questioning, doubtingSometimes I come across a piece of psychological thinking that is so clarifying, illuminating, enriching, and laconic  that I feel instantly compelled to share it.  This happens often, in fact.

For example, it happened tonight when I read a January 22nd blog-post by Lama Surya Das, entitled Deep Questioning.  I encourage you to read his piece on being questioned and questioning yourself: it amounts to no less than a senior year of graduate-level counseling training (in value, not in duration).

His blog post took me back to a moment when – about a year ago, during an encounter with Lama Surya Das in Pittsburgh – I pointed a finger at him and “fired” an irreverent koan: “Who is this?”

In retrospect, it’s clear to me that I was doubting the guru and testing him to see if he knew himself, if he could tell his essential self from his mind-forms.  As I look back at that moment, it is similarly clear to me that I was also doubting and testing myself.

From what I can tell, we both passed my test: neither he nor I were my doubts; both of us inhaled and exhaled and continued to be, ultimately invulnerable to each others’ thoughts about each other.

So, that’s that.  But here’s a related point: question the question!

There is no such thing as “just a question.”  A question – as any quest, as any search – is always a motivated endeavor.   Ask yourself: “What am I seeking (to find out and/or confirm) with this question and why?” and “What compels me to ask this question right now?”  And, of course, “Who is this who is asking this question?”

And (I almost forgot): do doubt your gurus and do doubt your doubt!

Photo by Horia Varlan, available under a Creative Commons attribution license.