Have you ever had a question of great importance to you, yet when you searched for the answer you never found one that was satisfying? Have you received an answer to something that never really felt complete – or it only got you so far?

The trouble is two-fold. First, we live in a culture of quick answers and quick fixes. These may take the edge off, but long term they are not very satisfying. Second, we give authority over to others for the answers we need in our own life. We forget that we are the experts in our life.

So what do we do?

I found comfort and great success in finding my answers when I learned to “carry the question”. The idea of carry the question comes from indigenous and ancient cultures. They recognize that the great questions in our lives cannot be answered in 5 minutes. It can take 5 weeks, 5 months, 5 years, etc. – depending on the question.

These questions, like:

What is my purpose?
What am I supposed to do with my life?
What kind of partner will serve me in love?
What kind of person should I marry?
What is my role as a father, mother, grandparent, mentor, coach,….
What do I need to be happy?
What career path should I choose?
What do I do with my life now that the children are gone?

cannot be answered in one conversation or one experience. These questions need to be carried for awhile – sometimes for a lifetime.

I believe that one of the causes of pain in our lives is unrealistic expectation. We make decisions and take action without really considering how they will play out. We take little snapshots of information and then create a movie of what our experiences will be. When they don’t match up, we’re disappointed. We throw the whole thing away and get ourselves another little snapshot and start the process over again.

It may sound silly that we do this. But we have to be gentle with ourselves. We’re trained to believe this in the Western World. If we want something (or think we do), we’re taught to go for it. Just go for it. And we endlessly go for this - and then that - in search of something that has real meaning for us. If we’re lucky, we happen upon it. How many people do you who are doing what they love or what makes them happy?

But life doesn’t have to be an endless search for meaning. Instead of demanding whatever answer is immediately available to us, we can carry the question and allow it to continually inform us. I like to imagine that my question is a basket I carry around. It’s open and attracts experiences and information that informs me about my question. I may read something that applies – it goes in the basket. I might meet someone who is doing something that speaks to me about my question. The experience goes in the basket. I might have a dream or a vision or an insight – it all goes in the basket. I let whatever’s in the basket stew until the answer feels full and satisfying.

Of course, I continue to live my life as I carry my question. I will pursue the action that seems best to me as I go along with whatever I have in my basket. Here’s the key: I don’t stop asking the question unless it seems no longer relevant to my life. As long as I’m carrying the question, it can continue to inform me.

Here’s the magic of carrying a question. It keeps you open to possibilities and to the many different answers to the question. It helps you stay in wonder, which is - well, wonderful! It keeps you in a stance of choice. It helps you stay focused to go the distance. And, it help you to notice when it is time for a change.

Let me use an example. At 18, I might ask the question, “what kind of person do I want to marry?” I will get an answer that my 18 year old self can give. At 18 I have relatively little experience of myself or of the world. I do have wisdom and an innate knowing of myself. So the answer I give at 18 does have value, but it may be very limited. Without life experience, my answer may be naïve or short sighted. If I limit myself to partners who meet the criteria my 18-year-old self created, my chances for a fulfilling relationship may not be good. However, if I allow my life experiences and successive relationships to keep informing me, I can mature my idea of the ideal mate. If I carry the question, I have the option of eliminating characteristics that don’t really suit me and adding ones that do based on my experience as I move through life. It gives me freedom to change and grow. And when I meet my ideal mate, this practice I have of growing with my experiences will serve each of us individually and our relationship together. The question might change to “how can I live with ease and grace in this relationship?” But the practice will be the same. Continuing to carry a question helps keep the relationship fresh and vital.

So don’t trap yourself into an undesirable life path based on an immediate, quick fix answer. Learn to carry the significant questions in your life like an old friend with endless wisdom. Pay attention to this friend’s nudges, challenges and encouragement. Your life is not a fast food restaurant. Give yourself time to sit, peruse the menu, enjoy all the courses and allow yourself the satisfaction of a well-prepared full-bodied life.

Author's Bio: 

Coleen Renee, CSH is a psychic and intuitive Healer working with clients across the country via phone or in person. She has worked intimately with the angels, Spirit Teachers, ancestors and other helpful beings to offer healing energies, guidance, comfort and joy to clients. Coleen helps clients connect with their guides and learn to communicate and work with them. You can find out more about her work and make an appointment by visiting http://www.coleenreneeproductions.com/page4