In the quest towards self-realization, the quality of the questions we ask is vital. Voltaire, therefore, said, “Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” And Eugene Ionesco ventured, “It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.” You’ll find throughout the yoga wisdom texts that people are congratulated when they ask good questions. For example, in Srimad Bhagavatam the teacher Sukadeva appreciates his student’s question about what he should do to prepare for death. Sukadeva answers: “My dear King, your question is glorious because it is very beneficial to all kinds of people. The answer to this question is the prime subject matter for hearing, and it is approved by all transcendentalists.”
Some corporations inspire their team members to ask questions to probe deeper and improve their operations. For example, Fast Company, a magazine that tracks successful businesses, says, “Google’s culture encourages asking questions and sharing information. Their goal is to have happier employees and they have found that when employees are allowed to ask questions, they get clarity, which leads to greater efficiency and quality in their work.”
We have also seen how simple questions changed the course of history. Sir Isaac Newton famously questioned why apples fall from trees. His ruminations on these questions led to his description of gravity. Newton asked the question, “If the apple falls, does the moon also fall?” This simple question propelled Newton forward on the path towards his significant accomplishments which included describing gravity, the movements of the planets, and breakthroughs in mechanics. These breakthroughs ultimately set off a chain reaction in science which led to The Industrial Revolution.
Another famous example of a question changing the world is when Albert Einstein asked, “What would happen if I rode a beam of light?” This led him to develop his theory of relativity, which changed the way the scientific community viewed space and time. Ask a deep question. Change your world.
Asking deep questions requires discipline and practice. For instance, when you’re studying music, unless you practice, you won’t have any questions to bring to your teacher. when you practice, you’re sure to discover an obstacle thus prompting you to ask your teacher how to overcome it. The music student asks, “How do I move my finger from here to there?” Albert Einstein advised, “The important thing is to not stop questioning.”
Succinctly, the quality of your questions determines the quality of your life. We are lifted to the level of our questions. Live life to generate deep questions.
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