In the history of discovery, scientists, philosophers, artists and poets have something in common, they start with a problem, and they make some new connection which solves this problem.
So many great advancements are accidents, while someone is looking for something else, they stumble upon a whole new way of looking at, or doing something.
*Alexander Fleming, while on vacation, left his lab dishes dirty and a new fungus grew which killed all the bacteria - penicillin was discovered.
*The microwave oven was invented when a scientist investigating rays had a chocolate bar in his pocket that melted.
*A Swiss scientist found burrs attached to his dog's fur, and developed velcro from this idea.
*Charles Goodyear accidentally dropped his rubber onto a hot stove, and vulcanizing rubber was invented, changing the durability of rubber, and the whole industrial system.
*In September 1940, 4 boys and their dog in the Dordogne region of France went into a cave following the legend of buried treasure. What they found, the prehistoric cave art of Lascaux, was one of the most magnificent finds of neolithic art in the world.
So, it makes sense to ask a question with an open-ended answer. To let the various connections and fragments happen as they will, and see what answer emerges. This is one magnificent way to use your journal.
Do you have a pressing question for your life?
What is the most authentic work I could be doing?
What is the best way for me to use my skills?
Is there something I could do to create a life that feels more fulfilling?
I have this particular struggle, what is something I could do to help me through it?
How can I change my perspective on this one problem?
Am I where I am meant to be?
I have been reading Zen Buddhism, and one deep understanding I am getting is that being in a Zen state is to believe that where ever you are, at that moment, is exactly where you are meant to be; that whatever you are doing at this moment, is exactly what you are supposed to be doing.
So put together the serendipity of discovering something new and unexpected along with the idea that you are exactly where you are supposed to be at this very moment.
What do you get?
I don't know the answer for you, but you can ask your journal.
Jot some possibilities, whatever comes to your mind.
Create a collage of images that appeal to you.
Play with some answers, even the most outlandish ones.
See where this takes you.
You just might find a revelation that you were looking for, but could not uncover because you were assuming you knew the answer already, but that answer was not quite right.
You just might connect two or three things in your life; people or events or projects, that will be determine your future. You might discover yourself.
"I think on some level, you do your best things when you're a little off-balance, a little scared. You've got to work from mystery, from wonder, from not knowing."
"Each person is an enigma. You're a puzzle not only to yourself but also to everyone else, and the great mystery of our time is how we penetrate this puzzle."