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Illumination of Questions

“Think of the ways that questions illuminate the world around us.  Questions tune the soul.  The purpose behind questions is to initiate the quest. . . . We need to be introduced to our longings because they guard our mystery. Ask yourself what mystery is being guarded by your longing.”  -Phil Cousineau from The Art of Pilgrimage: The Seeker’s Guide to Making Travel Sacred

I am in the midst of one last journey of the summer, holding many questions in my heart, guarding many longings I am not yet able to name.   My quest feels like it was initiated long ago, but I am being called to more clarity, to more courage.  What are my gifts that make a unique offering to the world?  How do I continue to dive deeper into the life of monk-mystic-artist-writer and support myself financially?  Is that even the question anymore, or is there another, more important question ready to break free?

Unfortunately my broadband connection where I am has been hit and miss, and so I am limited in my posting this week.  So for today, the quote above and my brief reflections will have to do.  Perhaps it stirs in you a longing for something larger?  Or maybe the questions you are holding deep in your heart are beginning to sing their song? 

What quotes and words of wisdom have been speaking to you this week?

-Christine Valters Paintner @ Abbey of the Arts  

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10 Responses

  1. Thanks for the follow-up Bette, I like the image of disciples as well!

    Titration, it’s Rilke who talks about Living the questions in his Letters to a Young Poet, a phrase I hold closely.

    Abi, I read most of Gilbert’s book too, and really enjoyed her writing about Italy and India, I started to fade when she got to Indonesia, but overall enjoyed her writing. Bonhoeffer and Theresa are both rich reads!

  2. I don’t have a quote to put here, but Dietrich Bonhoeffer has really been speaking to me recently along with Theresa of Avila. I ave been reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Eat, Love and Pray.

    I believe questions are important to our growth as well.

  3. I love this post. Hmmm. A quote…. Who says “Live the questions.” ? I am not sure but I do seem to be living in them a lot these days.

  4. hi christine – this quote by Lao Tzu sounds a bit odd, but when i first read it i immediately thought of bamboo and its flexibility in bad weather. and how interesting to think of plants or stalks of beautiful bamboo as “Disciples”!

    with the questions you and I and all of us have in your livess, it is good to be open and ‘flexible’ to the direction God might have for us :)


  5. Living plants are flexible,
    In death, they become dry and brittle.

    Therefore, stubborn people are disciples of death, but
    Flexible people are disciples of life.

    -Lao Tzu

  6. I’m not sure who the author of this quote is but I came across it the other day in one of my quote notebooks: “When I see beauty around me, I also see beauty in myself.”

    Poetry, art, photography, children, friends, theater and so many other persons and experiences are daily sources of beauty I want to keep company with. They help affirm my own worth and gifts.

  7. From an interview with John O’Donohue:

    “Meister Eckhart asked the one great question: “How should I be?” How do we begin to answer that?”

    “True creative, critical thought cuts away the undergrowth, helps you recognize being, and lets you realize how magical and strange and mysterious and full of potential life is. Being is the mystery and the adventure.”

    here’s to your journey and adventure and seeking. i hold many of the same questions in my heart.