Critical Questions

Posted in: Applying Wisdom

There is a quote the origin of which I can’t remember, but it goes something like this: “people come to the monastery to find out why they came.”

Many turn to spiritual traditions, personal development systems, and other sources of counsel to look for answers.

But before we start looking for answers, maybe one of the best places to start is with the questions themselves. Once we know what questions we’re trying to answer, we can more effectively find sources that help us discover what we really want to know.

Here are some of the critical questions I believe any significant wisdom tradition will be able to help you answer. Some are overlapping and may just be another way to ask a similar question, but sometimes rephrasing can help clarify one’s thinking:

  • Am I worthy of love?
  • Does my life have value?
  • What should I live for?
  • What does it mean to live virtuously?
  • How do I handle my own suffering?
  • How do I handle the suffering of others?
  • What is my obligation to others?
  • Do I want the right things for my life?
  • Do I have too much ambition? 
  • Do I have too little ambition?

By trying to find sources to help you answer these questions, you’ll quickly filter out the superficial from the deeply meaningful.

What are the critical questions for which you are seeking answers? Feel free to respond in the comments!