Brain Pickings

Rilke on Embracing Uncertainty and Living the Questions

by

“Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves.”

Earlier this week, Jacqueline Novogratz’s wonderful commencement address reminded me of a favorite excerpt from Rainer Maria Rilke’s 1903 classic, Letters to a Young Poet (public library) — a beautifully articulated case for the importance of living the questions, embracing uncertainty, and allowing for intuition.

I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.

Letters to a Young Poet is exquisite and timeless in its entirety, and inspired Christopher Hitchens’s Letters to a Young Contrarian.

Donating = Loving

Bringing you (ad-free) Brain Pickings takes hundreds of hours each month. If you find any joy and stimulation here, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner:





You can also become a one-time patron with a single donation in any amount:





Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s what to expect. Like? Sign up.

Share on Tumblr