The Therapy Booth

resting, doodling and holding love signs

Don’t Hesitate! Create!

I’ve been thinking about what messages I want to share, like what would I want my people to hear if this was my last day on earth or I’ve already passed on? I imagine some of this will shift and change, but my top three so far are:

1. Have creative outlets. If you need help and I’m not around anymore, buy my books, learn from Doodle Masters I’ve trained, do The Artist’s Way, do a 30 Day Doodle Challenge with Melissa McClain if she’s still doing them, or just get with some friends or do it on your own. Just learn not to hesitate and instead create.

i'm doodlng carin

2. It’s not for everyone, but I suggest giving Living Inquiries a try. Learn to rest fully in the moment and explore your present experience with some compassionate assistance. Get to know it, and if it clicks, you’ll have an awesome tool that is like nothing else, and its well worth it. It helps both allow thoughts, feelings, and beliefs and also relax them. I don’t suggest attempting to inquire everything away. Just get to know it & use it when things are feeling particularly clogged, stuck, scary or solid.

3. Discover and honor your heart’s unique calling and learn to recognize and listen to your inner guidance system. Writing and doodling and meditation and Artist Dates are just a few ways. Learn the benefits of – yes – being selfish. Trust yourself and know yourself well.

Photo Credit: http://s2.favim.com/orig/30/alone-girl-gras-green-silenc-Favim.com-246245.jpg

Photo Credit: http://s2.favim.com/orig/30/alone-girl-gras-green-silenc-Favim.com-246245.jpg

And as long as I’m around, I can point you in these directions if you need/want assistance. This is your one and only life in this particular form. No one else can express like you or has your unique visions and dreams. Liberate them for the benefit of all!

Contact me at thetherapybooth@gmail.com.

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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.

* * * * *

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.

* * * * *

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.

* * * * *

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.

* * * * *

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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Beyond Trust

trust

(Image from http://millionaireweb.it/blog/innovazione-programmala-in-5-passi/.)

In the fall of 2011, I lost my job as a social worker in a psychiatric hospital. The day before I found out I was to be fired, I’d made a list of “What I Want from the Airstream Life,” as I felt restless on the job and wanted to contemplate and nurture the qualities of life that resonated with me more than being inside for 9 hours a day in front of a computer, on the phone, counting numbers and debating with insurance company reps. One thing I wrote was that I wanted to be “free of my office at the hospital.” The final two items on the list were:

– complete leap of faith
– peace, peace, peace, peace, peace, peace, peace

I had been carrying this idea that, spiritually, I was not going all the way. That I was not fully giving over to something, and I wasn’t fully trusting. But I wanted that leap of faith, so I thought.

The next day in the HR director’s office, as I realized I had only four days left of my job, I felt stunned and amazed. I felt the free fall I’d asked for the night before. “Wow,” I said. “That was quick.” I felt scared and excited and dreamy.

Over the following months, I went through the extreme ups and downs of a major life shift. I got really sick and ended up in the hospital with appendicitis. Friends took me home with them for a week after that, and my world was rocked by being in need. I had $8.00 in the bank and none in my pocket. Lots of tears, fears and humiliation – along with lots of creative opportunities – came through. I was guided to ask for help. I was inspired to teach my first doodle classes, and The Therapy Booth itself was born the following spring.

Also during that time, a small group of us began training with Scott Kiloby to be his first team of Living Inquiries Facilitators. Had I still had my job at the hospital, I don’t imagine I would have had the energy or motivation to delve deeply into these projects.

Eventually I had to move out of my beloved apartment where I’d retreated for six years (the longest time I’d ever lived in one dwelling). That was a massive ego blow and was scary, but also in my heart, I had been feeling that it was time to leave that particular place. For one thing, I was having rat issues. The first day the guy who eventually took over my lease came round to see the place, a great big rat walked right across the room. Didn’t scare the renter, and now he lives there. I wouldn’t have believed it at the time, but, once I moved out, I didn’t look back.

I moved in with the two friends who’d taken care of me after my surgery and went through many months of adjustment, as I’m sure they did, too. They took really good care of me, and we shared food and laughs and tears and doodles and the intimacy of family. It was a great gift to have a landing place, regardless of my miniscule bank account. I had the time and space to go deeply into Living Inquiries, both in giving and receiving. Even though I was eager to get my own place again, I felt fear come up when the time came for me to move on from there. But it also seemed natural. As if I had the wherewithal or fortitude to meet whatever fear might come and to stay the course. Trust, or beyond trust?

Here I sit, four months after that departure. I feel as contented and peaceful as ever. I have work that I love and feel passionate about — facilitating inquiry, encouraging doodling, relaxing in The Therapy Booth — which leaves me inspired every time I do any of it. I have enough money that I’ve been able to pay forward the amazing financial support I received during the year + after the job loss. I feel such gratitude to everyone who helped me out during that phase, and I’m so happy to share from my heart today.

I don’t have any illusions that anything will stay as it is. And I don’t worry about it. Not too much, anyway. You see, in my estimation, worry and trust go hand in hand.

Friends look at my life and say, “You must really trust,” or “I know I just have to trust that everything will be okay. Things always work out.”

Recently, I used the Unfindable Inquiry (from Kiloby’s Living Inquiries) to look into this thing called “working out.” Along with innocuous images of hula hooping and memories of my former gym, I could sense a bit of stress or tension around this idea that “things always work out.”

Check it out for yourself and see. If you are hanging onto trust, or if you’re holding tightly to the thought “things always work out,” do you notice any tension or perhaps background worry that this might not be true, or that you are responsible either for assuring that “things work out,” or for generating and holding onto this thing called “trust”? That’s how it was for me.

Using the Unfindable Inquiry, I was able to feel into those concerns and meet the energies behind them directly. In doing so, the concept “working out” relaxed for me. I didn’t feel as responsible or attached to it. I see the same with the concept “trust.”

Taking this into inquiry, we can look right now to see if trust is something that exists on its own, that we’re responsible for doing, and that, if we don’t, things . . . well . . . won’t work out.

Look at these letters, on their own: T-R-U-S-T.

Are those letters themselves this thing called trust? Does that T actually trust something?

Do you feel a feeling in your body when you look at those words? Go there. Feel it. Stay with it. Quietly feel around and see, is that trust? Is that sensation, on its own, identifying itself as trust? Rest here a moment and have a look.

 

What about an image of someone or something you trust? Is that image, appearing like a memory, trust? Can that image itself trust something?

How about this thought, “But if I don’t trust, I’ll just be scared”? Are those words, on their own, trust?

And what about the feeling that comes with that thought? What about the scared feeling? Let it rip. Feel scared. Like fully. Meet it right here and rest with it.

Now look into that feeling. Where is trust? Note any thoughts that come with the feeling. Are those sets of words or images, on their own, trust?

Also, look and see if that feeling of “scared”, on its own — just the sensation itself — is a threat. Can that sensation hurt you? Let your mind go quiet and have a look.

 

This is what I do almost every day both with client friends and also either on my own or with other facilitators. Delving deeply into these concepts helps me meet the areas where I’m holding on with fear.

What if both trust and not-trust are equally irrelevant? What if even trust can drop away? Then what?

 

I’ve been experiencing a fluidity that doesn’t need my worried mind to try to soothe it. Trying to feel comfort by worrying is like trying to dry off with a soaking wet towel. Get this, though: I’m not saying to squelch any thoughts or any feelings that come through. In fact, I’m recommending the opposite. Express it all. Whether it be in writing, a doodle, or with a friend or in an inquiry session, give it all room to come through. Notice that nothing sticks. Not the letters T-R-U-S-T. Not the sound “truh-sst”. Not even the feelings that come through the body that I associate with worry or even relaxation. It’s all free to come and go, but I don’t have to bank on any of it.

Speaking of banking, it seems ironic in a way, that not long after the years of humbling that I described above, I’m leading a course about money. I’m thrilled about it and am delighted to share this type of looking with friends. We look deeply into “money” as an object. We look directly at our worries about money. We look for the solid substance in all of it. Where is the actual threat that we need to worry about? Where is the self who needs to manage all of this or has to hold onto the concept of trusting that it will all work out?

Going beyond trust leaves a resting in the natural fluidity of life. I don’t know what will be given. I don’t know what inspiration will come. Or not come. All I aim to do, if anything, is to feel, express and relax. Does this leave me unmotivated? Perhaps in some ways, but certainly not in others. As you see, I’m writing this blog post. Tonight I’m bringing The Therapy Booth to a party and will join with friends there. I have plans for travel to see my family this fall. But, even now, I can’t say for sure that anything will come to pass other than just the clicking of these fingers on this keyboard and the hearing of the plane flying overhead. It’s like the same free fall that I felt when sitting in the HR director’s office. Only there’s no falling, no landing. To me, if trust lies anywhere anymore, that’s it. More accurately but never perfectly described, it’s beyond trust.

With much love,

Carina

P.S. If you are interested in knowing more about the Living Inquiries or would like assistance in looking in this way, email me at thetherapybooth@gmail.com. Also join us on Facebook for a community of folks who are looking together. Trust me when I say, there’s nothing at all that compares with actually joining with a facilitator to look. Intellectual understanding won’t cut it. And yeah, I see that I just typed the words “trust me.” Weee! There’s the delight in this! The word can still appear! Empty and perhaps pointing at the same time . . .

P.P.S. Here is the complete list that I made of What I Want from the Airstream Life. I love that this describes my world right now:

freedom
spontaneity
natural sleep cycle
beautiful places
beautiful new friends
new places & locations
creativity
creative inspiration
rest
physical health & wellness
freedom from an office (ALH) [those are the initials of the hospital where I’d been working]
pay, for what I do naturally
complete leap of faith
peace, peace, peace, peace, peace, peace, peace

Funny, I thought “no bra” was on there, too. Happily that, too, has come true.

4 Comments »

The Money Course – Living Inquiries

* This course is SOLD OUT. If you would like to be on a waiting list
for the next MONEY COURSE, write to thetherapybooth@gmail.com. *

puzzled dollar

Have you ever noticed that we tend to have thoughts that fall into two categories:
I’m okay, and here’s why; and I’m not okay, and here’s why.

Take a look at some of these phrases that friends shared when asked to talk about money, and notice how they fall into one of those two categories:

I can’t earn enough.
I don’t deserve the money I have.
I’m going to be old and broke.
I must not look greedy.
My income determines my value as a man.
Money scares me.
Money is the destructive force at the center of our social/economic order and until the advancement of the Human condition replaces it the planet and all it’s species are doomed.
I’ll be happy and can relax once I have enough to retire on.
It’s not noble to charge.
It’s wrong to take charity.
I feel rich.
I am capable and worthwhile!
I focus on receiving not needing.
God’s bounty is mine, I am grateful!
I am open to receiving the abundance that is my right.
I’ll always be broke.

With the I’m not okay thoughts, we hope to high heaven they’re not true, but we’re pretty sure they are; and we can usually find a lot of agreement for them. (There is so much agreement that money is a problem. That’s why this class is such a good idea!) We try to stamp out those thoughts, shove them away and hope to replace them with something friendlier. Then, with the I’m okay thoughts, we hope to high heaven that they’re true, and we work to hold them into place whist trying to hold off the others.

money woes

What if we didn’t have to manipulate either kind of thought? What if there’s a whole new way to look at money that doesn’t have anything to do with creating a new belief, tracking every penny you spend, or scolding, shaming or limiting yourself?

What if your relationship with money could be so refreshing it cannot accurately be described but can only be experienced?

Those words might sound flashy, but they’re not meant to be. I am not trying to seduce you into yet another way-to-solve-your-money-problems-once-and-for-all deal. I’m not here to offer you riches or even the promise of financial stability.

I’m offering you a completely fresh experience.  And not only will this concentrated look at all aspects of your personal relationship with money affect your point of view in this area, this experience will surely influence other areas of your life. You will learn a tool that applies to absolutely everything that you would like to see in a fresh way.

What’s possible with this course:

* A refreshing relationship with money.

* Relaxation from the fear and anxiety around money.

* Experiencing peace around money, directly — not by logic or talking yourself into it.

* Gently uncovering deep rooted beliefs and meeting them with full compassion and generosity.

* Creativity, playfulness and full self-expression as we shift from survival/problem-solving mode and open to other channels.

* The end of your typical money conversation. Yes, this really is possible. Would you like to look with me?

me on money

Course Details:

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 money including: money as a concept; deficiency stories about the self as relates to money; fear around having, getting, losing or keeping money; money and spirituality; and compulsions to make or worry about money.

Three Group Calls (on-line, video chat)
– these calls will introduce you to the basics of Living Inquires. They will also be rich opportunities to experience others going through the inquiry process, often deepening your own insights.

Four Individual Sessions (on-line or by phone) with me 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 money. This is a tremendous opportunity to delve deeply 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.

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

Dates and Times of Group Sessions:

Wednesday, July 31, 6 – 8 pm CST
Wednesday, August 14, 6 – 8 pm CST
Wednesday, August 28, 6 – 8 pm CST

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

* Class size is limited to 5 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.

Other questions? Write to me at thetherapybooth@gmail.com.

Ready to register?

THIS COURSE IS SOLD OUT.

If you would like to be on an alternates list or a list for future courses, email me at carin_channing@yahoo.com. Thanks!


Welcome to The Living Inquiries Money Course



Freedom with money is very Therapy Booth!

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

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What if I don’t offer you anything?

water hands

What if I don’t offer you anything? Really. What if, when you come to me with a problem, I offer no solutions? What if I meet with you for an hour or so and you pour your heart out to me and tell me every thought, every feeling, every fear, and I give you nothing? Will you still make another appointment? Will you have gained something?

In Living Inquiries, I really have nothing to give you. If anything, I might take away from you, but not really. Whatever I take from you, I don’t keep, though sometimes I might ask you to let me have it so that I may set it down. Let all of those words come through, and let’s just set them down to the side for a moment and stay with the sensation. I might say something like that. But do you even get to keep that sensation? Can you make anything stay?

If I’ve done my job right, we both leave empty handed.

A friend asked me tonight what kind of concrete actions come from inquiring like this, and I replied that I don’t know. It’s different for everyone, just depending on how life unfolds. In inquiry, we sort of get out of our own way. The actions happen — or don’t — but we’re not scrambling and stumbling over thoughts and feelings and memories and anticipations in order to scrape our way there. The actions either happen, or they don’t.

Do I give you power? Do I give you charm? Do I give you a better way of looking at yourself? Do you walk away from inquiry sessions with more insights and explanations?

I hope not.

I really want to leave you empty-handed. Where no way of labeling or categorizing will stick. Where no self, nor compulsive command nor threat can be found. Where all that remains is all that remains. Where even these words don’t make any sense, and they don’t need to.

Looking in this way is not what you think. It’s not even what I think.

I can throw out lots of words to try to explain it, but the fact is, I can’t. Each moment, each experience is unique to the one looking. What’s happened before is irrelevant. What will happen after is too. And, we’ll come to find, even the bits that are coming through right now are not who you are. There’s no one here to hold it together. (On the bright side, there’s no one here to come apart, either.)

Words like gentle, compassionate and safe come up for me when describing these inquiries. But in the end, even those words can only point. Come stand over here beside me, and let’s look, together.

Is there anything there?

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Learn more about the Living Inquiries as developed by Scott Kiloby by visiting http://www.thetherapybooth.com/living-inquiries/ . Write to thetherapybooth@gmail.com to schedule a session.

For an upcoming group course, visit http://www.thetherapybooth.com/deepening-courses/.

Visit the Living Inquiries Facebook page for a community of folks looking in this way. Ask questions, hang out and watch for a while, or dive right in. The water’s fine.

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Looking in a Fresh Way: Individualized Deepening Courses

deer

Deer in a Clearing by Albert Bierstadt

We call these courses Deepening, but we could also call them Clearing. Either way you name it, the Living Inquiries are a fresh way of exploring. For now, let’s drop the words inquiry, deepening and clearing, and let’s talk about the freshness.

Most of the time, when we come to address a problem, we’re thinking of solutions. Or we’ve been trying to think of solutions, but none of the thoughts we’re coming up with are working. I like to imagine that thoughts fall into two categories:

1. I’m okay, and here’s why.

2. I’m not okay, and here’s why.

The former often come with a sense of holding on, a movement of I hope this is right and I’m going to hold it in my mind til it proves out. The latter accompany strong sensations and images (and more thoughts) that seem to give irrefutable proof of their validity. Yes, he does hate me. I’m sure of it. And it’s because I’m disgusting.  

Wow, so much to sort out, so much to believe in, manage and hold onto (or shut off and push away). So much to be done.

Enter the freshness of the Living Inquiries: here, you get to rest. With the assistance of a facilitator, you are liberated of the responsibility of managing all of these thoughts and feelings. You’re given the space to feel and experience them all (nothing at all is negated) without having the added responsibility of making sense, explaining, changing or controlling any of it. You’re given the opportunity to rest and see it all coming and going and find out if there’s something there, in fact, that needs to be managed.

You may be thinking right now, “But if I don’t manage this, something awful will happen.” In a session, that thought is both welcomed and given its space, while also being seen directly as a coming and going of words, sounds, images and feelings. Do those words, inherently, carry truth? Let’s find out.

Even having written lots about the inquires and experiencing hundreds of hours of both facilitating and being facilitated, I find them hard to explain in brief. Letting explanations drop, I’m here to invite you to experience them directly, and, thereby, see more directly into your own experience. I’m offering a fresh approach to whatever you’ve been grappling with. Come meet with me and give yourself over to a new way of seeing (and drop any thought that you have about it now, as that, too, will be seen NOT to be it . . .).

I am now offering individualized deepening courses tailored to whatever’s on your mind. We can look from multiple angles, and, if this is something you’ve been stuck with for a while, I promise we can find something fresh here. A relief, perhaps, that hasn’t been experienced before.

Here are some possible topics for these four-session courses:

– a particular relationship
– work/career
– money
– decision making
– creativity
– your life’s purpose or passion
– physical health
– questions around awakening/enlightenment
– a specific compulsion (anything from substances to people to Facebook)
– fears and anxieties
– “negative” emotions
– women’s health (PMS, menopause, etc.)
– family/parents/children
– procrastination

The topics are endless, as there’s nothing that can’t be brought to inquiry, as you’ll see. If something on this list resonates for you, or if there’s something else that’s been on your mind that you just haven’t been able to sort out with other approaches, consider meeting with me and looking afresh.

Details of the Individual Deepening Courses:

If you’re new to the inquiries, you will receive a thorough introduction and get all of your questions answered. Each participant gets four individual inquiry sessions (held by Skype, phone or in person). I am in Central time zone (CST). Sessions last about an hour (sometimes a little less, sometimes a little more). They can be spread out over a few weeks or a few months, as scheduling and desire permits.

You will receive a copy of Scott Kiloby’s ebook, Living Relationship, that outlines and gives many examples of the inquiries and how they work.

Between sessions, we will stay in touch through email.

Course cost is $445.

Please note that either an individual or group Deepening Course is a required prerequisite to any future facilitator training.

Read up on these inquiries, developed by Scott Kiloby, at http://www.thetherapybooth.com/living-inquiries/.

Contact me at thetherapybooth@gmail.com with questions or to set up a course. Payments can be made through the PayPal button on this site or by check.

For more on Scott Kiloby and Living Inquiries, also see:

www.kiloby.com
www.livingrelationship.org
www.livingrealization.org

I very much look forward to meeting with you and to looking, inquiring, deepening and clearing together.

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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.

 

* * * * * *

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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