THE POWER OF QUESTIONS - Chap. 4 - Unlocking Our Superpowers
THE POWER OF QUESTIONS
“It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.”
I returned to live with my parents in December of 2010 after completing the 4,500 mile bike tour with the Cultural Recyclists. I was bursting with inspiration and passion to put what I had learned into practice. I got involved with the Transition Town Movement which focuses on building community and transitioning towards a localized way of living. I became an event organizer and a “point person” for sustainability and consciousness in my hometown.
I was in love with life! I was planning events with friends, making lots of YouTube videos, and staying up late in jam sessions with fellow musicians. Although I felt like I was thriving, my parents were concerned that I didn’t have a “regular” paying job, and they wanted me to go back to college. After 15 months of “tasting freedom”, I reentered the standardized domain of Penn State University in fall of 2011. Mind you, I signed up for some pretty awesome classes which catalyzed me to grow and think outside the box. I met an inspiring professor named Chris Uhl, author of “Developing Ecological Consciousness.” I took his class called Biological Science, though many students called it “Waking Up 101.”
A few weeks into the semester, I did feel like I was “waking up” to new aspects of reality. I began to see the confinements of social norms and did my best to be a “glitch in the matrix,” by befriending people I wouldn’t normally talk to, going dumpster diving, and living spontaneously. One day I arrived to class, and Chris gave all the students a unique assignment : Write 100 open-ended questions about absolutely anything in under 30 minutes.
This simple task had an extremely profound impact on me and my consciousness. Rather than grasping for answers, the goal was to simply ask questions. I could handle that. I dove right in. The questions flew out of me like birds cooped up in a cage. As I wrote the first 50 questions, I felt a sense of freedom and excitement, like a little kid who had been given permission to eat as many cookies as he wanted. By number 65, I started to pose some very juicy questions to myself about the course of my life. Here are the last 35 questions I wrote:
65. What would I do if I dropped out of school?
Teach workshops, be a spiritual comedian?
Would my parents support me?
Would I use food stamps?
How soon will shit hit the fan in society?
Would I live in Peaceburgh?
Would I travel w/ or like Michael Garfield?
Would people support me using PayPal?
Where would I sleep?
How would I subsist?
Sell art, t-shirts, books, stickers?
I could bike tour maybe?
Live on an ecovillage?
Am I wasting energy and opportunity if I stay in school?
How can I best give my gifts?
What can I bring to Burning Man next year?
What if mad celebrities start waking up and want to support me and my ventures?
What would I spend the money on?
A center in Peaceburgh?
A center in Happy Valley?
A speaking tour?
Should I write a book?
Or just keep making videos, which flow easier?
Why is life so crazy?
Why is the sky blue?
Are ghosts just fear vibrations?
What is love?
Is god love?
What does infinite mean?
How can I most contribute towards a more beautiful world?
What is my highest potential path?
Who am I?
What is a question?
After this assignment, I began to seriously question whether I wanted to remain at Penn State, or flap my wings into the world of possibilities I had glimpsed on the bike trip. As I sat in class day after day, I felt a deep anxiety inside of me. “This is not what I’m meant to be doing,” I often thought to myself as I walked across campus. I had seen how much I could accomplish both on the bike trip and as a community organizer in Peaceburgh. Within the restrictions of school life, I felt like I was wasting time, and missing out on my destiny.
The questions above stirred in my mental crock pot for about 2 months before it was 100% clear to me that I needed to blaze my own trail outside of the college world. Much to my parents dismay, I broke the news that my plan was to leave school, and focus on creating Youtube Videos, Flowetry, and Community Organizing. This was a massive leap of faith for me, and it certainly hasn’t been easy. 4 years later I am still blazing my own trail, and this book is largely a byproduct of this exploratory journey!
Questions are so powerful because they open doorways to new possibilities.
They can act as “Fear Flashlights,” and shine a light of clarity, truth, and humor on a limiting story in your mind. As you pose questions to your mind’s fearful perspectives, these rigid viewpoints often melt away. Questions can also assist you in discovering your deepest desires and soul calling. I especially love “Juicy Questions”, which shake the foundation of your comfort zone.
Throughout this book, I will propose open-ended questions at the end of many sections or chapters for you to explore in your own life. Here are a few Questions about Questions :)
1. When have you asked a “juicy question” that made a big impact in your life?
2. What area of your life could use some investigative questioning?
3. How often do your friends and family ask you “juicy questions”?
“ Behind every problem, there’s a question trying to ask itself.
Behind every question, there’s an answer trying to reveal itself.
Behind every answer, there’s an action trying to take place.
Behind every action, there’s a way of life trying to be born. ”
~ Rev. Michael Beckwith
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