Chapter 12: Right Questioning
Before you ask something, I must tell you that there are two types of questioning. One type of questioning comes, not because you do not know, but because you know something. It comes out of your so-called knowledge. You have the answer already and then you raise the question. It shows two things.
Whatsoever you know, you have not really known it; otherwise there would have been no question. And secondly, because the question has been raised by our preconceived conditioning, by our preconceived answer, you are not even ready to receive a new answer. So whenever there is such questioning it is absolutely useless. It leads you nowhere.
Never ask because you know something. If you know, it is good. Then there is no need of asking. If you don’t know, then ask as if you are ignorant, you don’t know - because unless you feel that you don’t know, you are never vulnerable, open, receptive. And receptivity is needed otherwise you raise a question and don’t allow the answer to go in. But all questions are more or less like that. We have the answer already and then we question.
This is really a search for confirmation. You are not confident because really you don’t know; you have simply gathered some information. Now you want someone to give you conviction, recognition. You want someone to be a witness to your knowledge, so that you can feel, “Yes, I am right.”
This is very absurd. If you know, then knowledge itself, knowing itself, gives the confidence, the conviction. It is self-evident, always self-evident. If you know something, then even if the whole world denies it, it makes no difference. And in just the same way, if you don’t know a thing and the whole world says, “Yes, this is right,” it too makes no difference. Knowing is self-evident and ignorance is also self-revealing.
So don’t ask from your knowledge. If you know, it is good. If you don’t know, then be conscious that you don’t know and ask from your conscious ignorance.
The second type of questioning, which is authentic questioning, inquiry - sincere, honest - is always from the feeling that you do not know. And the moment that you feel you don’t know, your doors are open. Now, you are ready to invite the guest. Otherwise you invite the guest and your house is completely closed. Then don’t invite! If you invite, then make a space for the guest. If you have answers ready-made already, then you have no space within you. You can ask questions, but then you have no space within you to receive answers.
Questioning is useless if there is no space to receive. So see when you are asking: is there any space to receive an answer? First create the space, then ask. Then, this second type of questioning becomes existential, then it is not merely intellectual, then it is not merely mental. You are totally involved in it; your whole is at stake, your total being. This is what is meant by “being existential.” Now it comes from your very existence, from your very being.