Any activity is a form of inquiry, and especially when it’s taken as inquiry. When there is some curiosity and inquisitiveness, openness to what’s here, and willingness to go beyond what’s familiar.
A conversation can be inquiry, or reading or hearing someone sharing their experiences (including teachings).
An activity can be inquiry. For instance, as a kid I had some fear of what may be lurking beneath the surface of the water as I swam in lakes, rivers and the ocean. So I took up snorkeling, explored what was under the surface, and saw it was OK.
Any practice is a form of inquiry, including prayer. What happens when I pray? What resistant thoughts surface, and what’s more true than each of these?
Just sitting, shikantaza, is an invitation for the field of awareness to notice itself as a field of awareness, and for becoming more familiar with the dynamics of the mind.
And then there are the more explicit forms of inquiry, such as sense field explorations, the Big Mind process, The Work, headless experiments and so on.
Note: I am also reminded that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a two-fold inquiry, first into thoughts and then through behavior. What are my fearful thoughts about height? What do I find when I inquire into these thoughts? How would it be to live without these thoughts? What happens when I expose myself to heights, in a gradual and safe way, being gentle with myself? Is it true it’s not OK? Is it true it’s too much?
– conversation, teachings etc.
– doing, e.g. snorkeling
– any practice, what happens
– just sitting
– sense field exploration
– big mind process
– the work