Living in the Question - A Liquid Elixir of Life ?


The Elusive Elixir of Life

The elusive elixir of life concept has a history in ancient traditions, especially in China and India, where legends and scriptures over thousands of years described various herbs and other substances that would have a healing effect or increase the longevity of life, or even bestow eternal life. The holy grail is also an example of a sacred elixir that grants eternal life. Using the word "liquid" as an acronym, we can explore how living in the question is one form of a spiritual "elixir of life". L-i-q-u-i-d refers to living in the question under the influence of the Divine. 

If You Were a Young Poet

If you were a young poet and you received a letter from your mentor that encouraged you to live in the question rather than the answer, how would you respond?

When we are younger in life it seems that we are seeking answers to all the questions that we have about life. It's a normal part of learning. It's interesting that the search for answers becomes a lifelong process as we change and age and may seek to experience life on a deeper level. The self-help industry has boomed because of this. There's always a new book, another event, workshop, or podcast to help us with answers, or to ask new questions. Are we are all like young poets when we live in the question?

Is There Secret Wisdom Contained in the Question?

Is there is a secret contained in the question that has all possibilities of the answer? Could the answer sometimes be framed in the shapes of other questions? The Zen masters knew this. The wise use of questions would cause the mind of the student to leap outside of the box of intellectual understanding. The parables and riddles and use of questions in the Jewish tradition and also by the master Jesus of Nazareth are also excellent examples. Many traditions recognize this as a way of sharing wisdom.

Living in the Question Now

Questions can be both empowering and frustrating. It depends on who is asking, and what the response is. Living in the question is being open to all possibilities. Questioning something out of criticism or doubt is a whole different vibe. The concept of living in the question was referred to in a letter to a student by Rainer Maria Rilke, a mystic and renowned German poet:

“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.” ― Rainer Maria Rilke , Letters to a Young Poet

Rilke encourages the young poet to "live the questions now", and not seek the answers. To love the questions even though the answers may not be forthcoming. 

Is Living in the Question an Invitation to View Life as a Young Poet?
This may be a good idea to add into our "toolbox" or approach to how we live our life here and now. By "living in the question" we don't need to know all the answers, and it leaves the question open- ended for more insights and possible deeper meanings when we are ready to receive them. The "answers" may also come as insights, aha moments, or subtle openings of wisdom within our heart and mind. Is living in the question an invitation to view life as a young poet?

By "living in the question", we can experience a deeper hidden knowledge or wisdom that may be experienced as an inner knowing, or  a state of consciousness or being that cannot be defined by words as answers.   

Although there are sophisticated methods and systems that use questions such as the Socratic Method, a simple approach is to always be open about new possibilities with whatever information we receive, knowing that there are many possibilities of the information that may not have been revealed yet.  

We have access to vast amounts of information - more than ever before in history - with the internet,  websites, YouTube, podcasts, seminars, workshops, books and blogs. It is easy to take all the information that we have on a topic and set limits on it as if we know enough about it. 

The concept of "living in the question" is to be open about the information that we receive. To know that there are possible new insights, and a new awareness of deeper understanding. It can be a refreshing new perspective and experience compared to "living in the answer". If we are open to a Divine Spirit within life then is it possible that questions help to create an opening to receive in ways beyond our own control?

LIQUID is an acronym for Living In the Question Under the Influence of the Divine. Could living in the question be one of the many sacred liquid elixirs of life?