What is Self-Inquiry?

The specific form of self-inquiry that I use with clients is called the Living Inquiries. Before describing this process, let's just touch on what self-inquiry is.

Self-Inquiry is a timeless and scientific approach to directly discovering for oneself who one truly is. In its most direct form, it points out that this self-aware knowing which is knowing this experience right now, is you. If one were to ask, "Am I aware?", the simple knowing of the asking of the question reveals what the answer must be. This simple knowing which is necessary to know any experience, and without which nothing could be known to exist, essentially is what I am. This knowing is changeless while experiences are constantly changing. You can confirm this for yourself right now. That is why it is said to be one's essential nature. Recognizing that this self-aware knowing is what or who I am, one is free of the heaviest burden, that of believing I am a separate & temporary thing in a world of things. 

The Living Inquiries is a form of self-inquiry but its focus is not limited just to knowing who I am, although knowing who I am is part of the process. The Living Inquiries meets us wherever we're at, bringing into focus whatever challenges one is struggling with. When used to address personal issues, this tool becomes nothing less than an incredibly powerful form of guided self-help. The process is natural and embodied, where the focus of attention is frequently relaxed wide open so our knowing becomes panoramic and all inclusive. Without a tunnel vision on our triggering story, our nervous system settles and more easily comes out of its flight/fight/freeze state. 

From here we're gently and naturally guided to meet our living experience with the deepest intimacy. Tuned into and feeling through our body, we bring up what's troubling us. By being present with what comes up, stories effortlessly get unpacked and we discover the deeper beliefs fueling them. Looking directly into these deeper or core beliefs, they lose their substance and power. Like walking up to a mirage, as we approach close enough, it vanishes and we realize it was never true to begin with. The same happens with any belief. By looking closely enough it falls apart and is seen to never have been true. 

In the Living Inquires, beliefs are teased apart into their two basic components: thoughts and sensations. In my experience, when a thought arises combined with a felt sensation, it's almost automatically taken as true. As our attention is naturally drawn to focusing on the thought-feeling, we begin looking through it like a lens and our perception is subtly but completely affected. This is how our belief in thoughts becomes automatic. It's the arising felt sensation that hooks us into believing thoughts.  

For example, if you notice the thought arising "I'm going to fail," it has little to no power on its own, but compare that with the same thought "I'm going to fail" arising in conjunction with the sensation of your stomach turning upside down. Which is more believable, the simple thought or the thought-feeling? Which draws your attention more? Which one would you feel more of a need to fix? Stuck together, the thought-feeling is felt to be believable. Separate, they're not. Teasing them apart is a very simple way of cutting through beliefs. So for this example, the Living Inquiries process looks at the components one at a time to know if any one component on its own, the sensations on their own or the words or pictures on their own make true that I'm going to fail. Feeling the sensation as just a physical sensation, and knowing the thought as just a thought, they lose their power to draw our attention and be believed. Limiting beliefs of any kind can be approached this way. This oversimplified example cannot be compared to experiencing the fully embodied process first hand.

The Living Inquiries was originally developed to address compulsions, fears and deficiency stories of all kinds (I am not good enough, etc), but it works on such a fundamental level of experience that it can be used for just about anything.

The Living Inquiries can address but is not limited to:

- Fear, phobias, stress and worry

- Sadness, guilt and shame
- Past traumas
- Feelings of isolation, loneliness, mistrust and lack of safety
- Emotional wounding, including childhood issues such as abuse and neglect
- Relationship issues with partners, family members, friends and co-workers
- Boundaries and control issues
- Lack of confidence, low self-esteem and comparing self to others
- Self-judgement and criticism, perception of self
- Compulsions, obsessions and addictions, including perfectionism and pornography

- Destructive patterns and behaviors
- Feeling driven and unable to slow down or switch off
- Confusion, overwhelm and difficulties with decision making

- Ruminating
- Body image and food issues
- Health, illness, pain, aging and death

- Endless spiritual seeking and seeking enlightenment

- Existential crisis

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Interview from January 2020

Here I am interviewed by Helena Weaver where she asks about what drew me to the Living Inquiries and what I find so powerful about them.