Written by: Virginia Macali
Date: December 31, 2015
Rainer Maria Rilke wrote “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
From here, we ask questions that don’t necessarily lead to quick answers or a conclusion. He lets the questions themselves shape, orient, and guide. They evoke, prompt, deepen. Perhaps the questions you ask yourself are changing as you age and live more fully into life. Two recent books explore the questions that arise with aging.
Inside Stories for Aging with Grace by Sherry Ruth Anderson was written as a woman sought a map or guidance for living life mid-life and beyond. Sherry felt the need to explore what she calls “Soul-level questions.
Part I of her book begins with this question from Jim Thomas: “The question we encounter as we grow old is this: How do we allow ourselves to be shaped and transformed by our experience?”
Anderson celebrates this season of life as a season or ripening and maturing. She uses questions as pointers to get closer to the essence of life, especially in this time of ripening. She sees a longing to understand ourselves, our times, and our lives.
Here are some of the questions she raises:
How do you feel about becoming an elder? What does this word mean to you? Have you wanted to be an elder? Avoided it?
How do you feel about the endings that are near or have already occurred in your life? What is opened in you, or shut down, by these times?
In The Spirituality of Age: A Seeker’s Guide to Growing Older, Robert L. Weber Ph.D., and Carol Orsborn, Ph.D. call for a new way of looking at aging and spirituality. Their book explores 25 questions around spiritual maturity and spiritual awakening. The book itself is a personal and open-ended sharing of the author’s responses to each of the questions. They respond, but do not attempt to answer questions for anyone else.
Here are some of their questions:
- How can we become more fully ourselves?
- What qualities did you neglect in the first half of your life that you are now free to develop?
- What is the value of aging to society?
Maybe you are already living with some of the questions. Maybe some of these questions are new to you. What questions do you want to live in now? What questions are you living with? What questions would you like to add to your own inquiry?