Any practice can be used to solidify the sense of I and its identities.
And so also with inquiry.
When I do The Work, I sometimes notice I answer in ways that confirm my initial belief. At first glance, I appear to go through the steps and answer the questions truthfully, but looking a little closer, it is obvious – to myself and probably to others, that I am answering from the perspective of my initial belief.
When I explore sense fields, a memory comes up, maybe from previous explorations or something I or someone else have written or said about it. I go to a thought about it, and am happy to land there – at least for a while.
And the same with other forms of self-inquiry, such as the Big Mind process or headless experiments.
Fortunately, life always provide feedback. When I use inquiry to confirm my initial positions and identifications, there is a sense of skimming the surface. Of skipping along at the level of thought. And there is also that familiar sense of unease and precariousness, of something more real going on outside of where I bring attention.
And I can also notice that the inquiry doesn’t seem to do much or anything. It may feel stale. The landscape is familiar. What I find tends to seem substantial and solid. My usual identifications are still in place.
What is the remedy? For me, it seems that the main remedy is sincerity. Shifting into sincerity enough to see what is going on and admitting it. Sincere enough to find what is really going on, instead of going to a thought for an answer.
Inquiry itself is also a remedy. I can clarify my motivation. I can explore what happens when I go to a thought and use inquiry to confirm my initial position, and what happens when there is more sincerity.
- using inquiry to confirm a position
- go to habitual answers (from memory, go to a story) (the work, sense field exploration etc.)
- answer in ways that confirm the initial position (in the work)