Inquiry was the key to opening up my unconscious. It gave me a way in to this mysterious place that dictated every part of my life. Until I understood inquiry, I was oblivious to my motivations, which kept me blinded to my emotions and why things were happening to me the way they were. It also helped me forgive and let go of the old baggage I was carrying around. Inquiry de-cluttered my mind.
It’s an active meditation. You actively search for how you feel at any given moment. It’s like being present. The difference is that it’s focused within. Presence asks you to notice what’s around you – the birds’ chirping, the smell of the air, the din of traffic. Inquiry is noticing everything that is going on in your body, without judgement or comment.
I take it a step further and use this method to explore and confront anything that stirs up negative emotions in me. It’s just like dealing with bullies. When you stand up to them and show that you’re not afraid, they leave you alone. I do the same with negative memories. Anything that brings up fear or anger, I will purposefully visualize myself back into the situation and feel it through.
The results are unimaginably freeing.
It’s like going through fire, which takes practice and courage. It’s not for the faint of heart.
The process goes like this:
- I start by sitting in a quiet place.
- Scanning the feelings in my body, focusing on wherever there is discomfort or tension.
- I stay with the discomfort and let it take me wherever it wants to go.
- If a painful memory or thought pops up, I bring it to the forefront of my mind.
- Feeling whatever comes up and let it pass through. Relaxing all the muscles that might be tensing up.
- I stay with the feeling and memory.
- If my mind drifts off, I gently bring it back.
With practice, the emotional charge of the memories and thoughts lessened. Past hurts are no longer as important. Negatives thoughts don’t pop up as often. This worked for big traumas as well as small irritations.
The key is to allow the feeling to pass through without judgement or trying to hold onto it. Like in the movies where you see a ghost passing right through a person – feelings can do the same. My chest tightens and my stomach churns whenever I’m upset or afraid. At times like these I know there’s something I’m holding onto. This is when I tune into how I’m feeling and let everything relax. The more I breathe through it and let the feelings pass through me, the better I feel.
Whenever I work on a difficult memory, the results are rarely instantaneous. Most of the time, it’s only in retrospect that I see how I’ve let something go. It happens slowly, imperceptibly. For smaller irritations, the results are usually instant.
I’ve been doing this active form of inquiry for over a year, and I’ve gone from a mind filled with negativity to relative peace. I get the occasional moment of drama, but it’s much more manageable. Most of the time my mind is clear and placid. My thoughts are either in the present or focused on something constructive, like “What’s for lunch?”
This will likely be an ever evolving process me, and I’m grateful that I have this powerful tool to open up my life.