Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The value of questioning

Last year, nearly exactly a year ago, actually - I attended a retreat in New York to see Pema Chodron teach. She has been one of the greatest influences of my practice and I appreciate her teachings so much.

Also teaching with her was Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel. The talk she gave at the retreat resonated with me in a profound way and changed and continues to change my life significantly.

She has written a book called The Power of an Open Question and has a blog where she invites people to post questions to her. I wrote her a question about a month ago and upon my return from Berlin there was an email from her secretary letting me know that Elizabeth has composed a response (She doesn't believe in answers as answers imply that you 'know' something. I have tested this and totally agree. Questions allow us to remain open, answers lead to closed minds).

Well, the response is published on her site now!

I'm absolutely over the moon to have someone I so admire engage in communication with me. Her response is wonderfully articulate and you can read it here: http://www.elizabethmattisnamgyel.com/logic-love/

If you haven't time to read it one of the key things that I love about her response (because she has given me words I was struggling to find on my own but had a very strong felt sense of) is:
"To say that someone does not deserve compassion lacks the humility and understanding that we actually don’t know anything or anyone in a determinate way. We don’t see the fullness and complexity of any situation. To think that someone is limited to the idea you have of him\her is not in accord with the way things are. It is extremely myopic and narrow."

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