I was very touched recently. Several people in Year of Inquiry approached me with an offer that they’d like to start a scholarship fund for people who need financial help attending Year of Inquiry, especially the live retreats in Seattle.
The year long program has two options; telesessions only (which include all the webinar presentations I offer every month) or the full, live program for those who come to fall and spring retreats.
Sometimes people sign up for telesessions only and hope they can come up with the funds for the in-person retreats. This scholarship help may be one way they can do it.
Even though YOI (Year of Inquiry) doesn’t start until September, I felt such a deep sense of gratitude and acknowledgement that people collectively think doing this work together as a practice is so powerful, they want to help others do it too.
Almost at the very same time of hearing of these generous participants’ desire to contribute to others, I also learned Year of Inquiry will offer credits to people interested in becoming a part of the Institute for The Work (ITW).
The Institute trains people in facilitating and doing The Work and those meeting all the extensive credits required inside ITW become Certified Facilitators.
Anyone enrolling and completing Year of Inquiry would receive the equivalent credits of a whole School for The Work plus 80 hours of partnering in The Work.
It may seem like a foreign language to you, if you’re not aware of Institute for The Work or you aren’t interested in certification….
….but I felt very moved by the endorsement.
It means people can begin to taste the practice of The Work by joining in with our little group, and if they’re really into it, can use Year of Inquiry as a diving board for further training.
But the most important thing about doing The Work and questioning thoughts, in the end?
It’s not the credit earned.
The thing I love most about gathering with others to wonder about concepts we hold, the beliefs we find troubling and stressful: I don’t have to do this work alone and rely on my own thinking to bring me clarity.
When alone, I’m not always aware of my biggest blind spots. I get tired, or bored, or the inner voice in my head gets to loud to hear myself think clearly.
Getting together with other people to do the four questions and find turnarounds is ingenious. It keeps the connection to inquiry alive. We’re in it together. Other people can do The Work when I’m too hopeless, or fatigued, to do it myself. I’m listening, and I still learn.
And we’re practicing together, over and over again.
You just do it. Like learning to ride a bike. You try, you fall, you swerve, you fall, you try again, you fall, you get on again, you start to pedal, glide, and relax.
And you keep going.
Maybe it’s like joining a gym. You’re not done, even if you’ve been a gym member at the same place for 15 years (like me). You just keep going, on rainy days especially. It becomes a way of life, a way of continuously practicing the movement you need to feel healthy.
I’m not sure where I’d be without having created Year of Inquiry, or the other shorter classes, programs, solo sessions and retreats I keep offering.
Everyone showing up is here to help me stay true to my favorite experiences in human life: awareness, transformation, contribution, service.
Now, if an entire Year of Inquiry is hard to imagine, there are shorter experiences you can join to hit the reset button or sink into a deep mental tune-up in your thinking.
One of the most beautiful ways, is to come to Breitenbush Hotsprings Conference Center in Oregon on June 21-25. Deep in a pristine old-growth forest, this is one of the most magnificent settings for investigating where you feel stuck.
Everyone stays in a beautiful warm cabin, or you can camp, stay in a tent platform, or reserve a dorm room in the lodge. Three meals a day are home-cooked, all vegetarian and exquisite. Get massage or body work, hike in the woods, visit the hot pools for a soak in the mineral waters. The air is fresh, the atmosphere quiet and profoundly peaceful, and the relaxation beyond measure.
Breitenbush has become a regular highlight of some peoples’ summers who return year after year to sit in their life-changing inquiry. We always have a whole handful of people who have been once or more to the School for The Work with Byron Katie in the past year.
But no matter where you live, what you’re able to do or join, how you’re able to travel or not travel….
….it appears my job is to continuously put Inquiry Practice on the calendar.
In just about every which way possible. Phone, computer link, donation-based monthly call, free meetups, in-person immersions, mini retreats, groups, videos, podcast, Grace Notes, recovery and eating peace process work, writing.
What I notice is, it’s not a requirement to question your thoughts in order to live.
But is it a requirement to question your thoughts in order to be peaceful, or joyful?
I don’t even know the answer to that question, at least not for anyone else.
For me, however, it appears that without investigating what’s running through my mind, if I’m just swallowing everything I’ve learned or been exposed to without curiosity….I’m living a very stressful life, full of suffering.
I’m almost putting salt in the wound, as they say. I’m practically giving fuel to my own suffering….repeating a conversation over in my head, assuming what someone else is thinking, imagining my demise whether sickness or death, feeling sharp, or bitter, or angry, or very sad.
What a nutty mind–so funny the way it keeps worrying about my survival, and getting anxious, or delivering “warning” messages.
But with The Work also running through my mind, heart and soul….
…I’ve got the best set of questions ever if my head replays that horror film from 1990.
Is it true? Can you absolutely KNOW it’s true? How do you react, what happens, when you believe what you think? Who would you be without this thought? What if you turned your belief around to the opposite?
Why am I experiencing so much pain? Because I’m believing a lie. If you’re lying in bed in the morning and you think ‘I want to get up, I should get up!’ and you then begin to experience fear and guilt…I invite you to just be there and try to make yourself NOT get up. It’s not possible. When it is time to get up, you get up. Not one second too early or too late. There are two ways to lie there, or get up, and one is in peace and the other is in stress.” ~ Byron Katie
If you want to move into this way of inquiry, without anyone telling you what to think whatsoever, and without any rules or regulations, or how you “should” be thinking or not thinking….
….step into this process called The Work. Your way. Your answers.
It couldn’t be anything but your own answers, if you want true peace.
Join me in this fascinating unknown mysterious adventure where we’re wondering what’s true and contemplating life and all it’s hardship and pain, and beauty.
Where we can question our stressful stories, and find, we just might be able to love what is, now.