November Project: Question #28
This question comes from Brooks through email
Is there a question you’ve been surprised no one has asked?
What surprises me is people rarely ask themselves the questions they pose to me. And I have always found that baffling. Sure, there is really no way for me to know if they have asked themselves the same questions, but after spending five years listening and speaking, I think I have a good sense for the amount of inquiry many might allow for themselves.
It is never deep enough, it seems.
It reminds me of a story about the writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez. When he read the first line of the Kafka story The Metamorphosis, it almost knocked him out of his bed. [The first line reads, 'As Gregor Samsa awoke that morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.' ~ TM]
Garcia Marquez said of the line,
“When I read the line I thought to myself that I didn’t know that anyone was allowed to write things like that. If I had known, I would have started writing a long time ago.“
What he says is so telling: ‘I didn’t know that anyone was allowed to write things like that.’
This kind of thinking follows people into their inquiry. It is almost as if they need a certain ‘permission’ in order to proceed, and I could never understand that. If someone is serious, then surely, they’ll explore themselves thoroughly. It might not come to them all at once, and I can understand why. But you don’t stop, if you are serious.
And I absolutely understand one might be limited to the questions and restrictions of their conditioning. So it very well may be out of their experience entirely to ask a different kind of question. But if they want to see a different ‘answer’, they’ll need to ask a different question. And nothing is stopping them from doing so, at any time.
Recently on Twitter (it was actually about an hour ago) I had a little conversation over something I tweeted more than a year ago. The tweet itself reads,
#liesyoushouldntfallfor I am the right guru, and I can bring you true freedom.
The conversation on Twitter was just to clarify what I meant. I was asked,
Q1: How best 2 know it’s a lie?; 2: what lies r ok?
And I answered with,
Is there a ‘right’ guru? Can anyone bring you true freedom? Does true freedom actually exist? No one seems to ask these questions.
It isn’t that people have not asked me those questions. It IS rare, but they have asked. But they never seem to ask themselves the same questions. And those are good questions, damn it! Don’t waste them on me! Explore them within yourselves!
A few years ago on a Skype call someone asked me a similar question to, Can someone else set me free? (Or Can freedom be given to me? Something like that.) My answer was, Have you asked yourself? I’ll never forget his reply:
But I want you to tell me.
My reply was something like, No. I can’t tell you. You have the question, and you seem to be curious about all of this. That is all you need to begin.
If there is any final message on this subject it is this: Any question you receive from Takuin is in no way better than any question you might receive from yourself. In fact, yours is better. You gave it a life and a mission of its own. Takuin didn’t.
Thanks for the question, Brooks.