Good Questions

There is great power in questions. As I have experienced them, they are more powerful, memorable and effective than always having the answers. They reflect the spirit of inquiry, generation and evolution rather than the static world of ‘knowing’, certainty and expertise that separates people.

Carsten Ohm has developed a game to facilitate change and evolution. After my first experience with this tool in 2006 I have been really hooked on it, and have now done some training. Carsten provided me with a deck of cards for my journey, and I will continue to pick one out every couple of days, and inquire into these questions and use them as an explicit or implicit way of engaging with other people and the environment. There are several different versions of the cards, depending on the context. The deck I have is the ‘personal development’ deck.

The first question I played with Carsten was “Which inner qualities need your attention?”. And we used this card as a sort of ‘talking stick’ – to get the conversation started and continue with related questions. My response included thoughts about the ‘ground’, my tone, posture, transitions, and rhythms in nature and relationships. I started to get all spiritual about paying attention to both the earth and ‘ground’ out there – the landscape, and the earth and ‘ground’ in me (the ‘ground of all being’, that non-dual state of awareness beyond mind. And Carsten’s next question was “How would you explain that to an Aussie in the bar”, and “And, how would you access the wisdom of the earth and ground in that very moment”. Very, very good questions indeed…

After mediation and exercise one morning I flipped over the next card “How do you establish contact with your centre”. An answer immediately popped into my head – ‘Through meditation and exercise of course!’, and another answer was related to the landscapes I love and hence my reason for heading back to Australia. But I held off from thinking I had the riddle solved. I thought about who the question was being asked of. What if ‘you’ was everything, the universe – would the answer be through gravity? What if the ‘you’ was the city – would the response be ‘through roads, railways lines, powerlines and all other means of connecting the fringes to the centre’. What if the ‘you’ was a culture, a people, or a religious group – would the answer be through ritual, through worship, or through pilgrimages to the ‘centre’ (e.g. Mecca)?

As I left Bucharest I turned over another card: “What is coming to its completion – and what have you learned”. That is one that really needs thinking about. The next one that came to me, but which was not from the cards was “What do I want to teach?” which became a useful frame and test for thinking about what I really want to / need to do over the next 10-20 years…

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