When I was younger, I decided that I didn’t want to reach my deathbed feeling like I’d missed the whole point of this life. I realized that in order to avoid that problem, I’d have to create a connection between exploring the big questions and my everyday life.
What Are the Big Questions?
The big questions are yours to discover and explore. Here are some of mine:
- What is the nature of this reality? How does it actually work?
- Is this reality objective (a world of objects and energy that I inhabit as a physical being with consciousness) or subjective (a dream-like world where consciousness is primary and everything sensory is a simulation within this greater consciousness)?
- What will happen to me when I die?
- How long might I be able to extend my life here, and in what form?
- Can I trust this universe? And what does it mean to trust or distrust the universe?
- Is the universe itself conscious in some way?
- What is intimacy? How deep can intimacy go with another person? How well can I know someone?
- What exactly am I? Am I this body with a consciousness? Am I this consciousness that contains a body that I can animate?
- Why do I seem to be present and aware?
- Why am I here?
- Who are the best people for me to connect with while I’m here? How will I recognize them?
- How can I merge the objective and subjective lenses to make better decisions? And can I consistently practice the ability to use both lenses in key situations?
- How much time is wise to spend learning for myself vs. sharing with the world? Does sharing with the world matter? Am I just sharing with myself when I do that?
- Do people communicate energetically somehow? When I get inspired by article ideas that practically write themselves, why do they feel like transmissions that I’m receiving?
- How shall I use my remaining time here, especially if I don’t know how much is left?
Living the Big Questions
When I was younger, I was given answers to some of these questions in the form of religion. I learned to memorize and regurgitate those answers on command, rewarded for obedience and punished for independent thought. As I became a teenager, however, those answers became less satisfying, and I eventually came to regard them as nonsensical and internally incongruent. By the time I was 17, I felt that my own intelligence had already exceeded the intellectual depth and honesty of those answers.
At the time I didn’t really know how to explore those questions though, so I not only threw out the old answers, I also threw out the questions and stopped asking them for a while. That eventually became unsatisfying too, and so I circled back to the questions when I thought I was ready.
Moreover, the initial questions I was taught to ask were poor questions to begin with, such as Is there a god? or How can I overcome my sinful nature? Such questions begin with assumptions that only loop back to religion. It took me a while to discover that there are much better questions to be asking. I feel very fortunate to have escaped the circular trap of religious thinking. That was a difficult step because in order to escape, I had to turn towards fear and face it. I had to turn towards the mystery.
I went through various rounds of grasping onto early answers and exploring them. I can’t say that was too much of a mistake because it led to many explorations, some crazier than others. I learned a lot through immersion in various belief systems. This showed me that the popular answers to these questions were really just guesses and the true answers weren’t known because we didn’t have the necessary data.
Embracing the Mystery
Next I entered a more patient phase of living with the questions without trying to force answers to them. This has been the most enjoyable phase of all. Instead of forcing the mystery to a resolution, I like living with the mystery unresolved.
When I close my mind by clinging to a belief system, I only limit myself. Synchronicities slow down or cease. The flow of life somehow becomes dampened. I feel disconnected and alone. I can no longer hear the music.
But when I re-engage with the mystery, the flow of life resumes. Reality feels wondrous again. Relationships and abundance flow with ease. I can hear the music, and it’s beautiful.
Perhaps that is the point of this life – to explore the mystery by living inside of it.
Why not allow the mystery to exist without forcing it to a false resolution? Can you breathe into that space and allow your life to fill it? Can you stretch beyond the walls of foolish answers to these questions and live in the mystery, even knowing that the mystery may still be unresolved when you die?
What if life is a story that never ends? What if the mystery never gets solved? Could you handle a reality like that?