“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.” ~ Albert Einstein ~
I was an inquisitive child, according to my parents. I was always asking questions about the nature of ‘life, the universe and everything.’ My mother would joke (I think) that they were usually asked at the dinner table and often about sex. My sister didn’t need to ask those questions, since I did it first. I was often seen carrying a book to read wherever I was, including in the car and the bathroom. No surprise since my father would call the bathroom ‘the library’. To this day, a book is often my companion to read when eating alone, or traveling. I am never bored and say that I am, instead, frequently fascinated. My imagination runs wild with abandon, pondering the nature of life. I peek under leaves (literal and symbolic) to turn over new ones. I rarely take anything at face value and generally dig deep to discover answers. Hard to understand people who are content to have a bland, question-less existence.
I question the nature of reality, pondering what differentiates fact from perception. I became a professional interviewer, in part, because I wanted to get to know people on a deeper level and open the windows to their worlds for readers to enter. Over the past nearly 25 years, I have explored the inner worlds of transformational teachers such as Ram Dass, Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson, Jack Canfield, Debbie Ford, Arielle Ford, Dennis Weaver, Ben & Jerry, Shirley MacLaine, Dan Millman, Louise Hay, Richard Bach, Joan Borysenko, Michael Franti and Elizabeth Lesser.
When I had the profound blessing of interviewing His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 2008, my questions were not the typical form or of a political nature. Instead, I wanted to know what brought him joy. His answers were heartening and all about connection with his fellow humans. He responded:
“Joy, I think, talking with people and my own motivation is sincere. I consider others as just brothers and sisters. Nothing barrier. I think you notice, like yesterday, when I talk to a few thousand people, I just feel I am talking to an old friend. Like that. I never felt some kind of distance, so therefore, I feel one source of happiness. In that kind of atmosphere, my experience seems some benefit to some people. I feel like my life is something purposeful. Many people have told me that after they listen to my talk, some point which I made, they got certain ideas and their whole life is changed. They are happier. One scientist had discussions about love and compassion. Usually, he felt irritation. After our meeting, for some months, anger never come. ”
I asked him how we can demonstrate affection to those whose paths we cross. “Real affection comes from the face. Those political leaders, when they meet, they are always hugging, but not very genuine. Deep, sincerity comes from face and eye. When you entered, you showed that face. I thought, “This is sincere. Not political hugging.” I assured him that indeed, it was not political hugging that passed between us.
If you realized that all of the answers in the Universe could be found by means of inquiry, what questions would you ask? And would you willing to listen with open ears, mind and heart, standing ready in holy curiosity?