Introduction to Inquiry as a Practice
What is this "inquiry" I speak of?
To my, it's the missing link between meditation and psychotherapeutic technique.
It can be viewed as the way to bring out the farther reaches of psychological work.
This is method and the ideas on this blog are what I have personally gathered and are nothing ultimate.
I have a knack for gathering and synthesizing many ideas and techniques and forming my own endless N=1 experiments with my experience. So I am no authority or scholar on the subject. I am a simply an interested person who is interested in sharing this practice with other interested people to stimulate their own N=1 experiments and help bring forth a more widespread practice of inquiry in some form.
So, what is inquiry?
It is a way of allowing present experience to both deepen and unfold from an objective/mindful place of presence.
Freud made a huge discovery when he invented free association. While possibly influenced by the idea of the stream of consciousness, he took it further by teaching the art of allowing the mind to freely associate, and thus bring forth unconscious knowledge. In this way a person learns to allow their experience to occur without censorship and to allow it to flow into greater coherence in general.
This is no easy task. Like traditional meditation, it is extremely difficult, despite how simple it sounds to the uninitiated.
I must say that as a therapist, I'm no Freudian but I appreciate his initial contribution to a new way of self-knowledge that was foreshadowed by Socratic Inquiry and unknown to any ancient meditative technique.
Although there are secondary sources, I have to credit three people as the sources of my ability to discover inquiry within myself:
1. A.H. Almaas
-The author an founder of what is called: The Diamond Approach. Which is a modern spiritual school that integrates significant psychodynamic understanding in a non-traditional contemplative path. This was the first source to plant the seed of the idea of inquiry as a new and innovative practice.
2. Eugene Gendlin and Focusing:
-Contemporary of the great humanist Carl Rogers and phenomenologist. Dr. Gendlin created a method of inner inquiry first used in psychotherapy but expanded as a self-help and peer method as well called: "Focusing." He coined the term: "felt-sense" as in that dimension of experience that is not directly apparent but can be focused on and has a felt-quality and enfolded meaning that changes and shifts with attention and objective description.
See my links on Focusing for more on how to learn this beautiful method.
3. Dr. Claudio Naranjo:
-Direct student of Fritz Perls and known more for his teaching on the modern enneagram system over anything else. He was one of the main influences on A.H. Almaas and his colleagues in their developments on inquiry. Naranjo created a peer inquiry practice from his experiments in the 60's and 70's in doing meditation and psychological techniques in a peer context. In Almaas's approach, this practice is called dyad/triad work. Naranjo has several transcripts of these peer experiments which are posted on his web page:
For the second link, see the section on the "Continuum of Awareness."
I plan on writing step by step instructions or experiments to learn how to use these methods to both discover inquiry in yourself and develop a practice.
Some techniques I have integrated into my practice (subpersonality work, Jungian, bodywork) but will not be expounded upon in great detail because they are so well described elsewhere. Thus, I will focus on the basics of how to inquire into experience.
I hope you will find value in this practice in some form. If one method works for you over others, go for it. My deeper intention here is to demonstrate that there are many psychologically revealing methods out there that can be used for greater self-knowledge. Traditional meditation and spirituality is NOT the only way.
Some examples of other methods:
Dreamwork or lucid dreaming, journaling, shamanistic approaches, western bodywork or expressive work, Gestaltean approaches, art therapy and other experiential creative approaches...
Of course, this is not a replacement for psychotherapy, but takes up where successful psychotherapy leaves off.