• Holli Gipson

Truth is Found by Receiving & Responding, Rather than Judging

Updated: May 31, 2019

Digging deeper into questioning life, this week's Ask An Aspiring Yogini describes how certain personalities will be more likely to question life. A big wonderment deserves a big response. So, I also offer some ideas on how to approach seeking truth.


Your post Why? The Big Unanswerable Question made me ask more questions. I was pondering these same questions a few months back, and I asked my husband, “do you ever question life and wonder why you are here or what your purpose is?” He answered “no, I just live it.”

I thought: wow, what if it could be that simple. For him it is. He loves life, lives it to the full and doesn’t ponder on all the why’s. I keep wondering about his response and how can one manage all the questions? Do we make too much of all the questions in life? Why do we question? What is the truth?

Why is it that some can live so free of questioning, and others continually question everything and often it is stuff that doesn’t really require questioning that we question. I think of people who are really suffering in life, refugees, the homeless, victims of crime - they don’t get the opportunity to question the big things in life as they are too busy trying to survive.

~ Lyn


Dear Lyn,

Thank you for your thoughtful response and continued wonderment about the big unanswerable questions. Your questioning seems to lean toward wanting to understand personalities. It also seems like you have a very big longing to understand questioning itself.

I believe I answered a lot about why we question and managing questions through the five elements in the original post, but I will elaborate on a few new points you’ve enquired about:

1. How and why different people question more.

2. The truth about questioning.

I hope this helps to soften the edges, allowing you to receive your life as it comes to you. I also hope it gives you some ideas of how to respond, inspiring more exploration of your yoga practice!

1. Using the Elements to Understand Personalities

As I’ve written on before, Ayurveda uses the elemental system to understand the constitution of a person. This constitution will not only tell tendencies for illnesses but also tendencies toward personality traits. This is all based on people being more or less dominated by certain elements.

(Now I must put a disclaimer that I can not know your husband’s constitution based on your little excerpt here. Nor could I really explain yours in a blog. So I will take it away from y’all personally and more to hypothetical personalities.)

Why would someone question more than another? Well, this hypothetical person could be made more of earth and a different hypothetical person is made more of space and air. If a person’s constitution is dominated by the earth element and there is a flooding of this element within their mind and body then they will lean toward more static, structured and stoic ways of being. They will be more secure in their bodies and minds and less likely to question.

On the other hand, this could perhaps mean they're too secure, veering on stubborn. They are so set in their ways they do not have enough movement or release in their bodies and minds. They are unwilling to question in fear of overturning their security in the world. We ask these people to cultivate an open-mind, which would let in questions about truth, life-path and ways of being.

Others that are depleted of the earth element and perhaps have a flooded energy of space and/or air will naturally think more about these big questions, more so than being in their physical body and/or creating a secure path for themselves in this life. They will want to live more in the spiritual abstract. Their open-mind can actually create a similar effect as the earthy folks; their excess energy can stop movement and action here in this world at this moment in time.

Just one more example of a different element: a person with excess fire. This person will get lazor-focused on an answer and therefore a judgement. This too leaves little room for movement or openness.

These elemental differences is also a part of chakra theory. Again, healing with elemental therapy can get much more complex than my descriptions here, as the therapy demands real, intimate and direct intimacy with an individual, but the following is an example of chakra work:

If you want to do less questioning then you would work with the earth

element and the Muladhara Chakra (Root Chakra). Becoming more aware of

your phsyical body and securing spirit within this body, this path.

If you wanted to open up questioning you would work with air and space,

the Ajna and Sahsraha Chakra (The Third-Eye and Crown Chakra).

Becoming more aware of your spiritual self and opening energy for visions

beyond your body and your personal path, moving into the universal

One thing I hear you assuming and implying with your question is that the frequency of questioning could be good or bad. I hear you longing to be like your husband and thinking this is a simple way of being and therefore a better way of living. Both extremes can be harmful to one's evolution. There is not one right way to be :)

Under it all I hear, perhaps, a judgement of your own questioning. What if it wasn’t wrong to question and it wasn’t wrong to not need to question? What if we are all just different in our approach to the wildness of being. What if we all have different paths to follow when questioning life?

Do you think it’s wrong to question because you long for more security? If so, that is a sign of longing for the earth element. But "questioning too much" will have to be determined by each individual seeking those questions (perhaps with the help of various therapies).

I fell in love with elemental theory because it gave me a structure to respond to my needs, rather than judge them.

My way of being in the world became more about elemental tendencies out of my control and more about responding to the tendencies I've been given this lifetime. My mind and my body are a byproduct of elements. My will can respond to those in many ways. My will can judge and fight OR accept and respond. So if you feel like you need more security and less questioning, respond with some earth yoga practices.

I also hear you assuming that people in crisis don’t question. I would gently like to overturn this assumption. Having been the receiver of violent crimes myself I would say they made me question more and see life much more complex. My refugee friends vary greatly in their questioning, in their ways of dealing with their life, their spirituality and otherwise.

For this particular subject, I'll leave you with one of the most popular verses in the Gita:

Performing one's natural prescribed duty tinged with faults is far better than performing another's perscribed duty perfectly; for performing prescribed duties of others is fraught with danger.

~ Bhagavad Gita, 3.35,

translated by Bhagavad Gita Trust

According to this quote it would be better for you to follow your natural duty, which in this case (perhaps) involves questioning life. Allow the questions to flow and the duty could be to respond, taking responsibility by surrendering to the questions or if they become harmful countering with earth practices. This is the yin and yang of yoga practice that I'll speak to more in the second point.

Acceptance and response to your path will have a healthier outcome than following the path of your husband or anyone else. Even if that means you create some "faulty" actions (karma).

2. As for the truth…

For me, truth is paradox -- accepting two contrary truths at the same time.

-- We are much more than our bodies; Our bodies are vital to our being.

-- We are not our identities that bind us to this world; Our identities can liberate us.

-- It can be helpful to question; It can be helpful to not question.

I speak to the process of paradox in my post about miscarriage -- which, as you can imagine, made me question a lot.

Another view of this paradox comes from Rumi. He speaks about truth and particularly when it comes to self evolution. Here is one of his most famous lines:

What you seek is seeking you.

Essentially, I think this is saying: you are seeking the seeker, yet the seeker is within you. However, understanding this truth doesn't mean you stop seeking. It's inevitable; it's innate; inherit in the identity.

The duty of the seeker is to seek.

What this paradox can do is bring peace to your being and your actions. It can help you feel the oneness as you seek yourself.

Some of us may not be strong seekers in the usual spiritual way we describe this identity. It is a spectrum. But, according to the yoga system, it would be impossible to move or be in this world without seeking. We all create karma or action and every action seeks.

In Conclusion, Seek Truth in Receiving & Responding

We know truth when it hits us. All great poets and artist seek truth and their work touches us when it "rings true" or expresses a world we know to be true.

Personally I have touched truth and/or truth has touched me when I am in one of two actions:

Receiving -- this is more passive, allowing information in (science, art, my own life force). This is surrendering to reality.

Responding -- this is more active, producing information (creating science experiments, producing art, manipulating my life force). This is taking responsibility for my being and my actions.

Essentially, these two approaches are the yin and yang of yoga. It happens on the mat, but the mat is so powerful because it translates to how we live our lives.

Perhaps, for now, allow yourself to receive your questions without judgement and when it feels right and ready respond to them with kindness and attention. Feels like you're already on that path and I hope this response supports you along the way!

Again, may we all travel with peace as we seek.

May we receive and take responsibility for our karma!



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