Our self-talk has the effect of either liberating or captivating us—that is, if we haven’t already learned how to quiet it or harmonise it in favour of the healing whispers of God.
We can just as easily—any time—commence a form of higher enquiry that will lead to the benefit of virtue: patience, peace, joy, acceptance, courage, and the like.
Some points to make:
1. Rather than accepting statements that occur in our minds, carte blanche, that the devil seeks to sow, we question them; indeed, we question—as a method of thought—more and more.
2. The mode of questioning is the refined exemplification of wisdom, which holds judgment at bay, weighing thoughts with fact, so thinking is filtered by the truth, and therefore we can reap unadulterated blessing. Otherwise, we prejudge and act on assumptions and half-truths.
3. Questioning is the mode of discovery—an outward expression of vision—when too often we become introverted, even fixated, by our perceptions. Questioning swims past the salty, dying creeks of envy, sadness, inferiority and resentment to go with the flow of the river, which is life vouchsafed for the truth.
4. Questioning allows us to remain positive when things are still in doubt. Just how often do we need to keep swimming—as an act of faith—through the murky waters of life?
5. But questioning is still faulty if we don’t ask better questions. Better questions have a way about them that climbs over and above our egos. The ability to ask better questions is made available when we broaden our perspective; our needs no longer primary and in front of others’ needs.
6. Space is retrieved at the time it is required when we question rather than judge; when we prefer an open mind over a closed one. Open-mindedness is a blessing of joy, confidence and freedom—for both ourselves and others. Questioning, without partiality, is clearly better than judging.
7. Let us also not understate this fact: when we answer other people’s queries with questions we highlight that we’re listening, we’re interested in understanding, and that we also want them to think with us on the topics of discussion too. Questioning encourages genuine dialogue. Asking better questions in these situations is affording our relationships better congruence and closer intimacy, with more satisfactory outcomes.
Questioning as the mode of both self-enquiry and relational enquiry is a basic tool of wisdom; not only should we question more, but we should learn to ask better questions.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.