stay with it and penetrate down through layers of reasons, beliefs, ideas, assumptions to the place where we actually, radically don’t know at all, we might just find out—for this unique moment, anyway.
Part of the key is to stay in the questioning process until all reasonable, known answers are recognized and further questioned—what if that’s not the real reason? We find many answers that we think are true, some of which we like, some of which we don’t, all good in the process of radical Self-inquiry.
To come authentically to the Heart of radical aliveness, we have to wonder, what if there is no reason? What if we can NOT really know? What if it truly is a matter of discovery? What can I discover in not knowing why, for instance, I answer the phone right now? What if I even think I know who is calling and why, what if I truly stop knowing that and step into the moment not having a clue, being innocently sagely clueless, fully consciously present, alive, discovering? Great masters are very like young children in this respect, spontaneous and free in the moment. Papaji – Innocence of a trusting Child
In any moment, like right now for instance, we can question and discover, be present and wonder, not as a matter of idle curiosity, but really deeply sincerely interested. What can we discover right here and now reading this? The answers just might blow you away! Please take a moment to leave your discovery in the space provided below.