What do we mean by “Golden Question?” Using our 7 Degrees of Illumination model, a golden question is a question that propels one forward in illumination, dispelling darkness while revealing more of the real self in the process.
In this post, we intend to explore how one might use his/her assumptions to develop such inquiry and make the most of it.
Webster defines a presupposition as “an assumption that is taken for granted.” That’s an assumption that has “settled in.” I presuppose a lot of things: that the sun will rise in the morning, that I am male, that I live in a house, etc. These assumptions I believe as truths fundamentally affect my life and the lives of others around me as I perceive them.
Presuppositions are a powerful, yet hidden window into underlying beliefs that expose themselves in the course of ordinary conversation – even those I have with myself – even in this article. They can be revealed with a fairly simple question in the form of, “What would one have to believe in order to behave in that manner?” Continuing to ask the question to each answer to the question, one can track back to very fundamental beliefs like those dealing with life and death – and maybe beyond.
Presuppositions define beliefs that compel me to say what I say and do what I do. My golden question helps me discover and take charge of my presuppositions, exposing my mind and heart to the next level of illumination.
Most presuppositions are invisible and unspoken (directly). When I tell my grandson that I think he should wear a coat against the weather, it’s my way of saying, “I love and care about you.” Even though that’s not what I said aloud, it is what I meant while I said what I said. This underlying belief I have about my grandson was revealed by the question, “What would I have to believe in order for me to say to my grandson, ‘put your coat on’?” The same might be exposed by adding the word “because” to the end of my initial statement to my grandson: “Put your coat on… because… I love and care about you.”
“I love my grandson” is just one of many presuppositions that come up for me when I ask the golden question in this example. What other beliefs might I discover as I continue investigating the presuppositions in this example?
7 Degrees of Questions
Each degree or level of illumination has its own presuppositions. Exposing those presuppositions is like finding the key to the back door of my defenses. In levels past defense, presuppositions can be used to solidify understanding.
When my level of understanding and living is at the level of first, second, and third degree illumination, the golden question provides insight into my defenses – how I keep myself stuck. Such defenses will likely respond to professional intervention – like Rapid Eye Technology. Sometimes I can deal with them effectively myself using self-hypnosis or Emotional Freedom Technique or Byron Katie’s The Work or another self-administered technique. At this level, my defenses are so strong, technique trumps awareness.
At level four and five, the golden question might morph into, “What would one REALLY have to believe in order to behave in that manner?” The intent is to reveal the “dark side” of myself – the part that knows how to lay in wait to ambush, counteract, and sabotage my efforts towards total awakening.
When a hidden “demon” is exposed, one might feel they are falling backwards in illumination – “How could any enlightened person believe/think THAT?!!” Nothing could be farther from the truth. Awakening is a process of “lighting the way” – discovering negative aspects of self is simply discovery – positive or negative is a judgment one can let go. Acceptance of myself – including my “dark aspects” – will propel me forward.
At level six, presuppositions take on the role of solidifying understanding, motivating me to continue. The golden question evolves to the form, “What do I believe that I can let go now?”
At level seven all is presupposed. The golden question is its own golden answer and vice versa – one great whole.