In the same way sexual consent is important, in Inquiry Method there is a range of intimacy and the depth of that intimacy should also be consensual.
If the intimacy reached through Inquiry Method is nonconsensual, it can sometimes feel like a violation. That is why we like to set up containers or an environment or sanctuary in which to practice Inquiry Method.
Obviously, inquiry on a casual basis does not necessarily need to be overtly consensual but you want to watch very carefully as you are practicing asking deeper and more intimate questions to notice if your inquiry partner is responding as if they are being violated. Some people are harder tells and it is better to practice caution.
Consent in Inquiry Method is very simple. It can be as simple as, with a casual acquaintance, asking if they mind if you ask them a question: “Would you mind if I asked you a question?” In more formal Inquiry Method, we want to set up safe containers. We may ask someone if they would like to practice Inquiry Method together. Within that container, there are different levels of formally declaring sanctuary- from simply saying it’s my intention to be safe for you, to even repeating the sanctuary context from the Mountain Experience overtly. Even within a formal Inquiry Method container that is fully consensual, we may still find ourselves asking questions like – “Do you mind if I ask about your childhood?” or “Would you like me to ask questions to go deeper?”
You may find consensual based Inquiry Method to be particularly useful and poignant with children and partners. Watch your children when you ask them penetrating questions, and notice when you have pushed into a non-consensual boundary. Try it out this week, watch for any violation, ask for permission and see if you don’t actually get deeper connection and deeper opening when you practice safety and permission in this way.