I love this quote from Nancy Willard, used by Michael Stainier, “Answers are closed rooms and questions are open doors that invite us in.”
Words are important. Words shaped into questions are hugely important. Words that develop what is called ‘mindfulness’ are the most important of all. Mindfulness, according to the dictionary is “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.” Last time, we talked about the action of ‘drawing out’ deeply held purposes from another person through questions. Picture a diver breaking the surface of the water after a period of time below the waterline. Self-awareness is that moment when we become mindful of an issue, memory, priority, or sometimes pain, that has lingered out of our conscious thought. We think of these unconscious thoughts as having little impact on our day to day lives, but a brain study from 2010 revealed that we are what we give our attention to. It is using up a great deal of energy, unconsciously pointing us that thing that pulls us inexorably towards itself. For instance, if we are thinking of buying a red Toyota Camry, all of sudden we notice every red Camry that passes us in traffic.
A simple question such as “What’s on your mind?”, walks across the room and opens the door for another, providing a gentle pressure release valve that allows someone to become aware of what needs active attention.