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Life Asks You Only One Question

Are you present?

Close-up o tiny green tree frog on a bean stalk.
Tiny frog resting on a bean stalk at Evergreen. He - or she - is present as life unfolds. Photo by Rob Ainsworth.

Have you ever heard Life ask you a question?


Usually, we ask Life questions, not the other way around.


But Life is asking us one big question all the time. However, we’re so busy shouting our questions at Life that we can’t hear Life’s quiet, persistent voice.


We yell our questions into the air, arms held high in a beseeching pose as we look heavenward. Or we bang the table or jump up and down in annoyance, or slam a door, or throw a hissy fit.


We all have our way of showing frustration at what Life throws at us, in an attempt to chuck it back where it came from, to place the blame for all that’s going wrong in our life back onto the source of it all.


Questions we ask Life go something like this:


  • Why is this happening to me?

  • When will my prince/princess come?

  • Where is my lost black sock with reinforced toe and heel?

  • Who can save me from this predicament of my own making?

  • What is waiting for me around the corner?

  • How can I survive another day at work with such a crazy boss?

  • What’s wrong with this stupid brand-new Apple computer?

  • Why can’t I get what I want?

  • Add your most common one here, with a big question mark after it.


What if we were to reverse our usual procedure?

Instead of asking Life endless questions, let Life question us.


What Does Life Ask of You?


Steve Taylor, an English psychologist and poet who writes books on psychology and spirituality, wrote a poem called, ‘What Life Asks of You’.


The poem is short, doesn’t rhyme, has no complicated rhythm, flows conversationally, and is easy to understand. The final two lines answer the question of what Life is asking us:


It asks for nothing but our awareness. It only expects us to be present, as it unfolds.


Next time you have a big question you want to ask Life, don’t shout it out in anger. Just close your mouth, relax your body, and listen, because every question you have is Life asking you a question:


Are you present?


Are You Present?

As Taylor says in his poem, Life doesn't expect you to change the course of history or prove your value. Life just asks us to be present.


So, whenever you are faced with a dilemma, or stand at a crossroads, or don't get what you wanted. ask yourself Am I present?


Asking yourself this question will show you the next step to take.


When you are present, you find that Life is unfolding, and so are you.


With love, Marlane

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