2012-08-03-Conversations with Monjoronson 56
Topic: The Art of Asking and Answering Questions
Group: N. Colorado TeaM
TR: Daniel Raphael
- Moderator-Michael McCray
Prayer: Heavenly Father/Mother God, we thank you for your presence in our lives, for the life of Jesus when he was here on our world and gave us an example of how to live our lives with patience and grace. We ask for your assistance; we know that it is always here, and so we accept your assistance, your presence, your benevolence as always around us. We feel your comfort and your grace and your love for us, and we are grateful. Amen
[This is Daniel: Monjoronson and Charles are both here, both are very eminent, very present.]
Roxie: Good morning to both of you!
MONJORONSON: This is Monjoronson; I am here and I am present with you. How may I be of assistance?
MMc: Always! Always, you are of assistance and we thank you very much for your assistance. Is there anything that you wish to dialog with us today?
- Celestials seeking particular outcomes
MONJORONSON: It is a broad panorama of activity now undergoing on your world, and some of you have come to appreciate the breadth and depth and dimension of our work, as we have been preparing and arranging and coordinating the development of events, without abridging your sovereign self-will. Some of you are in awe of our work as you are truly aware and can see the handiwork of God, so to speak, in the development of events that are occurring on your world. You see this clearly because some of you are able to perceive, or you are prescient to a degree to know what is coming about in your world and you see how these developments are being coordinated and developed for particular outcomes.
What we seek are particular outcomes, to prepare the field of work that will develop. We are now in the definite phases of preparing the field for the days of light and life now, as we perceive these immense global changes that are occurring on your world in your social, political, economic, and military realms. These developments will not be set aside, but amended or changed or morphed, so to speak, so that we can best take advantage of this era of change for instilling the fundamental tenets of social sustainability and social stability, which are fundamental to the days of light and life. You see, it is very much like an earthquake [that] will occur in your living room. You had always wanted to rearrange the furniture and now you have an opportunity to do so, to put it where you want to and start over. And so, this is what is occurring on your world now with our participation. Many of you are also seeing more active participation on our part than others are, and it is you whom we seek to cooperate consciously and directly with us through prayer and meditation and openness between thoughts for our participation in your lives. Thank you.
MMc: Thank you for your participation in our world.
There was a question left over from last time. I believe that Roxie asked as we were leaving, “Would you explain to parents why it is important to encourage their children to ask questions?”
- The importance of teaching children how to ask questions
MONJORONSON: Yes, this answer requires and will inform you of several levels of benefit from teaching children how to ask questions. First of all, asking questions early in the child’s life—even before they can talk—that you teach them how to ask questions. This offers them the opportunity to imitate or act out what you model or provide [for] them in their life. It gives them a permission to ask questions, which means that they are not put off by your authority and that you both have minds that are equally capable, but one is undeveloped yet, intellectually, and so you offer them the opportunity to ask questions respectfully, and you accept their questions without argumentation or taking an authoritative position against that question.
- Curiosity opens intellectual and cultural development
Secondly, asking questions fertilizes the child’s mind to ask questions of many things. It is not necessarily questioning authority, but to question the very process of living and all elements that come into their life. If the child has a curiosity, and it has the ability to ask questions, they really have opened the spigot of intellectual and cultural development of information to them for their intellectual and cultural and social development.
- It opens the field for the Thought Adjuster to begin working
Further, the third, it allows an open field for the Thought Adjuster to begin working more diligently and capably with a facile mind, a mind that is beginning to ossify and crystallize early in life, and you have seen some of these even before their years in the teens, you see the necessity, the benevolence that this offers the individual as they grow into life. Asking questions is primary to the capacity of the individual to move through their various social, intellectual, spiritual and emotional developmental stages more easily.
- Gender differences in ability to change and adapt
[Forth,] we have found in your species, particularly within the last few centuries, that men in particular, who are age 60+, almost rarely change their minds or have the capacity to reinvent themselves, but that women have been seen to do this even in their 70’s and 80’s. There is something about the genders which offers themselves to flexibility. In this regard, we have found that men who have an androgynous nature—meaning that they have the capacity for feminine feelings and thinking processes, as well as their masculine feelings and thinking processes—have much more facility to change and adapt.
- Fundamental to intellectual and spiritual evolution of the mind
Fifth, asking questions is fundamental to the intellectual and spiritual evolution of the human mind. This leads to the capacity of the human mind and spirit to begin to explore the lower morontial levels of thought and spiritual development. This is a tremendous aid to the soul growth of the individual, and of course this truly and heartily advances the standing of the mortal graduate into the morontial realm, into an advance standing in their classes. So teaching children to ask questions is fundamental to their morontial advancement after their death as a mortal. This is nothing less than a profound development.
- The role of parents and grandparents
Parents and grandparents are particularly pivotal to the spiritual and soul growth development of the individual, their child. The parent and grandparent can best advantage this situation when they see the child as a mature spiritual being, but who has yet to go through the developmental stages of infancy, childhood, early adulthood and adulthood. When you appreciate the child as a mature spiritual being, who is going through the experiential process of learning during these early developmental years, you will assist them to ask questions about themselves. And as I said before, to assist them in the activity of reflection, which leads to contemplation, which leads to meditation with the practice of “no thought.”
- The necessity of reflection and meditation
When you enter into your meditations with the intention of a question, then during that time of meditation your consciousness is an open field in which your Thought Adjuster and your spiritual helpers can plant the seeds of answers—answers that are either complete or which you will experientially discover in your lifetime, in the days afterwards. So, asking questions is fundamental to the work that we do; “no questions, no answers.” This is a truism now and always will be, throughout your ascendant career to Paradise. Even after Paradise, finaliters often enter into dialog and speculation, asking questions that are unanswerable within that realm of incompletion of the universe at that time. Only after the whole universe achieves the days of light and life, will those questions be answered.
So, do you see the spiritually developmental steps that you initiate as a parent to teach your child to ask questions?
MMc: Yes, it basically paves the way for them to do well through the rest of their career, both in this life and the next.
- The vital role of asking questions to the work of social sustainability
MONJORONSON: Exactly. So my assignment to you, Michael, is to develop a book on asking questions on the subject matter that is relevant to this era of life for your planet. It needs to move into the era of social sustainability, and this book will be primary to the work that is achieved. You could look at it as a most prestigious opportunity to demonstrate the excellence of your mind. I say this as a little bit of a challenge, for you will grow into this and you will come away from it much more developed than you are now, all the while providing a service to humanity the world over, which will eventually be seen in many languages. This book is essential to the work that we are doing, to help guide the authentic, genuine and objective development of the work of social sustainability.
MMc: I am definitely learning something as I take this on. There doesn’t seem to be any clear path if one were to look at what is available in the realm of inquiry and asking questions, etc., they would find that the total realm is broken up into several smaller classifications, but there doesn’t seem to be any grand scheme that unites those into something that would be appropriate for what you are asking me to do, so….
MONJORONSON: That is the chore that I have given you, to meld these fields together in a way that is applicable to our efforts to develop social sustainability in your world. This has not been done before. You must bring these fields together to provide integrity of the topic for your readers.
MMc: Thank you. I appreciate this work that you have given me.
Let me ask you a clarifying question: You mentioned teenagers and their minds ossified or crystallizing early, and then you went on to mention men, especially in their 60’s, who are unable to change their minds. I believe that you wanted to make the point that asking questions early and throughout your life helps the mind to stay active and prevent the ossification and early crystallization and gives you an ability to continually reassess and change your mind and stay reflective throughout your lifetime. Am I correct in that?
- Challenging bigotry, prejudice and bias
MONJORONSON: Excellently said. Let me further expand this into the relevant work that we are doing in the schematic for social sustainability. The ability to ask questions is primary to challenging your beliefs and particularly exposing your assumptions and validating them as contributing to social sustainability, or not. You must realize that the crystallization of thought is perhaps a euphemism for the words “bigotry, prejudice and bias.” When children are given beliefs that are contrary to social sustainability, they are attended by many, many unspoken assumptions that reinforce those beliefs, that it is assumed that this is true; it is assumed that this is part of their life. But the capacity to develop a social organization to become socially sustainable, it must thoroughly expose its beliefs and assumptions—those that contribute to social sustainability and those that do not. If you have biases and prejudices and bigotries, then your capacity to be a helpful member on the co-creative social sustainability design team are very limited. You will bring an inherent bias to your thinking, and to your participation in the team.
If you look at the overall movement of our dialog, our discussion, you will find that your work to ask questions and to write a book about asking questions is primary to the work of social sustainability design teams, that this will be a primer for the inquiring members of those teams. The quality of the work of a design team is directly related to their capability to ask unbiased, unprejudiced, unbigoted questions. To come to that forum to ask objective questions and receive objective answers, that they have no bias against, no position. Am I clear so far? (MMc: Yes, you are.)
- Using parental authority undermines children from asking questions
So, we have woven in our discussion here, the benefit of teaching children how to ask questions as primary to the development of a socially sustainable society, community and family. A family that does not teach their children how to ask questions is usually one of ignorance, or one of authoritarian position, where the position of the father and mother is held in such high regard that the children cannot ask legitimate questions of inquiry, because the parents see this as a challenge to their position or standing within the family. The whole premise of developing a socially sustainable world, of developing your world as moving into the era of light and life, is predicated upon the capacity to ask questions. Do you now see the importance of your work, my dear friend?
MMc: Yes, yes.
- Rhetorical questions meant to support biased positions are not sustainable
MONJORONSON: There are literally millions and billions of people on your world who do not have the capacity to ask non-positioned, unbiased, non-prejudicial questions. That is why you see so many people asking those rhetorical questions, which are only meant to feed and support their position. It is ludicrous to do that to build a sustainable society; it is virtually impossible.
- Reflect and examine your own capacity to ask questions
Your question, dear Roxanne, is vital and pivotal to all the work that we are doing in your world now. It is essential that those who read these transcripts do so in a state of reflection to examine their own capacities to ask questions, and ask questions that further are not biased.
- Teams must be composed of humble, equal individuals
Let us go further into the team environment. Within the team, you are a team of equals; you are a team of individuals who come there without preference or deference; you come there with a neutral curiosity; the capacity to ask questions without a preference for answers, or a deference for your position as a member of the team. If you come to the team with intellectual or spiritual or social, economic or political prowess, then you will be of less use to us than if you were humbly powerful and powerfully humble, without having to refer to your social accoutrements of position, whether they are financial, social status, authority or position. What we ask of you is very simple work in the team, but it is most difficult for many of you because of what you bring, because of the “baggage,” the biases, the prejudices, the preferences and deferences that you seek in your life. It requires self-examination, a time of reflection with yourself to ask yourself those questions.
- The total integrity of this sustainability work
I hope you are able to see the integrity, the total integrity of what we are presenting to you, and that all of this work is integral, with a wholeness and oneness to it, that leads from the deepest inner recesses of your thinking and your being, to a global society. For you to be morontially sustainable, you must have the capacity now, to begin to ask questions. For your world to enter into the days of light and life, (i.e. social sustainability and social stability,) then you, as a society, must have the capacity to ask itself questions. To do so, a society, a civilization will then have the capacity to move into transcendent consciousness. It is a remarkable state for any world to enter into, but it is eventual for every planet that seeks to enter into the days of light and life. It is a desired vision that you must hold within your teams and within your communities and your nations—and your community of nations. This is where you are moving, and the capacity to teach your children how to ask questions initiates that grand process and that grand developmental progression.
Roxie: May I interject a comment here, please? One of the things that I’ve learned from listening to your answers this morning, Monjoronson, is that in my family, there is a tendency to go beyond the question and give a bigger answer than the child requests. For example, when someone asks what time it is, our tendency is almost to tell them how to build a clock, rather than just answer the simple question. I see that that has hampered our children from asking more questions, because they do not want a long-winded answer. And yet, when we ask you celestials a question, we often get a very complete but wonderful explanation that takes us in new directions. I just hope that I can use your examples to help the children in my family grow more in terms of how they ask questions, and how we provide answers. Thank you.
- The “art” of asking and answering questions for children
MONJORONSON: Thank you! That was very well said and very appropriate for what we are working on here. Asking questions is an art. The art of asking questions means that there is a “touch” to it, a sensitivity to the recipient, much like an artist painting on a canvas, that a very deft stroke can be as effective and meaningful as a powerful blunt impact upon the canvas with a brush. [When] parents answer the question of a child, the child is much more pragmatic and literal than the adult. There is a certain sensitivity that, yes, the question needs to be answered, and with enough additional information that will arouse curiosity in the child later to ask questions when they have thought through the answer that you have given them. It is vitally important that the child is not overwhelmed with the answer, and is not put off from asking questions later. The art of asking questions is a process of teaching the child—or another person—that they can continue to ask questions until their need to know and their curiosity is satisfied. They must not be overawed or overpowered by the answers that are given. Through answering the question, you lead the child into the capacity to ask further questions—that is the “art” of it all.
When it comes to children asking questions about sex, many parents are embarrassed to answer because of their own lack of information, or their capacity to answer the child meaningfully. On the other hand, some parents answer the questions too diligently, too thoroughly and with too much information, leaving the child even more confused than before they asked the question. Most children are naturally curious. If you answer their question forthrightly and authentically without prejudice, bias or taking a position in the answer that you give, they will later come back and ask another question. If children ask a question about a sensitive topic, or moral or ethical issue, it means that they are ready to hear the answer. They do not need a 20 minute monolog to satisfy them; all they sometimes need is a 20 second answer, and with permission to ask further questions if they do not understand the answer given.
It is important that the child be left “hungry,” still curious, that if they feel they need to ask more questions to get a thorough answer they can. And when the child is satisfied with the answer, they will usually go off and play or do something else. While they are doing that, they are thinking about the answer. Their little minds are chewing on what they have heard and they are trying to fit that new information into the field of data that they already have.
There is an art to answering questions, as there is an art to asking questions. And the art of answering questions is to provide enough posts and positions that give orientation to the eventual total field of information. The child may ask, even very early in life, “Mommy, why are there boys and girls?” You may answer, “Well, to make life interesting, and eventually to have babies,” and that is the answer. They will put that in their little minds and it may be days, weeks, months and sometimes even years before they ask another question, which means that they are ready for more. The answers that they receive are able to fill in the blanks. Your question, Roxanne, is very well taken and very well given and appreciated. The art of asking questions must also be responded to by the art of answering questions. Does this answer your question? (Roxie: Yes, it does. Thank you.)
MMc: Yes, it does seem that there is an art in answering questions, as well as asking them. The child needs a certain succinctness to have his immediate gratification early on, of having the question answered before you augment that to other areas. Some think of us as children also.
MONJORONSON: Yes, and we are experiencing that in our dialog sessions here, in that I ask you, “Does this answer suffice, or is it sufficient for your question?” and you will say, “yes” or “no”. And if you feel that the answer given was incomplete, then you ask another question. It is important for the person answering the question to seek feedback from the person who asked the question, whether the answer has satisfied them or not. This also gives you feedback as to how you are doing giving answers. It is sometimes rare that a child will say, “No, mom, that is more information than I really needed.” That response would probably come from a pre-teen or a teenager, rather than from a young child.
MMc: Yes, too much information. Answering people’s questions often in my practice as a doctor, I basically talk until the “lights go out,” until they are no longer listening to you, and then you stop and ask, “Well, did I answer your question?” Hopefully, you stop before the lights go out, just at that point where they are so enthralled with what you are saying, and wanting you to say more. The telephone is much different; it is very difficult for me, without having the person in front of me, to actually decide when I’ve said too much or if I’ve said too little.
MONJORONSON: The difficulty in our situation is the “lights are out” for this one anyhow. (Laughter.)
MMc: Yes, most definitely.
- Dialog on discernment
I wanted to dialog with you today about discernment. The terms “discern,” “discerning” and “discernment” are good ones to know and use since they all indicate awareness above the norm. Discernment is also an important concept, useful for much more than just evaluating transcripts. I’m wondering, is there a lesson on discernment that you would like to share with us?
MONJORONSON: It would be a repeat what Celestial Teacher Rayson provided to you some years ago. The art of discernment and discerning requires a mind to be conscious of itself as it is checking in with itself as the topical area is being explored. As you say, with weighing, sorting and sifting, evaluating objectively. Discernment also is an aspect of the art of asking questions, that the undiscerning mind is a mind that does not ask questions. Discernment is a fine tuned process, an evolved process of asking questions. Discernment is drawing opinions about something, evaluations about something—for too much or not enough. Discernment must have a backdrop of an absolute or a paragon of—not necessarily perfection—but a standard that provides a rationale for the sorting, sifting and weighing.
What is it that you see as fulfillment or completion or wholeness or integrity and oneness of the topic that you are exploring? It is similar to an artist painting a daisy, or a pansy, that the artist has in mind the perfect color that they have seen in nature, and this hue and tone, depth and texture of the color of the petal of the pansy represents the paragon, the ultimate, the perfection that the artist wishes to portray on the canvas. And so they begin by mixing their paints to achieve the field color, the base color of the petal. Then, seeking other combinations of colors to give that petal a certain blush, by adding streaks of black or some dark color that is in the actual petal of the flower. And so, the artist uses the actual petal of the flower that they remember, or have in front of them, to mix their colors and to discern whether they need more lavender, purple or black, yellow or some other color, to achieve the discerned perfect representation of the petal.
- Discerning moral and ethical matters
So when you are discerning moral and ethical matters, then you are using the construct or the ideal, the absolute of truth to weigh your thinking and discernment about the topic. When you are in touch with your Thought Adjuster, where you have given your Thought Adjuster full permission to express itself in your life, and you are also open to the Spirit of Truth influence, and you are well aware and are acquainted with its presence for validating truth within you, then you have the wonderful assist in your process of discernment. You do not have the paragon or absolute truth in mind, knowing what that is, and you can call upon the Spirit of Truth and your Thought Adjuster to assist you in discerning the truth of the topic of which you are examining. As you are morally, spiritually and morontially imperfect, this will be an ongoing process for you as you weigh, estimate and evaluate and discern those topics that are of social, ethical and moral nature in your life.
- Examining “truth” in the discernment process
To truly, authentically, genuinely, truthfully discern a topic, you must ask a question of the Spirit of Truth, your Thought Adjuster and yourself, “Is this true? Is there truth here?” If you ask, “Is this true?” then you are asking it for a perfect match with the absolute truth. If you ask, “Does this have truth to it?” that is a discerning question that seeks to evaluate whether there are elements of truth to it. On the other hand, you ask “Is there any truth at all to this?” then you are seeking to find whether there is any evidence of truth whatsoever. So, the process of asking questions is a discerning process. You are, in this process, developing the morontial aspects of your mind. In other words, you are, through your discernment process of asking questions, involved in the intentionand aspiration of achieving an early morontial stage of development in your mortal life. And, truly, this is admirable.
Remember, however, that this becomes more difficult when the more crystallized your thinking, opinions, biases, and your prejudices and bigotries, exist in your mind, whether they be about yourself or other people. A discerning mind is a very flexible mind. The only positions that it takes as ultimate and archetypical are those which are akin to Christ Michael and Nebadonia—that of perfection. As you are not anywhere near that position, then you must remain unbiased, unbigoted, and without prejudice in your opinions about yourself or other people. Your question about discernment drives deeply into the heart of your spiritual evolution.
Now, I must ask you, have I given you too much information? (Laughter.) Has this taken you far past where you wanted to go with your question?
MMc: Yes and no. Yes, you’ve taken me far past, because I find in looking at the other things that are available, that are close to discernment, that is asking questions that may lead you to a discerning mind, are so much more primitively put forward than what you have put forward in your dialog here. So yes, you’ve taken me far beyond what I thought I was asking for, but because I’m prepared for that journey, you haven’t disappointed me in taking me far beyond what the question that I asked was. In effect, in asking you, “Is there a lesson on discernment that you might give us, or you might share with us,” I opened up a whole gamut for you to spend some time and take me on that journey. So, I was very happy that I asked the question.
MONJORONSON: To answer your question succinctly, “Yes there is a lesson on discernment that I can give you.” And then I provided you with the lesson, which you had not asked for. And in doing so, I have made you more curious. (Laughter.)
MMc: Well, thank you.
- Critical thinking and discernment
MMc: In looking at what is available in asking questions, there is a concept called “critical thinking,” that Browne and Kelly define as “an awareness of a set of interrelated critical questions, plus the ability and willingness to ask and answer them at appropriate times.” It would appear to me that discernment and critical thinking would have a great deal in common. When the discerning person asks themselves questions about what they read or hear, I’ve not heard of a specific set of questions associated with discernment. I was wondering what you thought about that.
MONJORONSON: Let me assist you then. Discernment and critical thinking are deeply connected. The discerning individual becomes a critical thinker when they discern that perhaps the answers they have in mind are not complete, or maybe taking them in the wrong direction. In other words, the critical thinking person questions their own thinking; they discern that there is very likely, and every possibility, that there are other appropriate answers to the questions that they could have asked themselves, or of the topic that they are dealing with. The discerning individual is open to other answers besides his own, and the critically thinking individual asks those questions of themselves. Thus, they are deeply connected.
The discerning individual, however, has the capacity to ask other people whether they think their thinking is complete. In other words, through the process of discernment, apply the critical thinking procedures to other people to allow them to expand their questions. This is the later stage of answering questions to children: Answering the question is one thing, but you are also teaching them how to ask questions of themselves, which is primary to discernment and the later development of critical thinking that the child may apply to themselves. We are not talking about being self-analytical—not at all—we are simply asking you to be open to challenge yourself to discern within yourself that perhaps the answers that you have come up with are incomplete.
And further, when a critical thinker would say, “What is it about this situation that I have not asked, and what [are the] elements of this topic that my mind has not asked that question?” That is a bit self-analytical, I admit, but it is important for the discerning individual to uncover their own prejudices and bigotries and biases. The individual who is inadequate or feels inferior, will also have a feeling or a need to cover up those infirmities, those disabilities of personality, and so they will present themselves as superior or bring out the accouterments of their achievements in life as evidence of their superiority—or their inferiority. The discerning individual is open to question themselves as to whether their thinking is complete or not. The person who finds they are incomplete would ask “Why?” and then seek answers from a therapist, a friend, a priest, or from their Thought Adjuster or their Celestial Teacher. Thank you very much for your question.
MMc: We are close to an hour and I sense that Daniel is getting tired. You have taken us quite beyond my worldly advisors at this point in time. The sets of questions that Browne and Kelly have come up with are very good ones, but it is almost like training wheels in relationship to the types of questions that the discerning mind might be able to come up with. I was wondering if there is anything else that you would like to say on discernment before we close today’s session?
- Practicing discernment, asking questions and critical thinking
MONJORONSON: Yes, I do. There is definitely something to be said in closing, and that is to practice. Practice with someone who has an open mind. You can practice back and forth between the two of you—or the three of you. A triad is an excellent environment to practice your skills of discernment, asking questions and critical thinking. It requires that three people be similar in some respects, but can be quite dissimilar in others, but it does require an agile mind. If they do not have agile minds, then it requires a mind and personality that is open to question their own reality and then question the basis of their own thinking. If they are so self-regarding concerning their opinions about themselves and their thinking, then they will not do too well in the triad. But practice! Practice this with your children; practice this with your friends; practice this with yourself; practice with the materials that you read, the books that you read and the articles that you read. Ask those critical, discerning questions. You are in many ways, besides the literary critic, a critic of the open, social environment of conversation.
MMc: We thank you, Monjoronson. You’ve certainly improved my thinking and given me something that [I] might actually publish in the book that we’re looking forward to writing. So, thank you, thank you very much.
MONJORONSON: You are most welcome and if you are ever in doubt about your powers of discernment or abilities to ask questions, then ask for assistance from your celestial teachers and they will be most happy to assist you. Thank you and good day.
- Concerning Rayson’s lessons on discernment, see:
- NOCO group #12, March 10, 2002
- NOCO group #23, August 25, 2002
- NOCO group #36, April 6, 2003
- NOCO group #47, February 15, 2004
- NOCO group #87, August 13, 2006
- The book that Michael referred to:
Browne, M. Neil, Kelly, Stuart M., “Asking the Right Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking,” Ninth Edition, 2010, Pearson Education Inc., USA.]