“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. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
Rainer Maria Rilke
I’ve often looked for ways to deal with (un)necessary, perplexing, presumptuous questions light-heartedly. I failed miserably at that. But in the course of time and actually thanks to perplexing questions, I slowly started to see the act of asking differently. I realized that the purpose of some questions is to just give room for thought. By doing so they challenge our perceptions and invite us to generate and explore ideas that we often didn’t anticipate. These are the questions I like most.
It took me longer to learn to like questions expressing doubt or uncertainty. Once solely a cause of worry and anxiety, now I try to see them as a fair and diligent companion. After all, they often help us navigate, especially through intricate situations.
Similarly helpful turn out to be questions confronting preconceived notions. They might be inconvenient, but compensate for that by offering a different perspective and a chance to look into areas defined and maybe even forgotten long ago.
What better way to re-think and re-discover ourselves and the world around us than asking?
“Where does the rainbow end,
in your soul or on the horizon?
Is it true our desires
must be watered with dew?”
Pablo Neruda‘s poems in ‘The Book of Questions’ strike a chord with me. Unanswerable in nature, they direct our attention to the act of asking and remind us that there are questions which are not necessarily meant to be answered. It’s asking that counts more at times.