It makes sense if you consider that applying frequent and focused interest on anything else, for a longer period of time, one would eventually gain an in-depth understanding of the object or subject of fascination. So it seems logical that the same would apply to ones inner world. I had just never thought of it that way. It kind of crept up on me.
Since I can remember I had a sense of looking for something, without being aware of what it was I was looking for. When I look at childhood pictures of mine, many show me with an expression on my face that reflects seriousness, intensity, presence and inquisitiveness. I still, often, catch myself with the feeling of that expression on my face.
I recall that, like many, most of the energy that went into the pursuit of that which obviously eluded me, was going to the outside. Or else into myself in relation to the outside.
Most of the time I thought it was a place that I was looking for. Especially as a kid. A place that made sense, in which I felt safe and home, in which I could simply be. Me.
There were a few moments in my early childhood that evoked a sense of having arrived. The inquiry we did on the second day of the Working with People training (or was it the first day) about pivotal life events reminded me of these.
The first one that I can consciously recall, with five years of age, was the first time I sat in Satsang with Osho. Something I was not looking forward to much. In fact, I was rather anxious as it was made very clear to me that I had to sit still for an exceptionally long period of time without coughing or making any other kind of sounds. There were a whole bunch of people present and I was unsure I would manage. The next thing I remember was a sense of peace and I can’t explain it as anything other then recognition, which might sound a bit abstract, especially as I couldn’t exactly say what was recognized, but that´s the only word that works. The recollection is more of a sensation then a memory.
One of the other moments/ places that came closest to it were the Himalayas. I was 9 years old when I spent 3 weeks tracking through the mountain range with my dad, on foot and horseback, and I distinctly felt that what ever I was experiencing was a taste of what I was seeking. I remember it like it was yesterday. At the time I thought it was the mystic beauty of the landscapes which reminded me of fairy tales and old times. Today I know that it was the presence that extraordinary nature instilled in me. It felt silent and vast and free. As if nothing was missing.
I think ever since, or perhaps way before, possibly for many lives, I was and am looking for THAT. The only difference is that today I have a knowing that it is not to be found on the outside, but within.
I guess instinctively I have always known this, intellectually I have understood it from sometime around my teenage years, but consciously verifying it through experience only started happening in the past decade.
The technique of inquiry played a key role in this development.
There have been a number of practices that have slowly but surely turned the focus of my seeking inward with a more concentrated and discerning quality to it, but close to none of them have been as equally subtle and effective as the simple practice of sitting in front of someone and looking at each other as well as inside, with presence, intention and curiosity.
Around 6 years ago I participated in the essence training with Turiya and Vasumati. It was a 5-part process over a period of ca. one and a half years.
I had absolutely no knowledge of what this workshop was about, other then that it apparently was a good base for a longing inside of myself making itself noticed, for working with people.
At the time I had no idea that the repetitious manner of inquiring into specific questions was slowly unraveling the complex entanglements of my personality.
Somewhere during the course of the year all I could say with certainty was that it felt like I was planting seeds, that with time would come to blossom, without having a clue of what sort of flowers or fruits it would bear.
Today I know that this practice of probing and investigation changed the course of my life and gave it a depth and width that I did not expect.
Another beautiful retreat using the tool of inquiry is the Who is In, or the Satori, a longer version of the Who is In, also called Awareness Intensive.
The more I dive into this sort of inquiry, of trying to understand my inner workings, the more I have to let go of what I thought I know – the more I let go of what I thought I know, the more I find that I know nothing – the more I surrender to knowing nothing – the deeper I move into the unknown – the more I move into the unknown, the more the concept of knowing becomes irrelevant – the more the concept of knowing becomes irrelevant, the more the questions disappear – the more the questions disappear, the more the questioner disappears – the more the questioner disappears, the more presence is present.
That is the beauty of inquiry to me. Not an answer to my seeking, but the dissolving of the search. The process though is essential, in which one moves along like on a rope, hand over hand, by the feelings and sensations showing up on route.
Just this morning I sat opposite my beloved, starting our day-off in an inquiry about where we are right now, and both ending on a completely different note then we started, letting ourselves be guided by what shows up as we infiltrate the layers accumulated in daily life that obscure and distort the present moment as it is.
Like peeling an onion, as they say, layer by layer, revealing the core.
As I sat in Working with People – Modul 1, with the vague question of what brought me to this workshop, I suddenly had a clear image of a whole bunch of different shaped and colored gems gathered in the room.
All of us, some more, some less, with various crusts and dust covering our inherent shine and sparkle.
Everyone present having either an inkling or a knowing of the treasure disguised beneath.
The person sitting opposite, merely functioning as a mirror, to reflect and clarify to ourselves which nooks and crannies need cleaning and polishing yet.
Rafia and Turiya, gently laying down tools beside us, brushes, files and cloths, skillfully instructing and lovingly encouraging us to use them in the process of uncovering our innate essence.
Their intention not at all to start cracking and scraping off the coatings disguising our nature, but supporting us in the self-responsible procedure of unveiling with awareness and discernment.
A beautiful image and an immeasurably valuable operation.
“Self-inquiry is the process and the goal also.”