Inquiry is about investigating or awakening to our experience in this moment (exactly as it is not how we would prefer it to be).
One of the techniques I use to inquire in to a situation and challenge my faulty thinking are the 4 Questions by Byron Katie. These questions are explained further in Byron Katie’s book Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life. The 4 Questions to challenge our thoughts are –
- Is it true? (i.e. is this thought true?)
- Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (i.e. can I absolutely know this thought is true?)
- How do you react when you believe that thought?
- Who would you be without that thought?
Before we do inquiry we have to stop, breath and become aware of the thoughts that are present and in our current experience. Which is why I use the 4 questions of inquiry with the STOP Technique (that I have talked about before). In doing inquiry numerous times, I have come to see how many of my thoughts were not true and how I was living on autopilot – a little bit like Groundhog Day!
An example of the work using the thought “He Doesn’t Listen to Me” is shown in the following 2.13min clip
Another way to do inquiry is writing down and reflecting what is going on in this moment in a journal. For example –
- What thoughts or beliefs are present?
- What feelings are present?
- What body sensations are here now?
- What do I need to pay attention to right now? or What is asking for acceptance in this moment? Then listen to the responses we receive with our heart, body and mind with genuine interest and care.
During my journey around inquiry, I have realised the importance of self-care and self-compassion – so be gentle with yourself. I have also found it important to feel in to my emotions (even though sometimes I didn’t want to). By being with the emotions, it has helped keep me grounded and in my body per se, not in my head.
Another key that was important for me when doing inquiry was to remember it isn’t about trying to get anywhere, figure anything out (i.e. why do I feel this way?) or achieve something. I am just inquiring/investigating in to the experience (thoughts, emotions, body sensations) and accepting it as if we were experiencing it for the first time (i.e. with a Beginner’s Mind).
Do you use inquiry? If so, what questions of techniques have you found useful? One other question I have often used in the past was Who or What Am I?
Feel free to share your questions or comments below.
Thanks for reading, Jane xx
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