Questions That Reflect and Remind

Various Topics Offering Points for Observation

These questions are not asked for the purpose of receiving an answer. Or at least, that’s not their main intention. They come so that I may recognize the difference between what I think is happening, or what the thought is telling me is happening, and what is actually true. Is it me or is it my perspective?

Asking these questions allows us to look at the answer given and ask ourselves if we truly believe in the assertion or conclusion that was reached via this thought. Through this, I can look at the thought rather than allowing it to control me. I can observe it rather than letting it determine what I think or how I act.

When I don’t believe my thoughts, I can see the simplicity and beauty that is me. I can know that the thoughts are telling me a story about life, but that they don’t actually touch it. 

The questions “what do I believe this says about me” or “what do I believe this does to me” help us to focus our attention on observation and make it difficult for the mind to embark on its mission to tempt us to return to its familiar rules.   

This is similar to what one does in a yoga practice, rooting to the floor in a stable position so that the body can be assured that it will remain consistently in contact with the ground. Not with force, but with determination – a type of determination that comes only from knowing the truth; from an agreement to be fully where I am. 

 

What if it’s not true?

 

  • What if it’s not true that you will not be loved if you do not succeed?
       
  • What if it’s not true that you will be taken advantage of if you are not in control?

     

  • What if it’s not true that you won’t be happy if you have been forced to do something?

     

  • What if it’s not true that you can’t do something if you don’t yet know how?

     

  • What if being ridiculed doesn’t mean you can’t do something – what would you see from that place?

     

  • What if it’s not true that you won’t be able to advance in your career unless you leave your workplace?

     

If it’s not good and it’s not bad – then what is it? What’s truly happening in this moment? 

 

  • If my relationship ending is neither good nor bad, then what is actually happening in this moment?

     

  • If my not being promoted at work is neither good nor bad, then what is actually happening in this moment?

     

  • If my daughter being on the phone a lot is neither good nor bad, then what is actually happening in this moment?

     

  • If failing to accomplish something makes me neither sad nor happy, then what is actually happening in this moment?

     

What happens when I’m reminded that this isn’t the only possibility?

 

  • If staying with him despite the pain doesn’t necessarily mean that I have low self-worth, what else can it mean?

     

  • If returning despite everyone telling me not to doesn’t necessarily mean I’m making a mistake, what can I see from here?

     

  • If someone breaking my trust doesn’t necessarily mean that I need to distance myself from him, where can it take me?

     

  • If someone expresses faith in me and I think he’s mistaken, but I also understand that I’m not necessarily right, what can I do with that?

     

What would it really do to you if you couldn’t do the things you are used to doing? 

 

  • What would it really do to you if you couldn’t eat the food you are used to eating?

     

  • What would it really do to you if you couldn’t have a quiet day off because he wants you to be with him?

     

  • What would it really do to you if you didn’t have access to a vehicle anytime you needed?

     

  • What would it really do to you if you couldn’t exercise every day?

     

  • What would it really do to you if you couldn’t go out at least one night a week?

     

  • What would it really do to you if you didn’t have a TV?

     

  • What really happens to you when your computer suddenly stops working?

     

  • What really happens to you when you can’t take a shower because there’s no hot water?

     

  • What if you didn’t have Wi-Fi? What would this really do to you?

     

What if you couldn’t get something that you really, really wanted? 

 

  • What do you think would happen if you knew that you couldn’t allow yourself to buy or rent that apartment you so want?

     

  • What if you couldn’t allow yourself to go into a specific store, but someone else could?

     

  • What do you think it would do to you if you couldn’t go on that hike you were waiting for because you hurt your knee?

     

  • What would it say about you if you couldn’t be part of the inner circle? What would it do to you?

     

What if you can’t get something you think you couldn’t live without? 

 

  • What would it really do to you if you couldn’t go to a party any time you want?

     

  • What would really happen to you if you couldn’t know whether he has been with another woman?

     

  • What would it say about you or do to you if you couldn’t know whether she truly wants you?

     

  • What would it say about you or do to you if you couldn’t know whether your presentation will be successful?

     

  • What would it say about you or do to you if you never become a mother?

     

  • What would it say about you or do to you if you never get married?

     

  • What would it say about you or do to you if you spent yet another birthday alone?

     

What if the thing that calms your fears couldn’t happen?   

 

  • What does it truly say about me or do to me when I go to bed at night without having a smoke?

     

  • What does it truly do to me when I can’t be confident that he won’t lie to me?

     

  • What does it truly do to me or say about me when I can’t be certain that she will never leave me?

     

  • What does it truly do to me or say about me when I can’t be sure that he won’t find someone else?

     

  • What does it truly do to me or say about me when I agree to do something that I know I won’t be able to fulfil?

     

  • What does it truly say about me or do to me when I can’t be sure she trusts me?

     

  • What does it truly do to me when I can’t be sure that he won’t trick me?

     

  • What does it truly say about me or do to me if I don’t leave even though I really want to?

     

What if you can’t be certain that you are right or seeing things correctly? 

 

  • How will I know what to do if I don’t believe her when she says that she wants me – but I’m not sure that I’m actually right?

     

  • What can I do or how can I act if I don’t believe her that she is here for me – but I’m not sure it’s actually like that?

     

  • How can I know what to do if I think he is laughing at me – but maybe it’s not actually true?

     

  • How can I know what I should do next if I think there is no reason to speak with him – but perhaps that’s not the case?

     

  • What can I do if I think there is no chance that she wants – but maybe I’m wrong?

     

  • What can I do if I think that he doesn’t love me – but maybe it’s not really like that?

     

  • How can I know what to do if I’m not sure that I will be financially set when I’m older but I really want to help my daughter now?

     

  • How can I decide what to do if I don’t want to stay with him but can’t be sure I won’t be lonely if I leave?

     

  • How can I decide what to do if I’m not sure I’ll be able to help my husband later but he’s asking me to promise now?

     

  • How can I decide whether to tell someone that I see something that might be hard for him to hear, when I know that I might see things differently later?

Questions That Reflect and Remind – According to Topic:

Mirror

  • If I see myself reflected in another person, but it doesn’t say anything about whether I’m OK or not OK, what does it mean about me and what does it mean about him? What does it do to me? 

  • If the mirror reflects to me a belief that I am clinging to, but I have difficulty accepting this reflection or living with it, what does this say about me? 

  • How will I live if I know that everything I believe shows itself in my life and I can’t hide or lie to anyone? 

  • If we are always creating reality because we believe in thoughts and magnetize circumstances, feelings and results to ourselves, how can it not be my fault if things are bad? 

  • If I am wrong when I am afraid to think bad thoughts because I think they will bring bad circumstances upon me, what do these bad thoughts actually do? 

  • If I am wrong when I see a thought in the mirror and am embarrassed by it, what can I learn from this? 

 

Change

  • How will you live if you know that as long as you continue to believe the same thoughts, any adjustment you make won’t really change anything and the current reality will repeat itself? 

  • If you know that even if you don’t initiate change, it doesn’t mean you’ll remain in one place or that new movement and unprecedented results will not occur, how will you act? What will you do? 

  • If you know that true change happens when you see it and recognize that your reality reflects your thoughts, what can you do so that the reality will change?

  • What thought brings you to the same reality in an endless cycle, over and over again? 

  • What will you see and what will happen if you know that this thought is false and deceiving you? What will you do now? 

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Failure

  • If, when I don’t do something that I promised I’d do, it doesn’t mean that I am not successful, what does it mean to take responsibility?

  • If I know that I am only weakening myself if I say insulting and difficult things about myself when I’m unable to achieve a result or do something that I really wanted to do, how will I act?

  • If in order for there to be failure there needs to be a measure of success, and both have been invented by man, what does it mean if I say that “I have failed”?

  • If I remember, when I don’t meet expectations or when I face failure, that I am wonder and love, what does this do for me?

  • Can I be strict and rigorous with myself without punishing or degrading myself?

Previous

Practicality

A few words about practicality:

If, when we say “practical”, we don’t notice that we assume there is some sort of agreed upon measure of “practicality”, what will we do as soon as we understand that this is the case? 

For example: “This job is practical”. What does that even mean? Is it practical because it’s close to where I live? It is practical because it pays well? Or it is practical because it’s challenging and can teach me a lot? Is it practical because it gets me out of the house? Or is it practical because it helps many people? Or maybe because it ensures that someone less nice than me won’t get a job there? 

In order to be practical, the mind wants to follow familiar maps and guidelines. It wants to walk along paths that it knows and understands. It wants agreed upon signposts and rules that it can succeed in following. And any deviation is dangerous or worthy of scorn or contempt.   

For the mind, something that is practical is something that works best according to what is familiar and known; something that knows how to use laws and rules, and even people, to achieve what it wants or to prevent that which it doesn’t want.

Approaching practicality or efficiency from a place like this creates a reality of repetitive cycles surrounding the same truths and beliefs and an inability for allowing the new, strange or unique to take place. These things will instead appear as a threat and force will be exerted to eliminate them, to remove them from the agenda and restore order. If order is not restored by us, it will be restored by our friends and acquaintances, whether through a discussion of worldviews and perceptions, or through judgment or dismissal of what was said. What will I do then? What will I feel? What will this say about me or what will it do to me? What does it remind me and what does it stir in me? 

True practicality is knowing that everything is possible. It is knowing that things change shape, that structure sometimes limits or suppresses, that there is no one way – but that when I, like Icarus, surrender into silence and helplessness, the way will reveal itself. A path will appear beneath my feet and I will hear the laughter of simplicity from deep inside of me, and sometimes through the eyes of others. 

    • If I know that the thought telling me that I shouldn’t do something unless I know what I’m doing and where it will lead me is a thought that takes me in closed circles, what will I begin to do?  

    • If practicality is not taking familiar shortcuts to do something, then what is it? 

    • If practicality is the ability to create a new path that will allow for what’s time has come, what will I do and what will I look for? 

    • If the main purpose of something that is practical lies not in its efficiency but rather in its results and the possibilities it presents, what will change in the way I act today? 

Identity and Affiliation

  • If being a refugee is neither a good thing nor a bad thing, what am I seeing?

  • If a refugee only remains a refugee through his affiliation with the place from which he was exiled, how will his life look if he knows that he is now here? 

  • What happens to the refugee once he knows that affiliation is a matter of conception? And what happens when he remembers that he belongs everywhere, because he is one with everything?

  • What can happen if we realize that refugees are yet another situation reminding us that we are temporary and that all we can do is remember this and remain loyal to those things that have been given to us – nature, people, things that are alive and growing, the wonder that together is us?

  • And what would happen if the cities in which these refugees live decided that that they could give up their preconceived image of “who they are” – that they could give up their stubbornness and insistence upon definition? 

  • And perhaps I myself am not allowing familiar constructs to crumble? What will happen if I were to allow it?

Falseness

    • Consider: When might you be lying to yourself?

      • When might you be telling yourself stories about how you wish things were but aren’t really? 

      • When might you be pretending to be the image you have created of yourself instead of getting to know who you truly are? 

      • When might you think you want to know something about yourself or another person (who is really your mirror) but don’t really? 

    • Consider: When do you think that you are empty?

      • When do you believe that you are lacking and must be completed? 

      • When do you believe that you need to look outside in order to be whole again, something which makes you fearful inside of yourself and dependent upon others?

    • Consider: When might you be expressing clear distrust in yourself and others, questioning or disbelieving that growth, remembrance and life are possible?

      • When do you believe that you are better off hiding, lest it break you, or destroy you or another person? 

      • When do you believe that anger directed at you or someone else’s discovery of who you are really will lead to rejection, in your own eyes or in the eyes of others? 

      • When do you think that if someone sees something in you that you yourself don’t like, it means that this is how you will always be?  

    • Where do you want not to be?

      • When is the pain so strong that you choose to cut off contact? To not feel? To extinguish your feelings? 

      • When is the pain so strong that you begin to avoid situations or people in order to avoid feeling? 

      • When are you tired of life?

      • When are you tired of yourself?
         
      • When are you hiding yourself fully – showing the world a mask? 

      • When do you choose to disappear? To not feel? To not let your true self show? 

      • When do you attempt to control aspects of yourself and the world around you by creating an illusion, a place where you call all the shots, direct the roles, make arrangements and are responsible for all aspects of doing – the decision-maker and the puppeteer? 

    A good place to look is in those places where you are straining; where you are afraid that you will be discovered; where you are investing energy in building an image; in convincing; in interpreting; when you want to the world to accept you and what you want. 

    This might find its expression in plastic surgery, in your chosen profession, in the supermarket with the cashier or with your children or partner. 

    “I open the door – not to leave but to let the day in.”

    Erri De Luca, The Day Before Happiness.