Living the Questions

Living the Questions

Nowhere can I find any relationship of the origin of the word QUESTION being derived from a root word even related to the word QUEST? I had not realized this correlation myself until a recent pondering during my morning time of Sitting Quietly but there it was – hidden in the obvious, obscured by the evident. But doesn’t it make sense since any great coaching or quality listening results from an art of questioning and not the telling of anything? Interested people are on a QUEST to “know you, hear you and understand you.” Interesting people, in contrast, seek to capture you to “dazzle you, impress you and ultimately, ignore you.” But by being interested and on a quest to know verses tell, we ask questions along the pathway for going deeper, farther, faster.

Real life is lived somewhere between yes and no, knowing and unknowing. We advance from question to question, not from answer to answer. The journey of growing into self actualization – or beyond the limitations of Maslow’s hierarchy of need – comes from holding the tension of these opposing forces in our hands.

Our educational system is based upon: Lesson first and the test follows. Yet in the life classroom, the order is: Test first, lesson follows. Perhaps this contributes to the limited success of our current system that seems to focus on the answers instead of living the questions.

I was educated in a system that required a State Regents Exam in all primary subject areas. “The Regents” was something we all sweated in our senior year of high school as everyone had to pass in order to graduate. The pressure was on to perform and the correct answers were the key to any path forward. I remember vividly my science teacher standing over my desk saying: “Um, maybe not,” or “better look at B instead of C” while attempting to arrive at the correct answer in the multiple choice section. Thanks to her, I scored an undeserved 96% on my State Science exam. I now wonder if that was to secure her job by having her classes score high in a state wide comparison.

Receiving the answer without living the question teaches little. If we bypass the sweat of investigation or the angst of articulation, we win a lottery not knowing how to handle the cash. Adequate rumination is one of the keys to increased Emotional Intelligence yet pondering is a lost art.  Philosophical pursuit has faded even from our college curriculums. We have become so absorbed with the assault of instant information and answers to questions not yet asked that we make no time for living the questions of what matters most and holding the tension of Q&A as a reclaimed sport.

Here is a short quiz first for then living the lesson later:

  • Who are you?
  • What do you do?
  • What do you believe?
  • What flows through you?
  • Why are you here?
  • What will be remembered about you from your time here?

These are just a few of road signs along our individual QUEST – the journey of our lifetimes.