Pointers are of limited value. The word “process” is misleading. This is all there is. Seriously. Just this.
Reflections on choice, or free will, can get all tied up in knots. Drop the question, and what’s left? Just this, just what is happening. Then it becomes a matter of acceptance or resistance. Is that a choice? I don’t know. But it can be investigated. Is there resistance to what is, or acceptance? Resistance or acceptance is simply what is arising in the moment. Maybe all that can be done is to look, to check it out for yourself. Who is living this life, your so-called life?
If there is suffering, then maybe this question has yet to be thoroughly explored. There is no answer. That’s the delightful surprise. Answers are for the mind, and the mind cannot get to the root of this. It can only take you so far, and then FAIL. There is only this and the possibility of enjoying it or objecting to it in some way. The etymology of the word “choice” is “to taste, to try.” It is from the same base as “gusto.”
Look and see if there is anyone there to resist or to accept whatever is happening. If suffering is happening, does it belong to anybody? If joy is happening, is it possible that the “me” who would suffer can’t make a claim either way? What a relief! Taste it, try it. Mucho gusto.
The UI is good for investigating, looking into everyday identifications, conflicts, and beliefs about yourself and the world, as listed in this previous post. There are also “objects” to look for that you might not have considered, such as time and the body.
Can you find the past? Maybe a memory comes up, or a sensation in the body. Look and see; is that it? What about the future? It most often shows up as a sense of expectation, dread, waiting, or even a vague feeling of “not yet,” also seemingly located somewhere in the body. There can also be a slight, but otherwise unconscious, turn of the eyes as if the future is over there. Is that it?
When you focus on the body, is there anything in any physical sensation that signifies ownership? If you look at your hands, or feel tension in your chest, is there something there that clearly says “mine?” Are those hands owned, or are they merely observed?
Questions about the nature of time can be hashed over and over by the mind endlessly, to no satisfying conclusion. Even if you come up with a provisional answer, nothing is really known for sure. And is there an unquestioned belief or the assumption that “I am this body?” The Unfindable Inquiry is an experience, not a concept. Go beyond words, beyond the mind, and see for yourself, if you’re curious. It’s pretty trippy. Try it and see.
If any of the following “complaints” have a familiar ring, we can look for the one who thinks they’re a problem.
- I never have enough money to do what I want.
- I can’t believe he/she lied to me.
- Why didn’t anyone like my Facebook status?
- God, I’m fat.
- He/She never called me back.
- I’m a total failure.
- She/He didn’t even notice me.
- Why are you always late?
- He/She would never love me.
- I’m feeling pretty hopeless/helpless.
- My boss is an overbearing tyrant.
- There’s something wrong with me.
- I did all this for you, and you didn’t even say “thank you.”
- I feel left out, excluded.
- I made such an ass out myself; I’ll never live that one down.
- Stupid people really bother me.
Wherever there’s a complaint, there is an identity being triggered. Add your own to the list. What is the biggest, or the most recent, source of dissatisfaction? Even the smallest disagreements with life as it shows up can be symptoms of a general malaise, reflections of disapproval projected out there, because it’s easier than looking towards the source. A whine or a low moan might go deeper than you think. If you could get to the root of even a single complaint, you’d see them all for the ineffectual strategies they really are, and you could begin to feel yourself breaking free. Imagine that. No complaints.
“Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.” ~ The Duchess, Alice in Wonderland
“Self sabotage is the smartest thing you can do if you’re sabotaging a self that is not really you.” ~ Armand Demele
Doing the Unfindable Inquiry will not make you a better person. In fact, what you cannot find may may result in the renunciation of any and all forms of self improvement. It might, however, allow you to see quantum leaps of improvement in everyone around you. So, even better, the inquiry may make others mysteriously appear to be better persons.
“Curiouser and curiouser!” ~ Alice, Alice in Wonderland