When I worked with addiction clients (at the Kiloby Center), I noticed that it was relatively easy to see how willing, ready, and wholehearted the clients were about being sober, and that the more willing, sincere, wholehearted, and receptive they were, the more likely they were to succeed.

That’s how it is for any of us in any area of life, including healing emotional issues and changing our orientation to life (befriending).

So how do we arrive at this readiness? It seems that the main factor is recognizing – deeply, viscerally, through experience – that the pain of changing (and there is often some pain involved) is less than the pain of staying in the old pattern.

Is there a way to prepare the ground for readiness? As with so much, it comes through grace and on its own time. At the same time, there may be some ways to invite it in. Inquiry is one. Heart-centered practices is another. Being really vulnerable and honest with ourselves and (a trusted) other is yet another way, and a vital component.

Read More

Elements of readiness

Meeting our own experience takes readiness.

Since I am mostly using Natural Rest and the Living Inquiries these days, I’ll focus on readiness for more wholeheartedly using these approaches as I write this post. I assume much of what I write applies to readiness for other approaches.

What are some elements of this readiness?


We may have reached “rock bottom” in one area of life. We may realize that what we have done in the past doesn’t work anymore, and perhaps never really worked.


We trust it works from trusting the facilitator, testimonials, the tradition, or something else.

We trust it works from our own experience. We may have gone deep in one trauma or issue, found resolution, and trust it because we know from own experience that it works. (This is why it’s often so important to continue looking at one trauma or issue until it resolves, especially in the beginning.)

We have an intuition that it works. (Perhaps even a calling.)


We are guided by someone who has the skills to guide us through it.

We have the skills to guide ourselves through it.


We identify and face our fears of meeting our experience, and explore these fears through inquiry. These may be fears of meeting certain images, words, and sensations. Fears of what it means for my life if I find clarity on my old hangups. Fear of not doing it right. Fear it won’t work.

We identify and explore stories and identities that prevent us from doing wholehearted inquiry. These may be stories saying that our rational understanding is enough or that we can do it later. Deficient selves telling us we are not good enough, incapable, broken beyond repair, or it’s hopeless. Or inflated selves telling us we don’t need it.

I am sure there is more to it. Sometimes, it’s just not the right place, person, or time of our life. Something else is calling us mores strongly. And that’s absolutely fine. These things are not for everyone or at any time in their lives. There are many other ways to live a life. There are many other approaches to exploring our life and experience.

These tools are tools, helpful for some people in some situations and for some purposes.

Read More

Desperation & Trust

Natural rest and inquiry are both about noticing and allowing.

In natural rest, we notice what’s here and allow it to be as is. We may also notice that what’s here is already allowed (by life, mind), and shift into more consciously aligning with that allowing.

In inquiry, we ask simple questions (wordlessly or with words) to notice what’s already here, and arrive at a place of effortless noticing and allowing.

It’s not about manipulation or creating something new.

It may not seem very exciting. It may not seem to lead anywhere we are not already familiar with, and what we are familiar with may not be completely satisfying.

So why would we want to explore natural rest or inquiry? Why would we want to see what’s here, and find an allowing of it as is?

To arrive at this place we may need desperation or trust, or a combination of the two.

We may come to it from desperation after having tried a wide range of other approaches, usually of the manipulation kind, and see that they don’t really work. We may come from trust. Either trust in the facilitator and the approach, or that what’s here is OK or perhaps even what we want.

And that’s perhaps where readiness comes in. When we see that the manipulation game isn’t entirely satisfying, we are more ready for engaging in the noticing and allowing form of exploration. And similarly, when we find a deeper trust that what’s here is fundamentally OK as is, we may be more ready for noticing and allowing.

Read More