The Therapy Booth

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Practical Use of Living Inquiries: What is the thing you’re battling (or going for)?

Image from http://www.mrwallpaper.com/woman-flower-petals-dress-wallpaper/

Image from http://www.mrwallpaper.com/woman-flower-petals-dress-wallpaper/

 

I walked what we might all call the spiritual path for many years, starting when I discovered meditation as a way possibly to help me slow down my racing mind and get some sleep. In the early years, I was reading stories of Indian saints and had a hope that I, too, would go to India and have a guru bop me on the head and all would be sparkly and happy and total drooling bliss.

Eventually — and I’m glad to say — that specific desire relaxed (just in time for me to go to India — whew), but as I continued my studies and followed what resonated for me, I continued to carry some ideas that were sticker.

I listened to recordings of teachers and read books and meditated and hoped that I might just reach “the final goal,” as Goenka of the Vipassana world called it.

I found much of what I heard and read to be comforting, relaxing even. I found support in beginning to see that life wasn’t necessarily the way the world I’d grown up in had agreed it was. But there was a new agreement forming, and I didn’t catch it right away.

Amidst the context of restfulness, emptiness, and burgeoning quiet, there was also division, shame, separation, elitism, judgment, fear, etc.

I was hung up on concepts that I didn’t realize I was hung up on: awakening, ego, enlightenment, trust, resistance, even love.

Enter Scott Kiloby’s Living Inquiries and their utter usefulness. As my friend Deena described them recently, the inquiries are practical. They are not another spiritual aphorism meant to point to something that cannot really be described. They are a simple and direct tool to find out if the bits and pieces that we’re holding to as our touchstones and anchors and heels-dug-in strongholds are actually existing in the way we imagine them to be.

As I’m writing this, I’m imagining folks leaving the page at this point, as looking into these strongholds might not be for everyone. I mean, who am I if I’m not someone trying to overcome my ego, for example? Who am I if there’s not really any such thing as this “mind” that I’ve been fighting to deny all this time?

If you’re still with me, I encourage you to have a look. And believe me, I’m writing from my direct experience. I wouldn’t care about it otherwise, I’m sure, and I certainly wouldn’t be trying to get anyone else to get into it. Though back in the day, I used to throw around words like, “That’s not who you REALLY are,” as if I knew what they meant, as if there was such a thing as who you really are as well as such a thing as who you’re not. I was hypnotized by language that I’d heard before, and I was using it as if I knew what it meant, when actually, I was dividing up my experience and drawing lines of separation between myself and others and even amongst aspects of myself.

I have received much comfort from the restful confidence of teachers and the context that’s created by certain points of view and certain communities. I go for what resonates for me, and I know that it’s not the same for everyone. I wouldn’t want it to be. One of the most fun parts about life is that what I’m uniquely interested in shows up. I wouldn’t want others to follow what resonated for me if it is not what really stirs their hearts. And I would suggest that my own looking with Living Inquiries, along with some other tools that I love and fun bits that beautifully compliment LI, has contributed deeply and practically, to this freedom of being me. But I wasn’t free as long as I thought that I still needed to fight my ego.

I am deeply thankful for the efficient and effective use of inquiry to find out: what am I clinging to as a point of view? What am I holding tightly to that’s actually causing me more pain and suffering, rather than contributing to my freedom?

Take a moment and look for yourself at what may have been unexamined up until this point. Listen to the phrases that you’re convinced are real and serve as anchors in your life.

Are you fighting the ego?

What if you applied a simple and straightforward style of inquiry to find out if the ego exists in the way you’ve been imagining?

Trust me, I’m not here to lay on another concept now called “there’s no ego.” I am inviting you to have a direct look. It goes something like this (and you can insert any concept, and, in fact anything that you can name, into this game):

Look at this word: e g o.

Really look at those letters and tell me, is that the ego you’ve been fighting?

If you get an automatic logical, “Well, of course those letters aren’t it,” look a bit closer. Feel into your body and find out if there’s something there giving you the indication that these letters might not be it, but it might still be there somewhere.

Take some time with that sense in your body. Rest with it and get to know it quietly and intimately.

Now look: is that sensation this things we call “ego”?

Rest and feel into it. Is that sensation somehow announcing itself as “ego”?

Maybe you get a no at this point. So rest a moment, and then we’ll look a little further.

Bring up all the images that come to mind when you think of ego. People you imagine are ego-ful. Yourself in moments when you feel you’re driven by your ego. Certain words that come up that seem to be coming from the ego. What about images of people who seem to have overcome it. Are those ego? Are those whatever you call the lack of ego?

Rest with each of these and take them, one by one, and find out if, inherently, any one of them is actually this demon we’ve been trying to fight and overcome and that we’ve been shaming ourselves that we can’t get beyond. What is it, literally, that we’re trying to get beyond?

You can insert the word “mind” instead of ego. You can insert “enlightenment” in the same way, and look and feel into all of your ideas of what enlightenment is, who has it, who doesn’t, what it means about you that you either do or don’t have it. What about the word “teacher” or “guru”? Have you looked into those?

For me, the context that’s created by teachers can be so incredibly helpful and supportive, but without taking a direct look into the strongholds — that often we don’t even realize are concepts/words/ideas/memories/information we’re parroting from someone else and someone else before him — we can remain stuck in this cycle of separation and division within ourselves.

I tried to fight the ego for a long time and felt shame that I couldn’t. Until I took a direct look and realized it wasn’t there as I’d thought it had been. And the house of cards came tumbling down.

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If you’re interested in connecting with a community who is looking in this way, join us on Facebook, or contact me directly at thetherapybooth@gmail.com.

For more information about Scott Kiloby and the Living Inquiries, please visit www.kiloby.com and www.livinginquirires.com.

 

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The Enlightenment/Awakening/What-that-other-guy-has-that-I-don’t-have-yet Course

For more on looking for enlightenment,
check out Waiting for the Big Bang.
If you can relate to what you read in that article, this class may be for you.

 DanglingCarrot

Do you recognize some of these?

Waiting to wake up.

Searching for truth.

Glimpsing enlightenment but it doesn’t stay.

My teacher has it.

I don’t have it.

I want it.

I have moments of awareness, but I fall back into being unconscious again.

If I were enlightened, I wouldn’t be experiencing _________________.

I must not be awake because I still _________________.

I’m awake, but you’re not.

I can’t seem to stay in awareness.

We’re supposed to be all one, but I don’t really get it.

I’ve been eating the right food, doing this stretch, chanting these prayers, and trying to control my thoughts, but I’m still failing.

If you really knew what goes on in my head, you’d know that I am so far from enlightenment.

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Brass Ring

And what about this one: Enlightenment means _______________ .

Let’s have a look together and see if we can actually pinpoint it. Let’s see if we can find this elusive mysterious state where life is total drooling bliss (my favorite definition of enlightenment), total harmony, wealth, good sex (or no sex, if your image of spiritual awakening includes celibacy), pure happiness, lack of any desire, total love and compassion for everyone and everything, and — don’t forget — no thoughts, or at worst, only loving thoughts. Wow, where is this Emerald City?

Do you ever notice that the road there seems painful? That the sense that I-don’t-have-it-yet — or worse still — I-tasted-it-and-now-it’s-gone-again is as brutal as anything else along the path? What if you could just step right off the path? What if you could see it disintegrate, right before your eyes? Does this sound scary?  We can look there too. I assure you, there is nothing safer.

I’m not here to knock your spiritual devotion. I’m offering to look with you to see if we can find this thing that seems just out of reach but that is also more important than anything else. It is, right? Well, if it is, we ought to be able to find it. Let’s look together and see what we can see.

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Here’s how the class will go:

Using the Living Inquiries (Unfindable, Anxiety and Compulsion Inquiries) as developed by Scott Kiloby and our team of senior facilitators, we will look into all aspects of enlightenment (or awakening or whatever you call the thing that other guy has but you don’t have yet — fill in your own blank) including: enlightenment as a concept; deficiency stories about the self as relates to enlightenment; fear around having, getting, losing or keeping enlightenment; and the compulsion to seek enlightenment or awakening or whatever you call that elusive “it.”

Three Group Calls (on-line, video chat)
– these calls will introduce you to the basics of Living Inquires. They are also a rich opportunity to experience others as they are facilitated in the inquiry process, often deepening your own insights.

Four Individual Sessions (on-line or by phone) with Living Inquiries Senior Facilitators, Carin Channing and Samantha Vickery Gray, and 1 – 2 sessions with additional certified facilitators
– these sessions run between 60 and 90 minutes and will be designed BY YOU. That is, we will look at your unique, personal experience with this topic. This is a tremendous opportunity to delve deeply and thoroughly in a gentle and supportive atmosphere.

A Private Facebook Group for members of this course where you can share experiences, ask questions, get and give support and receive reminders and tips in between sessions.

Other Course Details:

Cost: $425 ($400 if you have already taken a Deepening Course with me)

Dates and Times of Group Sessions:

Tuesday, October 8, 6 – 8 pm CST (same time zone as Chicago — please check your local time)

Tuesday, October 15, 6 – 8 pm CST

Tuesday, October 29, 6 – 8 pm CST

It’s recommended that you begin to schedule your individual sessions as soon as you register for the course.

* Class size is limited to 10 participants. Register early to hold a spot. * If these dates and times don’t work for you but you are interested in receiving notifications about other courses, email me.

Ready to register?

Select your payment option from the drop down menu below.


Enlightenment/Awakening/What-that-other-guy-has-that-I-don’t



What else can we explore in this class?

Whatever else seems just out of reach. What is it that you’re always going for but can’t quite grasp? The perfect relationship, weight, career, purpose, accomplishment, success . . . whatever that sneaky something is. Let’s meet it.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Why am I inspired to offer this class?

For many years, awakening or enlightenment was my goal, and it was the only goal. I had a strong belief that there was something called truth, and that some people knew about this and others didn’t. I felt elite in my taste of it, and I also felt lowly in my lack of it. But it was all I wanted. I can remember moments when I had the thought, “I think this might be it. I think this is what they were talking about.” And yes, there was a subtle grasping – hopefulness – and also a sneaky fear. “How do I keep this? What if it goes away?”

With the advent of the Living Inquiries, I had the opportunity to bring “enlightenment” to the Unfindable Inquiry. Interestingly, I forgot that I even did the UI on this subject. It just seemed to me that seeking enlightenment had become a non-issue, just from being around the inquiries a lot. And it really is a non-issue for me anymore. Sure, other things come up, and I continue to join in the looking. But this promise of whatever-I-imagined-it-to-be has completely relaxed for me. And I’ll tell you, it’s a great and worthwhile relief.

Questions? Write to carin_channing@yahoo.com. If you’re ready to join us, click the Buy Now button above.

For more information about Scott Kiloby and the Living Inquiries, please visit www.kiloby.com and www.livinginquirires.com.

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Artwork from
– http://splinterinthemindseye.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/DanglingCarrot.gif
– http://adelekenny.blogspot.com/2011/07/poetry-pormpt-63-carousel.html
– http://grr9.deviantart.com/art/Just-Out-of-Reach-207970059

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Waiting for the Big Bang

This morning I was listening to a recording of a spiritual seeker talking with a teacher, saying that he still hadn’t gotten it. He shared that he was waiting for a great and magnificent unveiling of the eyes, a Big Bang of an experience, proving that he had – at last – reached the final goal.

This final goal is fondly called by many names: enlightenment, awakening, merging with the Beloved, infinite awareness, peace, bliss, love, light . . .

The imagined experiences of it also wear many titles and costumes: rolling on the floor laughing, the earth and sky cracking open and light pouring from the body, or – my favorite – total drooling bliss.

And then there are the imagined “after” pictures: never experiencing pain, no sadness or anger or jealousy, beauty, affection, riches, never being bothered ever again by anything, ultimate kindness and compassion, the living embodiment of beatification.

So, what does all this say about you, me, or anyone who experiences pain or judgmental thoughts, who feels desire or longing or weariness, who is certain this can’t be it?

What we often miss is turning and looking right at what this it is, the one that this isn’t. What is it that we have or haven’t achieved? Is a moment of sitting in front of our teacher laughing and laughing and laughing it? Is a day when language doesn’t come and silence is all that’s needed or desired it? Is having people come to you as a teacher it? If material abundance is appearing as if miraculously, is that it? How about talking in non-dual buzzwords or commenting or a posting on Facebook? How about a YouTube video?

In a way, this is like watching lots of romantic comedy movies and holding out for the perfect Hollywood romance. And, not only holding out for that, but also being convinced that there’s something very wrong if that’s not how our relationships look. So now we have the added not-it of stewing in our wrongness about not having or being it.

Wow, no wonder we’re seeking something different.

For many years on the spiritual path, I had a vague idea of this thing called enlightenment (see total drooling bliss, above). I wanted to go off to India and meet a guru who would bop me on the head and all would be love and rainbows and fireworks and sunshine and . . . well, actually, even that may be more fully formed than what I’d actually imagined I wanted. But I wanted it (whatever it was), and I thought I was supposed to have it — or, at least, I was supposed to be going for it. Eventually I concluded this was never going to happen for me in this lifetime, even though there was still a longing. I thought that it would take twenty years of meditating in a cave, like a glowing baba I met once, to have the shift happen — yonder Big Bang. And so, I sat in longing, still looking at others who seemed to have it, and still thinking there was something wrong with these little comings and goings that signified I hadn’t made it.

big bang

Some years ago,  I came across Eckhart Tolle. I was greatly influenced by reading A New Earth and listening to Eckhart reading The Power of Now on my mp3 player. I could definitely feel something shifting and a recognition of what he seemed to be pointing seemed to happen sometimes, but I still had this sense of I got it/I lost it, or as Scott Kiloby aptly calls it, oscillation. And, I couldn’t call Eckhart on the phone to get pointers when I was going through this and that. I wanted to be like him, and didn’t believe I could, but I got these glimpses . . .

Then I met Scott, and that meeting was a game changer. Not the event of physically coming in contact with Scott but what was being pointed. Scott pointed me directly into seeing that any idea I had of how something was supposed to be was nothing but that, an idea. More specifically: words, images and sensations in the body. And sometimes tucked away thoughts – again, just words – that assign meaning to the moment, like that it means something about me that I’m experiencing X, Y, or Z. Whatever you think is being pointed in non-dual or spiritual awakening conversation is not what you think it is. It can’t be. Trust me, but don’t take my word for it. Look for yourself.

What is it that you don’t have yet? What is it you haven’t done or felt or seen? What is it about this moment right now that indicates awake or asleep? And what is awake and what is asleep?

These are all things we look into in the Living Inquiries, developed by Scott Kiloby, out of his direct experience with the clearing and falling away of ideas about achieving a spiritual goal. We aren’t fighting our ideas, we’re simply turning and looking directly into what we think is going on — usually the thing that seems to be fueling suffering. There is a good amount of suffering from the I got it/I lost it thing. I’ve experienced it and I meet with people all the time who also suffer under the weight of what they think they should be but they aren’t. Of not yet having that Big Bang experience. Or, God forbid, having had it and it didn’t stay.

What if the thing you’re waiting for is already happening, right now, no matter what?

Don’t think about that question. Let the mind rest, and let’s look.

 

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For questions and to schedule an individual session, write to thetherapybooth@gmail.com.
Click here for more on the Living Inquiries. Click here to join a Facebook group supporting the Living Inquiries.

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