Spiritual Directors International

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New Year's Resolution - Ask More Questions

Guest Author: 
Steven Crandell


Where does love come from?

What might we discover if we listen in stillness without expectation?

When is a good time to be generous?

To be curious?

To be kind?

How can we make space for that which arises from deep within and disrupts our assumptions and indeed our lives?


These are questions for living. Questions that arise from what a Zen Buddhist might call "beginner's mind" - fresh, open to learning, free from pre-conceptions.

Such questions can help orient our lives, can help spiritual companions support others to find profound connection.

Here are a few more:

What is most important - the goal or the process?

The relationship or the result?

What if the process is the goal?

What if the relationship is the result?

As we begin 2019, I want to share a story from Sue Monk Kidd and her lovely book "When the Heart Waits - Spiritual Direction for Life's Sacred Questions."

It, too, leads to a wonderful question. A question about the role of intention in your life. The question is, Are you in it for the fish or the fishing?

"My grandfather ... and I used to go fishing at one of the little ponds on his farm. He would sit and hold his cane pole over the water, becoming as still as the stumps that jutted up from the water. I usually tired of fishing fairly soon and went on to other things, like dandelions. One day, having given up on the fishing, I was playing in his old black truck when I noticed that his fishing bait was still on the seat... I grabbed the bait basket and raced over to him. 'Grandaddy, how can you fish without bait?'

"He tilted back his hat and smiled as if he had been caught in some delicious secret. "Well, sometimes it's not the fish I'm after,' he said, 'it's the fishing.'"


In the comments below, please share some of the questions that arise in you as you begin the new year.

With gratitude for the wisdom and insight of Rainer Maria Rilke.

Longer quote:

"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." -- Letter Four (16 July 1903)

Quote from Letters to a Young Poet  (1934).

Steven Crandell guides SDI's storytelling and education -- on our website, our blog, social media, and in our webinars. He sees spiritual companions as the catalyst in an ongoing "contemplative revolution."

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