Meditation Column: A time for questions and a time for silent observation

Patrick Kelly

“Question” defined is a group of words formed together to gain information or answers. We question for many reasons; to gain knowledge, to validate a statement or situation, to seek truth and understanding. Questioning is an apparent essential to further the development of humankind. Most often a positive act but sometimes considered a negative. Positive, for instance, if it results in the betterment of a situation or humanity. Deemed negative, if the questioning is used to belittle someone or damage, manipulate, lie, etc.

Many people have little to question, either due to the fact that they have great knowledge or they do not want to appear unintelligent. Situations or thinking that prevent questioning can be stifling. Be aware when you do not question because you think you have all the answers. This behavior can bring an end to knowledge and wisdom. Of course, don’t hold back because you don’t want to appear “stupid” as some say. This behavior stunts growth in personal education as well as human and spiritual growth, if that’s where you’re headed.

We question to “get the facts,” call out a false truth, to learn, educate, find solutions; sometime to insult and tease, to test loyalty, etc. The student of meditation is aware of when they themselves question. The pupil adds something, an observation on the very behavior itself.

The students sat in the grass quietly listening to the lesson of the day. One asked of another, “Why does the teacher take such a round-about way to get to the point.” Distracted by their own question, the student became preoccupied with mental thoughts and lost focus on the content of the teachings. As class ended, many students approached the instructor with thankfulness and bowed heads, rejoicing over the guidance and knowledge received. Bewildered, the questioning student asked their friend, “What did I miss?” Their friend replied, “There are times for questions and times for silent observation. Learn that and you haven’t missed anything.” The student responded, “Nameste.”

A meditation, try it out here and there, when it comes to mind, or not. Focus your attention as you would when meditating. Bring to mind something you have questioned or do question. For a moment, observe how things may have gone if you had simply observed, then be present as your mind answers that thought on its own. Be aware if you get pulled into a bunch of thinking or mental movies while you’re practicing this meditation. Return to the object of focus when necessary and start the meditation again. Practices such as these can be challenging, especially when you’re allowing yourself to think on something while being aware of the pull of obsessive thinking. You can do it.

It’s a new day. Your day. ••