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.