What is The Question? You have probably asked it many times before. It takes different forms such as: What is the purpose of life, What is “it” all about, Who am I, or any other existential question.
Many people have questions like these and there are no shortages of people selling answers or cheap solutions.
Some examples of “answers” are cosmologies such as one where God loves you and when you die you will be with Him in Heaven, The Secret Law of Attraction, or even Buddhism, science, or drug induced peak experiences.
While some of these might provide solace, ways to improve your life or your intellect, or insight into The Answer, none of these provide The Answer itself.
Unfortunately, The Answer to The Question isn’t easily transmitted. It is as if—despite the sages that have come before us, with their teachings and their writings and their methods—we must each reenact the journey for ourselves; to perpetually rediscover all the depths that have already been explored. You can’t look it up on Wikipedia and you certainly won’t find it in this blog post; if you could, The Answer wouldn’t be referred to as The Unknowable.
The Answer is ever elusive because
The Question is ever evolving.
Why is the answer to questions like “What is it all about” and “Who am I” so elusive? It is because as answers are discovered by the question asker, the question asker evolves and thus so does the question. As one’s understanding deepens, “it” and “am” and “I” deepen even further, just past one’s grasp. In this way, answers to The Question are always temporary—satisfactory only to the old you. As in the Tao Te Ching: “The name that can be named is not the constant name”.
As you progress in life you often times feel like you’re losing ground, less certain about your abilities or your wisdom, than when you were younger. With The Question coming up time and time again, and with some of the answers that come up, it is understandable that one might come to a nihilistic view, an existential crisis, or depression.
However, this infinite treadmill can be a source of comfort too; no matter how much you “get it” there is always room to “get it” more. Whatever span of life you have left, you can use it to grow the depth and span of your relationships, to strive towards liberating all sentient beings, to improve your artistic abilities, to reaching ever higher levels of awareness, etc. You may never achieve The Answer, but you’ll be more impressive than if you had never attempted.
So, What is “it” all about?
I invite you to leave a comment with what you think it is all about.
I’m inclined to say that it is all about growth via asking The Question in pursuit of The Answer. Though this answer might get me hit on the head by a Zen Master’s stick!
- From a Zen standpoint you can get The Answer in an instant. It’s not that “you” “get” The Answer, it is that you are The Question and there is no Answer, or you are The Answer and there is no Question, or both. This will get me hit too 🙂
- If you only ask The Question, but have no actions in life you’ll probably become suicidal. Better to live an integral life where you ground The Question in a meditative practice, keep physically active, socialize, and eat a healthy diet.