Is that image afraid? A simple form of inquiry

Sometimes, in daily life, I find that a very simple form of inquiry can be helpful. The particular form of inquiry varies, and lately it’s been this one.

For instance, I notice what a thought would call “fear”.

Look at the word “fear”. Look at the letters. (Or listen to the sound.) Is that word afraid? Can it be afraid?

Feel the fear. Feel the sensations without the label. Is that sensation afraid?

Is there an image associated with that sensation? Look at that image. Is that image afraid?

Is there another image associated with the fear. Look at the image. Is the image afraid?

This helps me see how the mind creates the experience of fear. It shows me the components of that experience, and that these are not in themselves afraid.

I can do the same with anything that’s here, whether a thought would call it an emotion, discomfort, pain, deficiency or anything else. I can even explore people and objects, and myself, in this way. (Is that image of an apple an actual apple? Can you eat it? Does the image itself have a taste?)

Note: This type of question is from the Living Inquiries, which is more comprehensive and less prescribed than this.


– bring to mind stressful (painful, distressing) situation, notice awareness (happening within/as/to awareness)
– bring to mind enjoyable situation (peaceful, fun), notice awareness
– repeat a few times, notice awareness through it all
– can also look for the observer, doer, the me, notice awareness through it (then also for awareness itself, can you find it? locate it? point to it? is it a thing, an object?)


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