Buber’s I & Thou and inquiry

 

Buber’s main proposition is that we may address existence in two ways:

  1. The attitude of the “I” towards an “It”, towards an object that is separate in itself, which we either use or experience.
  2. The attitude of the “I” towards “Thou”, in a relationship in which the other is not separated by discrete bounds.

One of the major themes of the book is that human life finds its meaningfulness in relationships. In Buber’s view, all of our relationships bring us ultimately into relationship with God, who is the Eternal Thou.

Wikipedia

I haven’t made many connections between traditional philosophy and inquiry here, but I thought I would mention a few (pretty obvious) things. For instance, Martin Buber’s I and Thou and how it relates to inquiry.

As I mentioned in the post about the client and her dog, inquiry can soften any sense of boundaries which in turn opens for a natural sense of intimacy. This intimacy can be with ourselves, our immediate experience, others, the wider world, life in general, and presence (aka God, Spirit).

As we explore how our mind creates its experience of objects, beings, separation, boundaries, and any fears or compulsions created from this sense of separation and boundaries, our experience of these changes. It becomes much lighter, less invested with emotional energy. And that opens for a sense of intimacy.

Ecopsychology and inquiry

 

Inquiry can easily be used in an ecopsychology context.

Specifically how depends on the person and his or her situation.

For people concerned about our current ecological situation, we can look at fear, stress, a sense of inadequacy etc.

For people worried they are not doing enough, we can look at guilt, shame, fear, and commands to do more (or less!).

For people caught up in us vs them thinking, we can look at identities and perceived boundaries creating this sense of division and separation.

For people who want to experience a deeper connection with nature, we can look at identities with a charge that creates a sense of separation.

There is no end to possibilities. It would be fun to do a workshop on this one day. It could perhaps be combined with Practices to Reconnect developed by Joanna Macy.

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Inquiry and intimacy

 

A client mentioned that she had done inquiry on her dog. She explored how her mind creates its experience of the dog, which allows her to hold her perceptions about her dog more lightly. Some of the sense of solidity had gone out of it. I asked her if her relationship with her dog had changed, and she said it’s more intimate.

That’s my experience as well. As I continue to explore how my mind creates its experience of me, others, life, and more, there is a deepening sense of intimacy with myself, others, and life.

The boundaries created by the mind has less charge and seem less real and solid, so there is naturally a sense of intimacy.