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Musing on Asking
by Stewart Blackburn

Iʻve always been struck by Sergeʻs description of his training in the Kahili family and the importance placed on the student asking questions. In our Western culture where we are taught to let the teacher tell us what we are supposed to learn, we have not been encouraged to fully develop our curiosity. Or as Albert Einstein put it, "It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education." I think that that curiosity, that simple ability to ask questions, is a skill that goes far beyond learning more about the world. I love the notion that after a particularly vivid or troublesome dream one can simply ask the relevant parts of that dream what they are about. Or that we can ask a plant how we might use it. Or that we can ask a body part whatʻs going on that it hurts so much. Itʻs extraordinary and wonderful that we donʻt just have to accept our ignorance of things. We can up and say, "Hey! What gives?" And expect an answer. I find that most of the time when I am running or hiding from something in a dream and I wake and ask what it was that I was afraid of I get the message that, in fact, itʻs some part of me that I have been uncomfortable with and havenʻt yet integrated. It always comes as a surprise that what Iʻm afraid of is me. I donʻt get to that understanding until I ask.

As a Western man I was taught, like most of the rest of my kind, that I was expected to know in some way what to do in every situation and that entry into manhood was supposed to include (but somehow my programming was faulty) almost all knowledge including directions and mechanics. Iʻve learned to ask questions as Iʻve grown (although I do still have trouble asking for directions) but it wasnʻt until I learned that I could ask questions of anything about anything that I began to get it about asking.

My curiosity was given permission to explode and I began asking questions that were bigger than anything I had ever dreamed of before. The answers were often incoherent; I think they were a reflection of the incoherence or vagueness of the questions. But more and more I got answers that made sense to me. I remember asking what my lifeʻs purpose was. I repeatedly got the answer that it was to just be who I am. "Is that all?" I thought. Now I realize that thatʻs bigger and more profound than any concept of greatness or power could ever be. And I got that insight not from figuring anything out, not by scanning the successes of others, but from simply asking.

Where were the answers coming from? I used to find that thinking in terms of the answers coming from my spirit guides was helpful. Then I thought of High Self, devas, the Universal Mind and other such concepts. Finally, I gave up trying to pinpoint or conceptualize the source and was simply grateful that these marvelous answers just kept showing up. That went on for quite awhile, my asking questions and feeling into the answers that would come, usually immediately. Then the power of asking got deeper. I found that I could ask for things and experiences to come into my life and generally they did. Just by asking!

Now it wasnʻt always immediate like the answers were. And the things I wasnʻt fully invested it didnʻt seem to materialize; and I guess I didnʻt care that much, anyway. The cool part was that if I could be conscious enough about what it was that I wanted and then ask for it, it seemed to be coming to me. Of course, the hard part was knowing clearly what I wanted. And asking myself what I wanted didnʻt always yield the same speedy answers. But the questions taught me a great deal about myself and led me into deeper and deeper desires. For instance, I really wanted a sailboat and asked fervently to have one. When I got it I discovered that while I loved sailing, it was the feeling of freedom that I really wanted. That in turn led, at least in part, to a divorce and a year traveling around the world.

The exploration of those deeper desires led me into an awareness that what I wanted most was a solid connection with my innermost self, with who I really am, what I choose to call my High Self. And thatʻs where asking took on a new function for me.

I had known for some time that to feel the High Self was easy – one simply contemplated something beautiful and one was there. What I later came to understand was that in asking my questions and in asking for what I wanted I was engaging the High Self. I was working with it in a cooperative partnership. My conscious mind and my higher mind were working together. And getting to that place of cooperation was as easy as asking. The asking was the power piece here. The power of simply asking was shocking to me. Not only did it relieve my conscious mind of the impossible responsibility of knowing everything and figuring everything out, it was also the conduit for an apparently infinite amount of guidance and love. Wow! Each time I expressed my desire for something, each time I asked for that desire to be fulfilled I learned more about myself. I expressed an ever deeper layer of myself. And every time I asked for something I got a greater sense of pleasure, of feeling food in a way that was approaching bliss.

Now, however, the onus was on me. I now had to feel into what I wanted to ask or ask for. It took quite awhile, but I finally got it that it doesnʻt matter what I ask for. The asking, for anything, even "Howzit?" felt great and that that connection was really all that mattered – my connection with my High Self. The asking itself was the answer. Now, how cool is that?

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity." - Albert Einstein

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