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The Practice of Inquiry

by | Oct 29, 2023 | CST Articles | 0 comments

An inquiry is the process of discovering something unknown to conscious awareness. The purpose of inquiry as a practice is to gain deeper insight and understanding into your own essential nature.

The inquiry process always begins with your present moment experience. It can begin with a question or simply be an open inquiry of your present experience. If the inquiry is prompted by a question, then hold the question in mind as you begin the process. Regardless of the question, always explore your present moment experience.

The purpose of inquiry is not to get an “answer” in the usual sense but to simply use the question (or your present experience) as a starting point for your exploration. Let the question be open-ended; don’t become focused on getting a specific answer. Let the question be lived in the present moment.

There are two forms of inquiry: horizontal and vertical; both of these are explorations into our present moment experience.

Horizontal inquiry is noticing all of the dimensions of your present experience: sensations in the body, emotions, thoughts, mental state, seeing and hearing.

Vertical inquiry is staying focused on a single experience and then observing how it changes over time.

Let awareness be an end in itself–do not get caught up in meaning, interpretation and analysis.

If you begin the inquiry with a question, then just hold the question in mind and notice the emotions and sensations that arise and engage these with the inquiry process.

Some examples of starting with a general question:

  • Who am I?
  • What do I want?
  • How do I experience my true nature right now?

 Questions may be more specific:

  • What if I accepted this job offer?
  • What if I moved to this city?
  • What if I engage with this program?

 Always let the response come from your present moment experience; do not become preoccupied with or attached to receiving a particular “answer” to the question. Stay open; allow the question to simply be the catalyst for a deeper awareness of the present moment.