One of the things I love about the Living Inquiries is that we start each session exactly where we are. Whether we’re ranting, raving and emotional, or feeling frustrated, with lots bottled up, or calm and tranquil, that’s where we begin. As the client, that’s a gift in itself; I don’t have to pretend or make an attempt to be anything other than I am in that moment. As the facilitator, it’s also a gift; I can simply be present to the client just as they are, without any need or desire to change their experience in any way.
All of us have read, listened to, and heard many, many types of teaching or advice on how we should be, and how we should live. When we get caught up in trying to figure out which practice or teaching we should follow, we can spiral into frantic self-doubt, panic, or helpless despair. Likewise, when we’re trying to follow a teaching, believing that someone else has it all worked out, we can end up disillusioned and exhausted. It takes a lot of effort to try to not be what we are, after all.
Wherever the teaching or advice is coming from – a guru or spiritual teacher, a self-help author or self-improvement expert, a health practitioner, or someone closer to home – when we take on the words of others as gospel (the pun is intended), we usually end up suffering in some way or another. This may be because we feel we don’t fully understand what they’re saying, or can’t put it into practice or live up to it in some way. It may be because we compare ourselves to the other, nearly always unfavourably. We measure ourselves against the words of the other, and find ourselves deficient.
Clients often say to me, I know I should… or I ought to X, but… or I’ve read that this spiritual teacher says we must… I’ve done it myself, of course. There was a time when I was beside myself, desperately trying to work out whose path I should follow, which path would end the pain I was suffering. Once I began using the Living Inquiries, however, the motivation to follow someone else’s teachings began to wane. The need to find advice or even salvation from outside of myself began to dissipate, and I began to trust the process itself like never before. Once we begin to trust the process, we’re able to rest into what’s actually here, without the belief that anything should be any different. That’s when insights tend to effortlessly arise, and we discover the truth (in that moment) for ourselves.
When we perceive someone else as an authority, it’s usually to our own detriment. Of course, it’s wonderful that so many teachers share their insights and wisdom. However, insights – by their very nature – come from within. It doesn’t matter how many times I share my insights with you, or you with me; it’s only when an insight arises spontaneously that we get to fully grok or understand it from the inside out. I love and treasure the insights that arise in sessions, and I also know that there’s no need to hang on to them. Once the moment of insight has happened and been fully experienced, that’s it. Any attempt to turn that wonderful moment of understanding into a solid something, a creed or teaching, misses the point.
The insights I’ve had – whether I share them with you, or not – don’t make me a better (or worse) or more (or less) spiritual person. My writings – as with any other writings – may inspire you, or irritate you, or touch something within you, or illuminate something for you. What they don’t do is to make me an authority. To pretend that was the case would be a disservice to us both. Whatever the insights I’ve had, they’re meaningless by comparison to simply being present here with you, exactly as you are in this moment. But don’t take my word for it. Have a look for yourself, and become your own authority.
Fiona Robertson is a Senior Facilitator/Trainer of the Living Inquiries, and the co-creator of the Anxiety Inquiry. She loves her work, and she also loves writing, music (she used to be a bass player) and dancing (in the kitchen, mostly). She intends to live in a house by the sea one day. You can find out more about the Living Inquiries here: www.beyondourbeliefs.org and you can read Fiona’s writings here: www.whilstwalkingjack.blogspot.com. Feel free to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org