On my birthday earlier this year, I asked three friends to ask three questions each. They were free to ask any questions that came to mind. The three friends happened to be those who were involved in @writingtable, namely Hanny, Nia, and Windy (in alphabetical order). Some questions were asked (and responded) in Indonesian, while others in English.
- How can one be content where whey are?
- Is it wrong to want more or want to know more?
- When is enough enough?
It took me three and a half months to finally be able to sit with these questions and write the responses. I did not know what to write and how to respond to them. No words came up from these questions.
Or perhaps that is the response: (an invitation to) silence.
Many questions come up out of fear and anxiety. Many questions come up from a cluttered and noisy place in our self. These questions cannot be responded properly from the same place. It is best for us to first arrive at a quieter and clearer inner space within. This applies both to the questioner and to the responder. To you, and to me.
Then we wait. We wait for the responses to arise in their own time.
That is the second response to the questions: Wait. Give them time.
Three and a half months is neither long or short. It is neither too soon or too late. It is what it takes for this response to emerge. It is the perfect time when I am ready to write the response. And for you to read or hear it.
The first time I read that questions, they felt nebulous to me. Several responses came up. Are they really your questions? Are they real questions or is there another question behind these questions? The responses, however, also felt nebulous. They felt cluttered. They did not feel expansive, light, or even kind enough.
So I waited. I let the questions stayed.
I came to realise that all questions are valid. It is not my place to project or put judgements. Questions always say something about the state of the questioners – and the persons hearing them. Questions are requests for us to be educated. They are expressions of our desire to know or to be(come).
Let’s take a break from the flow of the response and visit the words mentioned in the previous paragraph. The word “educate” originates from the latin educere, which means to draw out. While the word “to know”, in French, is translated into two words, with different meanings. One of which is “connaître”. It means to know something personally. To experience. To taste.
With this understanding, certain questions are, in reality, requests for our inner potentials to be drawn out and be experienced or tasted.
To ask how one can be content, is to ask for contentment to be realised in us. The question of right or wrong is a request for our inner compass to be polished. The third question of knowing when enough is enough is a combination of the two previous questions: inner compass (knowing, guidance) and contentment.
All these three questions are a request for guidance, to be taken to that vast space of silence and stillness, where we can know with certainty and be content. (T)here, we are happy. For indeed, happiness is our nature.
Further, it is worth noting that it is not only responses that arise when we are ready. Questions, too, have their timing. Sometimes, when certain questions — or realisation — come up, they signify a time for a shift. A tipping point. Perhaps, it is time for that shift.
This is as far as I can respond.
Keep asking these questions. Live these questions.
One day, without we even realising, we shall become their answers.
One day, we will meet and I will have the honour to hear from you their true responses.
God knows best and He guides the Way.