Asking Questions

As you become aware of tensions along the boundaries between your inner and outer worlds, your natural inclination is to understand more about that particular connection between your inner and your outer worlds. The fundamentally human methods for describing connections between your inner and outer worlds are conversations and stories. The conversations that you create, and the stories that you share in those conversations, help you to explain what is going on in your inner world and to understand what is happening in your outer world. How well you understand the connection between your inner and outer worlds depends on the quality of the conversation that you have with another person, or with yourself. And the first step in being able to effectively create a conversation with other people, and with yourself, is the ability to ask good questions.

Creating The Connection

Asking a good question is the most natural and powerful way to create a healthy connection between your inner world and the inner worlds of other people, and also as a way of healthily connecting your own inner and outer worlds. The better the question you ask, the better the connection that you make. So what could be simpler? Everyone knows how to ask a question, don’t they? For many people, it can be tempting to think that asking a question is as simple as placing a question mark at the end of a sentence, or adding a rising pitch inflection at the end of a statement. In reality, being able to ask a question is not a simple binary skill where you can either ask a question or you can’t. The power of your connection between your inner and outer world depends on how powerful your question is.

Going on a Journey

The word ‘question’ comes from the same root as our word ‘quest‘, meaning a journey. Asking a question doesn’t necessarily involve donning a suit of armour and going on some perilous mission to a far-off land in the hope that you will return with some great prize. Asking a powerful question, however, may well involve you entering into unknown and unfamiliar areas in your inner world and the inner world of another person. When you ask someone a question, you are inviting them to go on a journey with you between your inner and outer worlds. And the value of what you bring back from that journey into your inner worlds will depend on the type of question that you ask.

Leading, Closed, Statement and Open

There are four main types of questions, which are Leading, Closed, Statement and Open. It can be tempting to think that you are asking questions, when in reality, you are just trying to lead someone into agreeing with your viewpoint, or you are actually just making a statement, or you are asking a question that will immediately close any potential conversation down. An open question can often seem the most challenging question to ask but it is the one that will help you to explore unknown and unfamiliar areas so that you can return with valuable insight. The ability and skill to ask a powerful open question is often what separates individuals who can make powerful connections from people who may find it difficult to consistently connect to their inner power.

Keeping The Connection Open

After you have opened a connection between your inner and outer worlds, or the inner and the outer world of another person, you still have to maintain the quality of that connection and ensure that it continues to stay live for as long as you need it. The most powerful way to do this is very simple, although it can be challenging for many people, and it is simply to ask your question and then keep quiet. Creating a powerful question and then asking it is of little value if you then immediately block the answer by talking over your conversation partner. That just closes your connection down and your journey will go nowhere. Staying quiet after you’ve asked your question not only gives your conversation partner the opportunity to answer, it also creates a powerful rhythm for you conversation, giving it a natural cadence of call and response that allows it to really flow.

Different Questions for Different Journeys

In practice, when making connections between your inner and outer worlds, the questions that you ask will often be a mix of question types. Although open questions can be the most powerful, they should not be asked to the exclusion of all other question types. Leading, closed and statement questions have their place, and sometimes you will find yourself asking a combination of question types, in order to discover more about the nature of the tension along the boundaries between your inner and outer worlds. By being more aware of the types of questions you are asking, you give yourself a choice of the type of quest that you enter into. The better the question you can ask, the better the conversation you will create, and a stronger the connection you will make between your inner and outer worlds and the inner and outer worlds of the people you are connecting with.