The Unfindable Inquiry as an Incredibly Efficient Tool

After participating as both facilitater and facilitated, many, many times, I’ve come to see that it is almost indescribable how incredibly powerful the inquiry is as a transformational tool. I am continually and increasingly amazed at the efficacy of meeting and seeing through every kind of circumstance, emotion, identification—heck, there isn’t anything that can’t be rendered transparent or unfindable. It is a way of bringing awareness itself to the task at hand, whatever that may be.

And bringing presence to bear is the key to all of it. Addiction? Neither the addict nor the one with willpower to quit can be found. Surrender to that higher power. Relationship issues? The issues themselves are unfindable, but allowing presence to meet the emotions engendered changes everything. Money as a problem? It’s not the money, nor the value of objects, people, or services at issue, but the inability, if not the impossibility, of being positional on matters of value or worth. If that sounds strange or counterintuitive, try looking for the unworthy and/or the valuable. All such distinctions disappear in the gentle light of inquiry.

After sitting with what seemed to be a very uncomfortable sensation with another facilitator recently, it was amazing to watch the mind try to add drama, story, labels, and self-importance over and over again to what was ultimately only a sensation that came and went. The surprising thing was that what showed up didn’t necessarily seem like a loving presence. It felt completely impersonal. A friend recently described the inquiry as “efficient.” That nails the way the experience unfolded. It’s like the homeostasis of the body, an incredibly efficient system. I had an image of white blood cells, hands to imaginary mouths, crying, “Oh, no!” and rushing off in a panic to the nearest point of infection. The body doesn’t work that way. Life doesn’t work that way. In this, the inquiries are effective in the same way that a completely calm nurse or EMT enters into a catastrophic situation. It’s get ‘er done, without much fanfare. That kind of equanimity is a rare kind of love.
Much Ado About Nothing ~ Shakespeare

 

Staying With Subtlety

Let what comes come;
Let what goes go.
Find out what remains

~Ramana Maharshi

 Allow the next thought or the next feeling arise…then watch it fall away…add nothing to what is left in that quiet space. That subtle nothingness, the stillness and silence that follows the falling away of thought is a very powerful place to be. Linger there awhile.

It is so obvious when seen, but so subtle that we simply overlook it. Feelings and thoughts trump what is present without fanfare in an almost unconscious instantaneous dismissal. That? That’s nothing. Nothing is happening there. Look again. What is that? Can you stay there, in love and curiosity, long enough to find out?

It is only “nothing” to the mind. Experience that, rather than try to think about it, name it, or describe it. It is intimately familiar, yet totally foreign in the land of my thoughts and my feelings.

If we overlook this experience in favor of intense feelings and juicy thoughts, we spend a lifetime in bondage to those feelings and thoughts, believing they tell us who we really are. That expansive bliss; that gut-wrenching grief–that is mine. That is me.

Is it? Do not those experiences come and go? What remains between thoughts and feelings? Our identity is firmly maintained by memories (images), thoughts (words), and feelings (sensations). The point of these inquiries is to deconstruct those three elements, and ultimately see that they don’t hold together; they really don’t add up to a “me.”

We are literally addicted to our thoughts and our feelings. Are you willing to let go of the need to think about your experience? Thoughts come up. Must they be believed? Are you willing to rest for a moment without the next emotional fix? Feelings arise. Must we attempt to dwell in the “good” ones, or avoid, and even revel, in the “bad” ones? There is an untapped gold mine in that place (wherever “that place” is, whatever you want to call it), revealing a richness far beyond the gem of a thought that must be believed, or the feeling that thrills for a moment.

Give attention to that subtle instant like you would to a shy child in a noisy world. It is a doorway to an immensity that takes you far beyond the need for emotional or mental fireworks of any kind. Feels like…Home.

On Accepting Donations for the Inquiry

There is and has always been a great deal of discussion, intense, identity-charged argument actually, around the issue of charging money for—whatever you want to call this. I wouldn’t call what we’re doing with the inquiries offering “enlightenment” services, or dharma, or truth. or freedom. Again, whatever you want to call it, if you’re involved in the nondual community, you’ll know what the arguments are.

  • No one should have to pay for freedom, the truth, etc.
  • Teachers, Facilitators, Healers, etc. need to pay the bills, too.
  • Give freely what is freely available to all.
  • If the service is valued, then payment is given accordingly.
  • Get a job, Son. The truth will take care of itself.
  • Do you as a facilitator value your own time?

There are differing opinions on how this plays out amongst teachers, facilitators, and healers themselves. After careful and heartfelt consideration there is no place for me to hang my hat on this one. Can’t say “money is only energy,” or “the truth is not for sale,” or even “the universe will provide,” with any certainty, because I don’t have a handle on truth in this, or any other matter, and opinions are of dubious substance if not ultimately divisive and tend towards the realm of separation.

I could say, “I don’t have or make very much money,” but how much I have or make is not anybody else’s problem. And how much I, or you, have to spend is relative and subject to change. And when it comes to money, there’s no telling how much is enough. Sometimes the rent gets paid, sometimes that can’t be achieved—such is the case for both providers and clients.

I could say, “An hour of my time has value,” but the relativity of that statement is immediately apparent, is it not? There is no fixed, no gold standard for services of this kind, and value is in most cases could or should be more accurately determined by the recipient rather than those who offer the service.

So the policy here, lightly held, is that donations are welcomed to the extent that you, the “consumer,” value not only the service provided, but in direct proportion to the value you place on your own time, a statement or commitment to your own investment in the experience. “No one will be turned away due to inability to pay,” is the standard set by Scott and the Living Realization crew, and is, and always has been, upheld here. It’s your call. Let the argument be settled in your own heart; and may your own pocketbook and heart, be full–irrespective of what is decided there.

Feel free to weigh in on the conversation. Comments are always welcome.

 

On Finding Fear

An interesting addition to the growing number of ways to use the inquiries is to actually look for the experience, the emotion itself, instead of, or in addition to, the self that seems to have or be that. For instance, in working with someone recently who had looked several times for various deficient selves, it was seen that FEAR was the common denominator, whether it was the in regard to the abandoned self or the one who fails. So we actually went looking for fear.

Not being able to find the fear was immediately disarming to a sense of identity in general. If there’s no fear, then…what?

Having personally been facilitated in looking for doubt, I can attest to the fact that just because the concept exists and has a label does not mean, in the end, that there really is such an animal. Apparently, the emotional spectrum has its share of unicorns. In fact, doubt wasn’t even the focus of the session, but rather added on at the end of an insight so uncanny that it evoked some doubt. And then the question was asked—just because the thought is there, does it really refer to anything objective? In other words, the thought “There is some doubt,” went unquestioned, but in looking, it was seen that it only refers to some idea in the mind. There was a lot of laughter around that one. No doubt; really?

So perhaps if looking for, and not finding, the one who is not enough, or who is unlovable, brings great relief, yet fear, anger, or doubt persist in other circumstances, try to find fear, anger, or doubt itself. What you see might surprise you. Maybe all you will find is crocodile tears and a jabberwocky, or two.

Nobody Wants to Wake Up

 In nondual speak this could mean, to some, that well, yeah, there is nobody here to wake up. Even the term “wake up” is under suspicion. But beyond that nobody-home assumption is the empirical observation that truly, most just want a better life, or what A Course in Miracles refers to as a “better dream.” Cool story, Bro.

A better dream is still a dream. And in that dream, there is still a separate individual who is prone to death, loss, loneliness, and poverty, mixed in with occasional bouts of happiness, and even bliss. It’s the intermittent reinforcement of such bouts of bliss that keep the dream alive and the dreamer curled up, bedcovers pulled over her head, in an effort to shut out the light of day.

When the bliss or the peace of mind fades, seeking for the next hit begins in earnest again, and again. The inquiries can be used to get high, as in that belly laugh that often accompanies the experience of no-self, or the extremely pleasurable sense of relief that comes from not finding the never-enough persona that has been carried around like a ball and chain for decades.

Or, like a woman in an abusive relationship (the one who stays beyond all reasonable definitions of what love is), it can be seen that the infrequent moments of pleasure and comfort are not worth the inevitable pain that follows stingy allotments of affection.

There is nobody here that wakes up. But it sure seems like there are a lot of somebodys out there scrambling for the next better experience. The inquiries can be used to feel good for awhile, or as a way to step off the wheel for good. When hell becomes the occasional glimpse of heaven, refuse to settle for small favors. Go the distance; beyond nightmares and worldly dreams. Seek no more for the temporary pleasures of this world.

The Unarguable Experience


Find the teacher who will set you free from teachers and teachings.

To experience the place beyond concepts, beyond dogma of any kind, is to be free of doubt, seeking, conflict, and ultimately the sense of separation that fuels all of these states.

Life is to be lived, not missed. If there is a focus on what could be or should be, or on who or what can give it to me, then what is right here and now is overlooked.

In this video, it could be said that there is a teacher and a seeker. It could be said that there is a teaching, or a transmission that is happening, as if it were a causative relationship. It could be assumed that Papaji has given the woman something. But all he asks her to do is look. First, he asks, “What do you want?” This creates a willing suspension of the mind, or a state of wondering, perhaps. “Where are you,” he says? That is all. That is all that is ever being asked of anyone in any given moment: Look, right here, right now. Who are you? Where are you? The mind stops for an instant, and you know the answer that cannot be put into words.

What if the experience itself renders any idea about transmission irrelevant, and any distinction between teacher and student absurd? Quarrel with what is given, by whom and to whom, and that very argument will obscure what is already present and accessible, what is ultimately unarguable because it is beyond any position the mind could attempt to hold. Experience trumps the reasoning mind every time. Let this laughter be your experience.

Can You Find the Phony?

We spend our whole lives trying to be something we’re not. That is the state of human relations, in a nutshell. Everyone is a phony; otherwise known as the false self, because it is, well, not real. At some level this is always known. It is the creepy background that clouds all our interactions with others. This is why we seek approval relentlessly, why we are in continual need of validation. Because whomever we think we are is a fiction that we’re making up as we go along. We desperately want others to believe our story because in our hearts we know it’s not true, but seemingly, our survival as a person with an identity depends upon its acceptance. Some spend their entire lives looking outside of themselves for this acceptance. We call them extroverts. Others hide, or hole up and keep to themselves, so that their fragile/flimsy self image will not be challenged. We call them introverts.

The need to convince others that we are who we think we are is an aspect of what Alan Watts calls “the unsolvable problem.” Even if we manage to convince, there is always this lurking terror of being discovered. So in relationship, as a survival tactic, we must necessarily withhold some part of ourselves, and we must also pretend to be a certain way, to the point of exhaustion. And so the trouble begins. This is perhaps what is meant by Byron Katie’s phrase, “No two people ever met.” Phonies get married and then unavoidably, yet understandably, end up miserable. We also become, or feel as if we are, inadequate parents under the same ruse.

Essentially, the deficient self is the phony self. The deficient self is what Scott Kiloby calls that persistent sense of not being enough, not being lovable or likeable, of being inauthentic and dishonest. It is a doorway. Try to find the phony, the impostor, the wizard behind the curtain. You are not that. You are ultimately and utterly free–free of pretension, free of the fear of intimacy, free of the fear of betrayal and abandonment.

That sense of inauthenticity is the source of fear behind the mask, and how the fear of failure is born. Do the inquiry on the phony, whether he parades as a wizard or a cowardly lion. Take off the mask and be fearlessly authentic. You don’t have to pretend to be anything any more. You can simply be.

All Things Beautiful

Look, with eyes closed, or eyes wide open. It is all around, within and without. And then the line between the two disappears, and there is just the heartbreaking beauty of all things. No here, there. No within, without.

Look, wherever you are, and see the fragility and the overcoming. A branch breaks; a bird flies away; and the sky will never look the same. Everything in this phenomenal world, without a doubt, comes and goes. Allowing that, seeing that flux, the inevitable impermanence in each movement, is a thing to behold. Even that which appears solid and unchanging, like an immense brick wall, reveals the crack of its transformation somewhere.

Look, and let the vision of suffering crack your heart wide open. Let the rejuvenation of spring–a robins egg, a bright poppy–bring you out of winters cave. Let it all in. Let it all pass through on its way to what was. Let the heart translate what words cannot describe. It’s there on the tip of your tongue, at your fingertips, and it smells so sweet.

Look. Listen. It is all you. Let yourself disappear into it and become it. All things beautiful passing by, here and now.

Listen here while you look, if you wish: All Things Beautiful ~ Nick Cave

See Through the Illusion of Separation: If Not Now; When?

As long as one believes there is a process, there will be the experience of being in process. As long as one believes there is a teacher who imparts some-thing to a student, there is the experience of duality, of two-ness. As long as one believes that there is either abiding realization, or “got it; lost it,” there will be the experience of “not there yet.”  As such, to the extent that there is a belief in time, in others, or in a state to be reached, these things will happen, apparently.

Why not see, now, that there is nowhere to get to, no one out there to take you there, and no experience that is not a manifestation of what is, of simply this? What are the concepts, the beliefs, that keep you from seeing that you are what you seek right now? The good news is, until these are discarded, whatever comfort is provided in the experience of practice and process, in the love one feels for the teacher, and in the exhilaration of insight and realization, these experiences will be there for the sake of temporal enjoyment. The better news is also that at any given moment, one can put away “childish things.” The need for comfort, the love for an other, and the thrill of spiritual experiences can be seen as a form of bondage rather than freedom.

The most powerful form of inquiry is when there is the experience of no facilitator, no one being facilitated, and nothing to “get.” There is simply the experience of clearly seeing through these dualistic and temporal conceptions, seeing the absurdity and unnecessary suffering created at the root of all beliefs and concepts: living from the apparent illusion of separation.

If the conceptual reality demands or indicates the need for more of some-thing from someone, that someone will be there to provide that something. It is the way of a benevolent, giving, loving universe (if that is your belief). Help is provided as long as help is perceived to be needed. Ask for help and you shall receive. Then lay down all notions of insufficiency. Be done with seeking/suffering. You have nothing to lose but your most cherished opinions, and literally everything to gain.

Relationship and the Unfindable Self; Movements in the Mind

“See all suffering, doubts, questions, problems, issues, imagined attainments and losses as movements in the mind. The are all thought generated. Apart from thoughts, those things have no existence whatsoever. Nail this insight completely. Do not move from this until it is absolutely clear. There is nothing wrong with the body, mind, world or other people at any time. Fighting with those things is completely futile. All problems are the mind’s labels, judgments and interpretations. We must see that all problems are sustained and created by the mind which is fabricating them. That is one aspect. Believing the thoughts to be true is where the real bondage arises, because if you do not believe them, they have no power. But first you need to clearly see what you are dealing with—thoughts, pure and simple.” ~ John Wheeler, Right Here, Right Now.

“…nothing wrong with the body, mind, world or other people at any time.” Come join in the conversation at our newly-created Facebook group: Relationship and the Unfindable Self, where we discuss the inquiries developed by Scott Kiloby, and how they can be used to see relationship as that everyday, unavoidable and inevitable experience which points back to our true nature, and away from the notion of the separate, isolated individual. You know, the one with the problems…another thought believed.