Inquiry is a Good Friend in a Crisis

There is one thing certain about crises:

  • First: they come unexpectedly
  • Second: we tend to ignore the beginnings
  • Third: we fight them initially
  • Fourth: we finally surrender
  • Fifth: Inquiry is the best way to handle the uncertainty a crises causes.

Engaging in inquiry means to be willing to look into what we do not know or understand, and to search for the coherence of a situation that we dislike. When we are courageous we can even find out what others see that might differ from our own perception.

Turning to inquiry is a way of being that invites dialogue, with ourselves and with others. Real and deeper inquiry, into ourselves, into life or into a situation, requires the ability to listen. Only when we suspend the urge to find a quick explanation for what is, when silence is allowed to take space, only then can inquiry lead to the depths of life’s data. What is known and interpreted as meaning this or that can be dismantled and re-synthesized.

In a difficult-to-answer question is a request to open beyond the old interpretations and take a fresh look at what one thinks one already knows. An attentive inquiry is likely to transform our habitual tendency to listen only to what we already know and overcome our inertia to go beyond conforming our memory’s choices to the meaning we made up long ago.

The ability to inquire is to perturb and penetrate the ordinariness of our past explanations, to go beyond it into the unknown and open and allow, with the question, a possibility to emerge that would not do so otherwise. It is a commitment to new possibilities of life.

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Author: Petra Kuenkel,

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