By Scott Kiloby
When working with clients who are exploring how to use the Living Inquiries, I often get these questions, “What inquiry should I start with?” “For example, do I use the Anxiety Inquiry and look for the threat or the Unfindable Inquiry and look for the self?” “What form of the question should I use – where is the threat on that picture or is there a threat on that picture?” There are many ways to answer these questions. Sometimes a particular inquiry with a particular form of the question is needed.
But let me answer the question from a more general perspective. Remember that the basic guidance is to rest and let everything be as it is. Rest means “doing nothing” with what arises – not trying to change, get rid of or indulge what arises. Maybe the best answer to all those questions is this: use whatever inquiry and whatever form of the question works for you. We don’t want to put the inquiries in a box or think of them as a strict formula.
Let me give you an example. I’m a nine on the enneagram. Nines tend to have a fixation with body and comfort for the body. The way I experienced this fixation was a successive series of mental images for each sensation that arose and a kind of fixation as I focused on each sensation. Granted, not everyone experiences mental images on sensations. So I’m not suggesting that this is your experience. I’m only sharing mine. But once I noticed this fixation, I dropped a lot of the usual inquiry questions and reframed a new inquiry question like this: “Is there a command to focus on that picture?” The focusing was a fixation which tended to make the sensation a bigger deal than it really was. Noticing that I could not find a command on any mental image (and there were a lot of them, one after the other), it’s like my system lost interest in monitoring my body or fixation on the sensations. This helped a lot to dis-identify from the thoughts (which were mental images for me) around body sensations. It was exactly the inquiry that I needed. In order to see that, I didn’t get get hooked into staying inside a particular formula with this work. I had to see what my actual experience was, to see where and how fixation was showing up. I had to notice that there seemed like a command to focus on every picture around contraction and even physical pain. It was like I was experiencing an addiction to these images. And that addiction just kept the blocked sensations around. So the form of the question,”Is there a command to focus on that picture” worked very well to allow a natural resting and allowing everything to be as it is.
If you are using these inquiries, pick the inquiry and the form of the question which helps you recognize that natural resting and allowing. Find out what bring about that natural surrender to your experience as it shows up moment by moment. That’s one way to really know how to use this work – to trust your own experience. Remember, with the inquiries, we are always looking for something. For me, it was the command to focus. For you, it might be something else entirely.