Five Questions

questionWhat if five questions you ask others and yourself could enhance the quality of your life and the lives of others? Would you want to know what they are? I love lists, especially lists that make total sense and can be brought to mind at any moment of the day to help me make sense of the world. A fellow member of the Middle Way Society, and podcast interviewer extraordinaire, Barry Daniel, shared a video recently. Dean James Ryan who gave the Harvard Graduate School of Education commencement speech posed the five questions. Here they are:

  1. Wait, what?
  2. I wonder why? If?
  3. Couldn’t we at least?
  4. How can I help?
  5. What truly matters [to me]?

Later in the day, I saw a post requesting prayers for Jerusalem. Many people quoted the Bible and Jesus in response to this request. My first thought was that I would ignore the post, since the responses seemed insular. But – wait, I just learned the five questions.

  1. Wait, what?

Do I have to look at this request as demanding an insular response?

  1. I wonder if?

I wonder if I could answer the request from a perspective that makes sense to me.

  1. Couldn’t we at least try to find a way to express our point of view that is inclusive and loving?
  1. How can I help?

I could begin to help by expressing an inclusive point of view. Maybe further down the road I could become active in a dialogue group that would help to change the situation in this contested part of the world.

  1. What truly matters to me is love – for myself, my family, my community, the world community; I believe that we have to have compassion for everyone; looking out only for ones own will not serve humanity and the planet – and I think that the conflict this attitude produces prevents your own and everyone else’s happiness.

I posted my thoughts about my wish for peace among all people in Jerusalem; Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist – ALL people. Maybe my post wasn’t in sync with the others, but maybe someone was open hearted enough to realize that there are more points of view than what was reflected in the hundreds of absolute fundamentalist statements rolling down the page. These five questions inspire me to consider engaging in more dialogue than I am wont to do ordinarily. These times may require that we all engage more in dialogue.

For me, posing these five questions even on something as possibly insignificant as a Facebook post is a helpful exercise to try them out.

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