The Power and Gift of a Question

May 22, 2023

Today I wish to speak about the inherent power and gift of a sincere, thoughtful question. Questions are an integral part of human communication. They help us understand each other, explore the world around us, and challenge our assumptions. But beyond this, questions have the ability to create awareness and inspire us to reach for and access information and potentials not presently available to us. A question is the opening of a door, the starting point to new expansion, potentials, and experiences.

Unfortunately, this is no longer how we hold or approach questions. Questions have become something unwanted, something to be fixed, something to get rid of as soon as possible. In part, this is due to us seeking to move towards more ease, competence, peace and certainty in the face of the feelings of discomfort and perhaps even embarrassment that unanswered questions bring up in us. However, in our attempt to remain in a perpetual comfort zone and avoiding the temporary discomfort of the unknown, we have forgotten the gift and power of “living with a question”, which means embracing it, holding it alive in our conscious awareness with curiosity, and having it serve as the source and basis from which we expand and create anew.

In this way, kept alive, the question can transform us, its holder, into its answer. Let’s take the question “What would need to happen for me to be more joyful?” The first thing that might happen is for the mind to rush with immediate answers, most often predictable and fear-based responses. However, if you keep the question alive, beyond the mind’s initial reactivity, new potentials, and possibilities begin to arise. In time, you will find yourself transformed into a joyful person. The question will turn you into its answer. You can apply this process to any question, for example, “Who do I need to be to attract love?”, etc. and in time find yourself transformed into its answer.

As Rainer Maria Rilke wrote in his book Letters to a Young Poet, “I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to 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.”

This is based on the dualistic nature of our reality: as soon as a question is birthed within me, or as soon as I am presented with and embrace a question, its answer too is birthed within me. All we have to do is to allow it the space and presence needed to emerge.

This is the approach and space from which we work in our coaching sessions. Full recognition that the answers to your questions, the solutions to your problems and your heart’s desires are all already fully present within you, awaiting only your realisation and attunement to them, stimulated by effective questioning, awareness creation, support, and a safe and compassionate space within which to unfold. We can also rest assured that the answers, solutions, and clarity evolving from within us in this manner are always for our highest and best, allowing us to confidently pursue and action whatever discoveries may arise from them.

Albert Einstein once said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”

What question(s) are you ready to be transformed by?

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  • Lou Ann Bennett

    Feeling gratitude and appreciation for this article Ceferino that lands as a gift and reminder to lean in to live our sincere questions.

    I feel inspired to get quiet and listen to the deepest inquiry of my soul and mindfully distill a question I don’t or can’t know. I trust this process. I’m sure it will leave an open space for curiosity to breathe and bloom.

    I feel confident and empowered by the support you provide by reflecting wisdom and presence in my life and in your writings like this!

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      Ceferino Cenizo

      I am touched by your thoughtful words Lou Ann, thank you! I also feel encouraged and inspired by your sharing and super grateful and appreciative to have you here!

  • A
    Ceferino Cenizo

    Thank you for your feedback. I’m happy to hear it landed well and as helpful for you!

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