We experience life through our bodies. That includes the physical (muscles, bones, guts), energy (senses, nervous system), feelings/emotion, thought, the various layers of mind and our being, consciousness, the space in which all this arises. There are no hard dividing lines between the various layers or dimensions. We often pay attention to one dimension more than others. Many people are almost completely absorbed in the thought stream. That doesn’t mean the other layers disappear because we aren’t mindful of them at a particular time.
Our brains are literally shaped and developed by our experience throughout life. When we feel loved and well cared-for, our system relaxes and we experience creativity, joy, expansion and connection. When we feel unsafe or experience trauma, our survival mechanisms kick into gear and we become hyper-vigilant for danger. These experiences become stored in our bodies and we are often driven by these unconscious energies for years.
The Living Inquiries are a form of guided self-inquiry. Yoga meditation, Buddhist and most spiritual traditions have a form of self-inquiry. When we become willing to look, to get to know ourselves and our experience, the Living Inquiries are an effective method, a safe pathway for this knowing to unfold and evolve.
Our experience shows up as thought and sensation. Thoughts are words and/or images. Sensation includes feelings and energies in the body. The Living Inquiries use a very specific way of slowing down and looking at each of these elements and asking one of three questions.
Is that me? The Unfindable Inquiry (the UI) is the inquiry we use to see that a particular person (e.g., self or other) is empty of separate nature. Most people have core deficiency stories based on their past experience. Common ones include feeling unlovable or unworthy. We see through this inquiry that this core belief consists entirely of thoughts (words, images) Velcroed to sensation in the body.
Where is the urge to … ? The Compulsion Inquiry can be used on any compulsion, addiction, or craving, including food, alcohol, sex/porn, gambling, internet use, obsessive compulsive behaviors, and seeking enlightenment. Trauma is at the root of the need to get away from our experience, to distract ourselves. The nervous system is charged and we attempt to down-regulate and calm ourselves in a continuum of distraction to addiction.
Is this word, images or sensation a threat? The Anxiety Inquiry looks for the seemingly external threat, danger, or attack as well as the internal sense of self that is threatened, endangered, or attacked. Our nervous systems have evolved to protect us with the fight/flight/freeze mechanism. Once our systems are activated we can spend decades being hyper-vigilant about something that was a very real threat to us at one point in our lives and is now being relived through images and energy. We have specific methods of gaining new perspective and releasing the charge on these memories. Working with anything that brings up feelings of being unsafe is often best held in a facilitated session.
Click here for DVD: Understanding the Living Inquiries Before You Inquire
The Boomerang Inquiry is an additional tool to use when you can’t quite name or “get a feel for” the deficient self. Like a boomerang that returns back to the thrower, the deficient self is mirrored back to you in relationship. By using the Boomerang Inquiry, you’ll see that mirroring effect and you’ll be able to name and then see through the deficient self that is being reflected back to you in relationship. You can inquire into your relationship with anything using the Boomerang Inquiry—any person, place, event, goal, or other thing. When we really believe that we are deficient at the core, almost everything can appear to confirm our story.
The Panorama Inquiry is based on the panorama view of all your relationships with people and things. Like the Boomerang Inquiry, it is merely a tool to help you name the deficient self that is being mirrored back to you in all your relationships. Once you name it, you then try to find it using the UI.
*Perhaps the most important thing about these inquiries is that they are best experienced, at first, with a facilitator. The facilitator gently guides you through the questions, so that you can just look at words, pictures, emotions and sensations.
The facilitators are trained to help you use the Boomerang and Panorama Inquiries if you have difficulty putting a name to how you feel about yourself when you find conflict or disharmony in relationships. The Compulsion Inquiry and Anxiety are woven together with the Unfindable Inquiry. A facilitator can help hold the space for a person sitting with uncomfortable or scary sensations. We all have patterns and habits of the mind that contribute to suffering. A facilitator can direct and maintain our attention on the source of anxiety or identification and help release the Velcro or charge.
Testimonial by Lane: “I’m grateful for Lynn’s sensitivity, integrity and skill as she holds the space for me to feel the fear I’ve unknowingly avoided my entire life. Lynn’s gentle intelligent guidance through the Living Inquiries has helped release the Velcro that kept my thoughts welded to my gut-wrenching feelings. That welding, that Velcro drove my self-defeating behaviour. Anyone considering this work could only benefit from Lynn’s compassion and expertise.”