As Year of Inquiry is winding down for the wonderful inquirers who connected since last September, I’m touched to find out how many are joining again for this upcoming year.
Alumni of YOI also get to come attend the September or May retreats, or both, for as long as I offer them (at a really reasonable–low–fee).
So these 3 day events are like reunions.
I’m getting the same “reunion” type of feeling with all the people who are showing up in Summer Camp For The Mind.
Even if they don’t attend every call, the power of inquiring with a group and getting to hear and know peoples’ important inner work this steadily and this often is simply…..
…..a joy (for me) of unconditional love, clarity, and awareness.
Yesterday a woman raised her hand to inquire into her worksheet, entirely written on the judgments she had about her long-term illness and what she called an eating disorder.
This kind of investigation…..wow.
So let’s say you have a condition you have labeled, and it’s one you don’t like.
Cancer. Poverty. No Living Family. Anxiety. No Home. Bad Thyroid. Overweight. Addicted. Alone.
This can be frightening to look at….
….but it’s the only way I ever have found freedom.
The way into freedom has been to go inside it and look around. To really sit with these “terrible” conditions and look at them more slowly, more deeply.
The woman who brought her illness up said that when she believed her condition was ruining her life, she felt so hopeless. She saw images of herself as a young girl when this condition started. She had images of her future life as a disaster and a mess.
She felt such grief.
Then we got to the fourth question: Who would you be without this thought that the condition is keep you from a better life, another life, another, different you?
She reported that it was difficult to find an answer.
She didn’t know.
Which is where the power of group inquiry comes in. And it’s magnificent.
Other people raised their hands to speak their own answers. They shared their own imagination and pictures, and what it might feel like to be without the belief that a condition is limiting you.
The original inquirer shared how other peoples’ answers expanded her own.
She got it.
She could feel what it could be like if she didn’t believe that her status, her health, her capacity to work (or not work) made her life awful.
I suddenly thought during the inquiry….
….this is how we humans feel, without even realizing it all that often, about the condition of being alive.
Even WITHOUT something called an “illness” or an “ailment”.
Help! I’m alive! Oh no! What do I do now?! I have to do something, right? I have to work, accomplish, achieve, make sense of All This!
It’s like a big scream or like the Tasmanian Devil spinning around saying “Don’t hurt me!” or “This is frightening!” or “I can’t do this!”
Who would you be without the belief you aren’t living a good life?
Who would you be without the thought that your physical conditions, or your mental or emotional conditions for that matter, are limiting you and making things TERRIBLE?
What if you were just OK, exactly as you are? Whether you have cancer, or chronic fatigue, or an addictive behavior, or a traumatic history, or negative self-criticism?
No more perfect or better version of me and my life? No “more enlightened” me?
Turning this belief around: This condition (you pick the one you’re looking at, whether an illness, or low-income, or personal trauma) is expanding my life.
Could that be just as true, or TRUER?
I know, for myself, I can find examples of this turnaround.
My cancer allowed me to see how much my family and former husband cared about me. My eating disorder drove me into questioning the meaning of life. My despair and fear invited me to consult those who had gone before me, like Byron Katie, or my first therapist, or Adyashanti, or Ross, and other incredible humans and teachers.
All the most terrible conditions of life that I’ve ever experienced, actually, all propelled me towards self-inquiry and self-realization and a returning home (underway every day).
All the conditions I disliked the most drew me into that one moment yesterday on the Summer Camp phone call….
….where I got to be with an amazing group of people from many parts of the world who were all being supported by the power of inquiry, together, through the miracle of voices on a thing called a “phone” at the same time.
Undoing stressful thinking. Adding understanding to our world.
Being part of the Peace Movement.
The power of group inquiry is immense, I continue to find, over and over.
When you can’t see it yourself, someone else might.
By listening to other people grapple with questioning their suffering, we all feel inspired.
And who knows what wonderful things can unfold from this new outlook, this new moment.
This is the period of time, right now, where many are deciding if they want to jump in to this next year’s Year of Inquiry program.
Deadline for the early-bird registration is August 15th. We begin on September 8th with our first telesession. Retreats are optional, but fabulous (come if you can, people fly from the east coast, California, midwest, and Canada).