Inquiry as an Approach to Life

Inquiry Method™ is not just a technique for interacting with people or addressing deeper personal issues, but also an approach to life in general.

A while ago, I spoke with some teachers who had talked about our minds as ego and emotions. They referred to how our minds are constantly wanting to put things into the categories of good and bad, positive and negative. So, when we are in our minds, we are always interpreting everything around us from this quality of good and bad. When I heard that, I thought to myself that if I dropped the discernment between good and bad and stopped putting things into those categories, then my life would be neutral.

I thought I would test it, so I imagined that I would drop all good and bad and see if life would be neutral. I was very surprised to find that life was far from neutral. When I looked at it from that perspective of the elimination of good and bad, I was aware of just the miracle of life and even the miracle of existence.

The idea that, out of nothingness, all this appeared, that I even exist, the world exists, this planet exists, the universe exists is truly just an incredible miracle.

I began to understand the deeper, maybe religious or spiritual understanding, or even the practical understanding of the true appreciation, gratitude, and experience of life. This is what was so shocking from breaking the habit of putting things into categories of good and bad; I switched into having wonder, awe, and amazement for just being here.

Any time I remember and bring myself to that place again, I am stunned by the existence of my consciousness, the existence of life, the planet, plants and animals, things that happen, things that come into my life. Cars and cell phones, raindrops, everything starts to take on a quality of wonder.

Innocence and wonder are at the heart of the inquiry approach to life. We are so used to focusing on our wantiness and drives and feeling like there should be something more to life; Inquiry Method TM instead guides us to finding a quality of deep appreciation and acknowledgment in life. Because, when I am out of wantiness, neediness, and exchange, I can be present for my day without needing it to be different. And from that place, I can just be curious and engage in life with a sense of wonder.

Wonder is such a beautiful word that combines a sense of curiosity with a sense of awe; awe implying awareness of beauty, awareness of serendipity, awareness of magic, and even awareness of surprise about life.

Cleaning up your messes

I’m a bit of a clean freak. Not in the way we traditionally think about it, but in keeping my life sanitary, or you could even say sane-itary.

There is a quality of having backlogs and things undone that can take you out of the moment and burden your present. I notice the more sane-itarty I am, the more I’m able to appreciate and be in the present, and be present with whoever I’m with.

One example of being sane-itary is not having a pile of unread trade journals on your desk, another example is that I, for the most part, keep my email inbox hovering around zero. Sometimes there are 10 things that are kind of bookmarks or reminders, but I regularly process all my emails. Being up to date with things like wills, insurance, home repairs, appliance repairs, car care, bills paid, letters sent, communication made, plans updated. For some reason, these kinds of things hover around you all the time as long as they remain undone in your mind. They clutter your mind. They clutter your energy field. They clutter you emotionally and mentally. Even a disorganized closet, unwashed clothes, or unmade bed can trigger the feeling that there is always more to do. Sometimes it takes an effort to sanitize these things, but it is great to get on top of them or to have some maintenance program to stay sane-itary.

Suggested Self-Inquiry: Make a list of all the things that you would have to do to get sanitary and start cleaning them up. Even just making the list is a step in the right direction, it gets it out of your head and into a context where you can address them.


To go a little farther on this topic: read this blog about shifting your life from doing to being and read this blog about blocking time.

Liberation

First, you want to survive.

Second, you have needs.

Third, you want fairness.

Fourth, you have wants.

Fifth, you are ready to listen.

And at last, you are ready for truth.

~ Kyle Mercer

Kyle’s Process for Surrender to Life’s Challenges

Inquiry Method’s fundamental three step process for surrender to life’s challenges:

1. Change it. Go ahead. Change your circumstances.

… If you cannot change it or you decide not to:

2. Resist it & be unhappy.

Or,

3. Accept it & be at peace.

Stagnant Energy, Case Study

Last week I introduced the concept of stagnant energy and how Inquiry Method can identify and release these blockages and get the energy moving again.  

The same is true not only for individuals, but also when I work with a business.  When we recognize that there is a blockage based on the markers (stress, worry, frustration, etc.), we can work to remove the obstacle. 

Recently, Jim, CEO of a manufacturing firm, wanted to understand why projects were getting delayed. No one on his management team was able to pinpoint the exact reason why.  

Through Inquiry Method, Jim realized that he had an accountability problem, and we thus scheduled a two-day renewal to work with his leadership team. By applying Inquiry Method Management tools and processeswe discovered that no one on the team viewed accountability in a healthy light. We set about redefining the term so that everyone could be aligned in a new view that was free from past associations with blame. This new view of “accountability” involved ownership (noticing things that are and are not working), creativity (applying expertise to find solutions to problems), and transparency (creating bonds of trust). 

In just this small step at the beginning of our session,there was already a noticeable surge of productivity, energy, and engagement from the team. As Inquiry Management tools and processes become familiar and utilized in the DNA of your company, you will notice the upsurge of energy and productivity followed by a smooth, efficient, and new impassioned synergy within your teams.

As a leader or manager using Inquiry Management and Inquiry Leadership, your primary job is to identify the stagnant energy in your organization and through inquiry and mentorship help to get the energy moving again.  Once mastered, this skill will prove extremely powerful to your company.

When you recognize the markers in yourself (stress, anxiety, frustration, etc.), it is a clear signal that you have some work to do. The stagnant energy will inevitably take its toll on you… both on your physical and mental health. In your company, stagnant energy will negatively effect profitability, morale, employee retention, customer satisfaction, and your ability to thrive.  The longer stagnant energy stays in your system or your company, the more damage it does.  Don’t run away from the pain; face it. Do your work, get some help, use Inquiry Method, and get the energy moving again. The breakthrough is exciting and liberating.  Being in balance and flow is joyful and nurturing.

Peace, love, and kindness,

Kyle

Stagnant Energy, An Introduction

What creates life, vitality, and productivity in any system, individual or group is the movement of energy.  When energy is moving, things happen. Through leadership, we direct this energy toward objectives that we deem beneficial.  Thus, through leadership, as long as energy is moving, positive outcomes are taking place.

Whether I work with a person, a company, a family, or a couple, there are elements in each situation that are very similar.  In the same way a person has an identity, companies, families, and couples can have an identity that is more than the mere sum of the individuals.  This synergistic aspect of groups can work greatly in our favor but can also work against us.

The biggest problems occur when stagnant energy is present; think of a logjam in a river.  In systems, like a person (people are systems), companies, families, and couples, stagnant energy creates a backup of energy that can be identified in the forms of stress, anxiety, frustration, depression, suppressionand worry.  These are all markers for stagnant energy.

When I work with an individual that is experiencing one of these markers, we use the tool of Inquiry Method to identify and release these blockages and get the energy moving again.  The result is the feeling of excitement, flow, peace, and freedom.  Just like a logjam breaking up, there is a surge of energy, productivity, movement and then a return to balance and flow.

Next week I will share a case study of how stagnant energy can be identified to improve productivity in businesses.