Here are some ways I tend to talk about the Living Inquiries.
- Explore how the mind creates its experience of anything – a threat, an object, a command
- An object here can be a perceived self (deficient, inflated), others, past, future, any concept (awareness, love etc.)
- By examining two areas of experience: Senses + imagination
- Senses: sensations, sight, sound, taste/smell
- Imagination: images, sounds, smell/taste, touch, and words = images (letters, words) + sounds (spoken words)
- See how they combine to create an experience of…. anything.
- Sensations give imagination (stories, images, words) a sense of substance, solidity, reality and a charge
- Imagination gives sensations meaning (story)
- Glued together vs separated
- When sensations + imagination seem “glued” together, the imagination seems real (may appear as a threat, object, command)
- When examine how the mind creates its experience of the threat, object, command, several things happen
- Recognize imagination as imagination, and sensations as sensations
- See that our experience of the actual “thing” we are looking for is created by our mind
- This helps unglue sensations + imagination, and the sense of solidity, reality, and the charge is reduced or goes out of it completely
Where & When
- Initially easier in dedicated sessions – with a facilitator or on our own
- Then more and more part of everyday life, anywhere and any time
- As we get more experience, we can bring it into even more intense situations and experiences
- Anyone who is interested in exploring how their mind creates certain experiences
- Anyone who is interested in finding peace with what currently seem scary, overwhelming, outside of their control
- Anyone ready to examine root causes of their suffering and see it go
- Get to see how our mind creates its own experience of the world
- Get to see it’s a created experience, not “how the world is”
- There is more “space” to intentionally relate to our experience instead of acting on it automatically. We can relate to it more intentionally.
- How we relate to our own experience shifts, typically from seeing it as a problem or enemy to befriending it (seeing its innocence). When this struggle is removed there is more ease and comfort, ability to relate to it intentionally, and act with more clarity and heart.
- As a side effect, the sense of reality, solidity, and the charge in anything (a perceived threat, object, command) can reduce and perhaps even fall away
- There are little “tricks” that can help the mind get – at a more visceral level – that imagination is imagination and sensations are sensations.
- For instance, we can imagine seeing a mental image on a wall or in a book. We can imagine pushing it further away and closer in. We can imagine stretching it. We can imagine touching its surface. We can do the same with images of words.
- It can be helpful to notice the space around sense experiences and imagination.
- Notice the space around the image and between you and the image.
- Notice the space sensations happen within. Notice the same space outside and inside of the body, and outside and inside of a sensation.
- If space seems to have a boundary, explore that boundary. Is it an image combined with a sensation? Is it a real boundary? Does that image of happen within space?
- Noticing space in this way helps “dilute” our experience of anything. It’s similar to drinking a glass of water with a teaspoon of salt in it (intense) vs drinking water from a bucket or lake with a teaspoon of salt in it (it’s OK).
- As a general rule, follow what has the strongest charge in the moment. Explore how the mind creates its experience of it.
Body contractions & identifications, threats, selves, compulsions
- When sensations combine with imagination, what happens is also called velcro (Living Inquiries), a belief, or identification. (In a spiritual context, some may even call it “ego”.)
- Since sensations give imagination a sense of solidity and charge, it seems that the mind creates sensations to serve that purpose. It tenses muscles so there will be sensations that can combine with imagination to give that imagination a sense of solidity, reality, and charge.
- If the identification or belief is more long lasting, then the tensing and contraction also becomes more long lasting. It can turn out as a chronic contraction connected with and making possible any form of identification or belief (including a sense of threat, deficient or inflated self, or compulsion or even addiction).
- This is why it can be helpful, and sometimes essential, to work with the body along with the inquiry. We can help release tension and contractions out of the body through therapeutic tremoring (TRE), massage or bodywork, or other body-oriented techniques.
Relationship between imagination and reality
- Our whole world is created by sensory experiences and imagination. My experience of the world – myself, others, life, and anything – is created by a combination of sensory experiences and imagination.
- In the moment, imagination functions as an overlay of immediate sensory experiences and helps us make sense of them, interpret, and function.
- When we consider something that isn’t here – past, future, abstractions – then there is either just imagination or as described earlier imagination combined with sensations.
- This imagination is essential for helping us orient and function in the world. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. It’s only that when the mind combines it with sensations and takes it as solid and real, an additional layer of suffering is often created. (In a general sense, we can say that sensations and imagination “glued” together = identification, beliefs, velcro = suffering.)
- When we find peace with this layer creating suffering, or it softens or fall away, we are typically much better able to function in the world. We are more able to act from clarity and with some kindness. (When the mind is caught in this suffering, the mind often tells itself that the suffering is needed for action. When the suffering softens or falls away, we see that’s not true and that we can act and function more effectively without it.)
- two fields – senses + imagination
- explore how the mind creates its experience of a threat, object, command
- when recognize i/s/w as what they are, the charge tends to go out of it (less or not glued together)