Our stressful, pain-filled experiences are not caused by people or events but by our reactions to them. And yet, if we will honestly examine the way we presently question our defeats, here’s what we see: we are still desperately seeking answers that serve only to correct the surface or exterior conditions. We are still blaming circumstances for crushing us. The direction of our questions proves that we are still thinking incorrectly about our problems.
This is supremely important to grasp if we wish to change our inner and outer world. By their very nature, our old questions tend to make and then keep us victims. They imply that someone or something outside of ourselves is punishing us. No human being is a victim of any punishment outside of their own undeveloped life-level from which their inner reactions are seen as outer attacks. This is why we must learn to turn our questions into tools for developing self-wholeness instead of letting them lead us off in the wrong direction.
These new questions are the power that defeats defeat. They alone assure total victory. Each time you ask the right question about an inner ache, you receive the new and right result of being released from the dark deceptions that want you to fight with life. Here are ten new questions that lead to self-wholeness. Use them to see the difference between how you used to think and how you will question defeat from now on. You will win!
Questions for Developing Self-Wholeness
1. Instead of always asking yourself why things always happen to you, learn to ask: What is it inside of me that attracts these painful situations?
2. Instead of always asking yourself why things had to go this way or that way, learn to ask: Why is the way I feel always determined by external conditions?
3. Instead of always asking yourself how to protect yourself in challenging situations, learn to ask: What is it in me that always needs to be defended?
4. Instead of always asking yourself how to clear up your mental fog, learn to ask: Can confusion know anything about clarity?
5. Instead of always asking yourself what to do about tomorrow (or the next minute), learn to ask: Can there ever be intelligence in anxiety or worry?
6. Instead of always asking yourself why so-and-so acts this or that way, learn to ask: What’s inside of me that wants to hurt itself over how anyone else acts?
7. Instead of always crying out “Why me?” learn to ask: Who is this “me” that always feels this way?
8. Instead of always asking yourself if you’ve made the right choice, learn to ask: Can fear ever make a safe decision?
9. Instead of always asking yourself why doesn’t so-and-so see how wrong they are, learn to ask: Is what I’m feeling about that person right now good for me? Or them?
10. Instead of always asking yourself how to get others to approve you, learn to ask: What do I really want, the applause of the crowds or to quietly have my own life?
(Excerpted from The Secret of Letting Go, Rev. Edition, Llewellyn)