The Three Great Spiritual Questions

Photo courtesy of Felicia Buitenwerf at Unsplash

In the book “Inheritance”, author Dani Shapiro is asked by an acupuncturist if she is familiar with the three great spiritual questions.  As I read through this chapter, it made me wonder if other people had wondered about these questions.

I do not think I ever consciously asked these questions of myself. I suppose in many ways, I have found the answers throughout my life without fully engaging thought about the question itself. Then I wondered if the answers change throughout our lives.

In researching my own family tree, I found a few surprises. I discovered I am not related to a cousin I have known my whole life. That immediately poses questions as to the parental line of one or both of us. I remember feeling a shock to my body to even contemplate that my father is not my father. It unhinges everything in your life. After my brother processed his own DNA, I now know we are full brother and sister, and realized this unknown parentage is further back in my line somewhere. It was a relief. Not that it would change anything about how I felt about my father. What it changes is what you have always known to be the truth.

So back to the questions. Is there a reason to come to this level of understanding? To acknowledge who we are in the universe and why we even exist at all. Do we all have a purpose? I imagine many people in this world live their entire life without once ever considering the question, let alone the answer.

I think these questions become important anytime we are faced with major struggles in our life. I know early on in the pandemic, I often wondered “what if this is it?” Could I be satisfied with the life I have led? In actuality, life is volatile – capable of disappearing in a wisp at any given time. Perhaps the pandemic has made me more appreciative of my life.

So what are the questions? Have you ever considered any or all of them and have you found the answers? Are they questions we all face?

Who am I?

Why am I here?

How shall I live?

My father often talked about prayer, being a devout Christian. He often talked about the way in which prayers are answered and  that the answer to a prayer is sometimes a simple “No”.  I was very moved by this quote from Ms. Shapiro’s book.

“God answers sharp and sudden on some prayers, And thrusts the thing we have prayed for in our face, A gauntlet with a gift in it.”

As my mother often said to me, “Be careful what you ask for. You just might get it.”

More food for thought.


11 thoughts on “The Three Great Spiritual Questions”

  1. Hopefully, we all ask those questions sooner or later. My father always cautioned me about asking questions. He would simply ask “are you ready for all the potential answers?”

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    1. I hope we all find time to reflect and readjust if needed. I know I have recalibrated on a number of occasions. Your dad’s advice is certainly worth considering. Our parents were wise.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have spent most of my adult life pondering those questions. I decided that I would be kind when I had the chance to be, a good son to my mother, and work in a job that gave something back to society. I more or less succeeded in all three.
    My Mum had a younger first cousin, Ray, and we were all brought up with him as part of the family. I went to his wedding, he came to all the family parties with his mum and dad, and I went to his house when both of his sons were born. Years later, he died young (late 50s) following complications of Diabetes. Nobody was ever told he was Diabetic so some family members considered getting tested. Then his widow surprised us all by telling us he was adopted, and not genetically part of our family at all. It made no difference to how we treated his widow or his sons though. Family is more than just having the same DNA.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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    1. Leading our best lives should always be our goal I think. It is good to know you have done what you set out to do.

      I agree that genetics are just a small part of who we are. It can be a radical jolt, however, to learn about your history late in life. My husband’s father was adopted at 2 years of age, but he grew up knowing his biological family as well as loving and clinging to his adoptive family.

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  3. Who am I?
    I am definitely God’s child. But I am no robot, nor would He want one.

    Why am I here?
    It is my time as it was Queen Esther’s.

    How shall I live?
    I’m not sure what this is asking me…as in making a living, consuming food, taking life-saving medication?

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  4. Yes. I am a light, I am here to express love through teaching and healing — the last question I believe is best answered through frequent consideration, with a sense of responsibility and an attitude of adaptability to what’s needed. And you?


    1. I am an advocate. I am here to provide love and support to my far flung family. I shall live my life in gratitude, constantly redirecting and readjusting toward betterment.

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