Do things need to make sense to be meaningful? I don’t think so. This poem for self-inquiry is about not needing to know, about what it can be like to delve a little deeper into the questions without asking that they rearrange themselves into answers right away.
“When inquiry is alive inside you, every thought you think ends with a question mark, not a period. And that is the end of suffering.” — Byron Katie
Questions typically make us uncomfortable if we can’t answer them. What if we stayed with them, though, and let the discomfort be there too? If we keep the inquiry alive inside, as The Work of Byron Katie teaches, things shift.
If I stick with what’s showing up (like procrastinating in writing or not feeling capable of living my dreams) without asking it to be something other than what it is, things lighten. When resistance is cleared like that, there’s bound to be ease in there somewhere. I find it sometimes and it keeps me going, curiosity and awe softening the blow of what I don’t know, or don’t think is right or okay.
Responding to stress with present-moment pondering breeds new possibility. (Like, get into the questions and don’t be as concerned with absolutes.) Suddenly, hope is right there with us, in the form of a question mark.
Make everything a question again: that’s the overarching topic of this poem. Because no sometimes just means not yet. For instance, is there meaning in this suffering? Or, do I need to know how I’ll get it done? The key here is not to answer the questions but to practice living the questions before the answers.
If you stay, and let the questions be there without immediately seeking their answers, even anxiety fades out. Even certain despair loses its certainty. Underneath certainty is fluidity.
We don’t always need to answer the questions, but to let the inquiries unfold on their own.
Asking, “How can things be easier?” is a question that ends up answering itself. That’s the question that started this poem. I wondered if I could not be so hung up on having all the answers, knowing all the right to-dos, doing all the particular things. The easy energy of the query, when no demands were made, delivered ease into my next movements. I embodied the question. It changed my energy.
This is what I’ll call a stream of consciousness poem, scribbled in between the lines of a journal. It may not rhyme (at least, if it does, it happened without my interference). The lines may not make themselves readily obvious, but they hint at what’s beyond the obvious and underneath the answers: let’s stay with the questions for a little while.
I am wondering: How can I live in between the lines? Communicate with the questions? Keep curiosity alive? Feel free? This is what came up.
Just the Questions, a Poem for (Compassionate) Self-Inquiry
You can’t understand it all;
Rhyme and reason escape a closed mind.
Curiosity is a mind in the process of
opening to the questions.
That is where we find rhythm—
not in the answers we think must be true but
in the softened edges of the questions themselves.
Shut to one thing because it’s
tethered to another is not
an opened mind.
Awakened inside of you,
inquiry takes the head and gives it
it does the same for the heart, and
balance happens naturally.
It’s amending and a melting together of
all imbalances—an illumination of the
It’s as if we are made whole again,
remembered, because we
question the notion that we are
parts and pieces,
limbs and discernment.
Question everything and more rises.
Instead of certainty,
feed your heart inquiry.
Ask questions where you traditionally
keep to periods.
Instead of demands,
try desire, which holds its own quality.
The flower is beautiful in its own right,
but what is the fruit like?
Don’t stop with the obvious.
Go deeper. Go past definitions.
Dig into the sky.
Stay longer and uproot.
It’s okay to be confused.
Confusion is the perfect
playing ground for transformation.
The alchemy is in the evolution
from confusion to enlightenment.
To be okay with being confused,
Illuminate the questions,
wonder at what’s beyond what you know.
Discern and prefer, but
you are more and there is more
to melt into.
. . .
Which part of this poem is your favorite?
Tell me in the comments. I read every single one, and I’d love to know!
Question with compassion. It feels lighter.
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