FROM: LETTERS TO A YOUNG POET

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart
and to try to love the questions themselves
like locked rooms and like books that are 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

 

It can be so tempting to approach mindfulness and insight from the realm of the intellect, and to think that if only I understand what’s going on, if only I know, then all will fall into place. And yes, it may, but again and again I find the answers need to have their ripening time, and if I try to fast forward they just don’t actually land.

And then, one day, I hear the same thing yet another time, and suddenly it’s crystal clear. “Have I been deaf, all these years?!” a fellow practitioner asked out loud when a penny finally dropped. Rilke reminds me that it’s ok not to know, that “living the questions” is a very alive and fruitful place in itself…

What questions are you living with?

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