The great spiritual teacher, Osho, has said, “There is no answer. There are only two ways for the mind to be: full of questions and empty of questions.” In Osho-speak, I interpret “empty of questions” to mean at peace with all that is, rather than full of answers.
In Self Reliance (1841), Emerson famously said, “Speak what you think today in words as hard as cannon balls, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said today.” There’s a nod to answers, to zeal, and to fluid thought. Consider a pedestrian example. Today, my favorite color is periwinkle blue, whereas yesterday it was undoubtedly lime green. Would anyone question my freedom to be newly certain, though I saw things completely differently 18 hours ago? Nah. Yet, do we permit ourselves the same freedom when it comes to our world views? Our values? Our paradigms?
Those beliefs are opinions too. If we dust off the ideas we cling to unconsciously and take a fresh look with “beginner’s mind,” do we feel the same as we once did? If so, cool. If not, cool. But there is always the choice to make a shift. In life, “the only constant is change.” And if our ideas are alive, doesn’t the same apply?
Frances Perkins, the first woman to hold a US cabinet position, said, “If I have been wrong, you may tell me so, for I really have no pride in judgment. I know all judgment is relative. It may be right today and wrong tomorrow. The only thing that makes it truly right is the desire to have it constantly moving in the right direction.” Judgement is an arduous task, because what is right can be a moving target. To be a great judge requires conviction more than correctness, given that what is correct morphs into new shapes all the time.
Take Simon Cowell. (Even if you are not an American Idol fan, you are probably familiar with him, as he is the quintessential critic archetype.) He calls it like he sees it, but despite his ascerbic delivery, he is known to change his mind. On a recent audition episode, after rejecting a female contestant, he muttered, “That was the wrong decision,”as the singer walked off stage. If someone as decisive as Cowell can question his answer moments afterward, the precariousness of judgment is evident.
Ultimately, who knows?
In Everyday Osho, the sage says, “When there are no questions, that state itself is the answer.” But you question that. Am I right?