Villagers: “Yet this we ask ere you leave us, that you speak to us and give us of your truth. And we will give it unto our children, and they unto their children, and it shall not perish. In your aloneness you have watched with our day, and in your wakefulness you have listened to the weeping and the laughter of our sleep. Now therefore disclose us to ourselves, and tell us all that has been shown to you of that which is between birth and death.”
The Prophet: “People of Orphalese, of what can I speak save of that which is even now moving within your souls?”
Can you picture this? A group of eager inquisitive people have their shining eyes turned toward this man. They want to know everything about life he has to tell. Instead, he tells them it’s all already right there inside them. Of course he goes on to tell them, but he gives that pause, that opportunity for them to trust themselves.
We can do this too – not be in such a rush. Give space after the question. Let it roll around for a bit in your practice, in your body, in your life, like a mantra. See what arises.
Sometimes you wind up with more questions, and you begin to realize that questions might be answers. The pause can make space for questions you hadn’t thought to ask before.
Can you imagine how seductive it is for the Prophet? To be the ONE that knows what everyone else wants. The next time you’re in a position to be the ONE – perhaps at work where you hold a senior position, at home with a young family member, or with someone who recently joined the hobby you’ve been doing for years – consider giving them an opportunity to know. Resist the urge to give the answer right away. A simple “What do you think could work?” “What would you do?” could instruct more than an answer ever could. Maybe you’ll still need to give the answer, but creating that space in invaluable. Practice this with others, practice it with yourself.
“Instead of gathering knowledge, you should clear your mind. If your mind is clear, true knowledge is already yours. When you listen to our teaching with a pure, clear mind, you can accept it as if you were hearing something which you already know.” Shunryu Suzuki
“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 now 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