He told her about a spring within her, a well that wouldn’t run dry, a holy breath that connected her to the whole, to the illimitable, to love.*
The type of inquiry I am talking about derives from an attitude of interest and curiosity. It implies a desire to build a relationship that will lead to more open communication.**
Anne Lamott is reflecting on an encounter Jesus of Nazerath had with a Samaritan woman outside the town of Sychar.^
She was something of an outcast in her own community, used and rejected many times. The reflection comes with hindsight but it must have felt different the other way around, when a life was closed to its own wonder and some way of opening up possibility was necessary.
This is what Edgar Schein offers. When it’s hard to not make up one’s mind about someone and to stay open to the wonder that exists in everyone, we need to develop our interest and curiosity.
The other then becomes more important than ourselves:
‘when you wonder, you are drawn out of yourself’.^^
When we wonder it is as if we are touching what it is we are here for:
“when the universe makes me wonder, all is as it should be”.*^
(*From Anne Lamott’s Hallelujah Anyway.)
(**From Edgar Schein’s Humble Inquiry.)
(^See John 4: 1-26)
(^^From John O’Donohue’s Eternal Echoes.)
(*^From Cirque de Soleil’s Varekai, quoted in Alex McManus’ Makers of Fire.)