|This essay, Ask Me Anything, is the second in the first trilogy Questions For A Friend:||The second trilogy Questions For A Friend is:|
|The third trilogy Questions For A Friend is:||The fourth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:|
|The fifth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:||The sixth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:|
|The seventh trilogy Questions For A Friend is:||The eighth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:|
|The ninth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:||The tenth trilogy Questions For A Friend is:|
|The eleventh trilogy Questions For A Friend is:|
I scheduled an occasion, I set aside a now to be by my
Self to look at questions I would ask you if I could
be with you and ask you anything.
I sat in my chair, face to the wall, for about an hour totally stuck. I couldn't think of anything to ask you. No matter what question I came up with, a thought followed saying "No, not that one. You already know the answer to that one.". Not only that, but I also already knew the answer, so there wouldn't be any point asking you. Why waste precious time with you on things I already know? Even more to the point: given who you are, I want to come up with questions, the answers to which you have to look for, to which you have to reach for.
Eventually in my experience I came to the conclusion "It's totally hopeless. You already know everything! I can't come up with one ... single ... question the answer to which you don't already know.".
So ... my first question to you is:
"Do you know everything?"
In terms of
in terms of getting directly to the heart of the matter of
in peoples' lives, in terms of piercing through to what their real
concerns and issues are, there's never been anyone like you.
There's no one I know like you who in a conversation with any given
human being, can
move them to tears
as quickly as you can. Once they share with you what's happening in
their lives, then you coach them to locate and master (ie get their
hands and feet on) the levers, dials, and pedals of transformation
My next question to you is:
"What is the absolute minimum interaction you require with a human being, the absolute minimum you need to know about them before you can say exactly how you're going to coach them to transform their life?"
Can we please focus on horror for a moment. Let's look
at the World Trade Center on September 11 of 2001. Let's look at
Mumbai in November of 2008. Let's look at the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan and Gaza. Let's look at catastrophic violations of
human rights in Darfur and Zimbabwe. Let's look at the almost
incorrigible fact that all of the above comprise only a
very small selection of ongoing horror on
My third question to you is:
"Is it useful to include horror in a transformed context of being OK the way it is and OK the way it isn't?"
You've spoken about choosing to give up your reputation.
That may not be an exact quote, but I believe it's in the ball park
(please correct me if it isn't). It occurs to me your
reputation is something assigned to you by others. It
occurs to me, then, it would be others who would give
up your reputation since they assigned it to you. If I had a
reputation assigned to me by others, I can see others
giving up my reputation. I'm not clear on what it would be for me
to give up my own reputation for myself.
So my next question to you is:
"Would you please speak to the implications of giving up one's own reputation, and would you please share what opened up for you when you did that?"
A friend called me to tell me a family member had died. She was
I wonder: given the state of the world, given climatic and ecological disaster in the making, given a stretched to the limit and nearly collapsing financial system, when we reach the end and no longer have to struggle with the foibles of being human, wouldn't it be a good time to celebrate rather than grieve? We seem to have no more appropriate response to our loved ones passing than debilitating sadness and distress. And yet the passing of a human being at the end of their life is surely and certainly a quintessence of life being the way it is and the way it isn't.
For my next question, I'd like to ask you this:
"What is a transformed context in which to hold a loved one's passing, instead of being consumed by grief? I suspect it may be the same context to come from when we realize we're about to pass ourselves. Are they the same?"
Let's talk for a moment about what's popularly referred to as
enlightenment. There are distinctions which clearly set
transformation apart from enlightenment, not the least of which is
the kind of eastern connotation which surrounds
enlightenment but which transformation doesn't require.
Nonetheless, for the purposes of this conversation, to ask you
about your state of enlightenment is
good enough for
With others, what often obfuscates any inquiry like this is the widely held belief (or mis-belief as the case may be) that "those who know don't tell, and those who tell don't know".
That been said, my sixth question for you is:
"Are you enlightened? Are you a Zen master?"
(and in my estimation brilliantly) averred you don't discuss
with "people who don't know the difference between their
ass and a hole in the ground".
Well, it's taken me a while, but now I've finally figured out the difference between my ass and a hole in the ground, and it's this:
My ass is my ass and a hole in the ground is a hole in the ground.
So there! Now would you at last please discuss God with me, and answer this question I've been waiting years to ask you:
"What is God to you?"
The pace of the
conversation for transformation
has accelerated dramatically since its inception. As people become
more receptive to the notion of transformation itself, as people
become less skeptical that it can be reliably delivered, as people
become eager to receive transformation, their new open, inquiring,
expanded listening allows the conversation for
transformation to cover more ground in less time and go further now
than it did when you first introduced it on the world stage thirty
eight years ago.
On the other hand, the format for delivering transformation hasn't changed much at all in thirty eight years. There's still a central figure, a trainer, a leader at the front of a room delivering the scripted work in a theatre-like environment to a large group of people. The interactions with the leader are still personal, up close, face to face, and very down.
Personal, up close, face to face interactions with a trainer in front of a group of people seem critical, seem elemental, axiomatic even, to delivering transformation. It seems as if this particularly unique format simply goeswith the territory of delivering transformation (as Alan Watts may have said). Indeed, I've often wondered whether or not transformation can be delivered through any other media: books, videos, or via the internet ("webinars") for example. Personally I doubt it. However this may just be my own attachment to something I'm familiar with and comfortable with.
Here's my question:
"Can real transformation be reliably delivered in a format other than the tried, tested, and proved way in which one trainer or leader directs a meticulously mapped conversation in front of a large group of people?"
You've made an extraordinary difference in every arena of life
you've made it your business to participate in. You've made an
impact in the peace processes in Northern Ireland and in the Middle
East. You've made an impact in the political process in Costa Rica
and its sustainable democracy. You've created opportunities for
in science through the physics conferences you've hosted. Your work
causing the end of hunger as an idea whose time has
come is legend. You've coached award winning film and
television actors and recording stars, all of whom have credited
you with enabling them to master their craft. You're currently
involved in shifting most of the known business management
paradigms. You're a gold cup winning race car driver. And I
know I've just barely scratched the surface of the arenas into
which you've ventured and left enriched by your
I'd like to know:
"Are there any other fields of life left for you in which you've not yet participated in which you'd like to participate, to which you can bring transformation like a possibility, in which you know your presence and work will cause breakthroughs?"
Something happened. Something shifted in my being when I realized
I've come to my tenth question, when I realized I've come to my
final question to ask you. I've realized the first nine questions
simply set the stage so I can be with
you. With all the other questions now out of the way, I see there's
one question behind all the other questions I've asked
you, and that's the question I want to ask you now. Arguably it's
the only question I ever want to ask you. Arguably
it's the only question I ever want to ask. Period.
Here's the thing: I already know your answer. I know who you really are, so I already know what your answer will be. But I'm going to ask you anyway. Why I'm asking you this question already knowing what your answer will be is simply so I can listen you speaking your answer to this particular question. I like to listen where you speak your answer from. I've heard you speak your answer to this particular question many, many times actually, all around the world over decades for millions and millions of human beings. I'm clear your answer to this question is the total expression and more of who you really are in the world for human beings like a possibility.
My final question to you, and possibly my only really incisive question to you, my personal up against the wall question to you, my question to you in whose answer I've got nothing to lose and everything at stake, is this one:
"Do you love me? Do you really love me?"
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