Inquiry – The Path to Connection

Hi, Olivia here.
 
I had an interaction with an alternative healing practitioner the other day that I wanted to share with our readers. After my appointment it took me a little while to realize what had even transpired. The transformation of my experience of her and of the situation so beautifully illustrates how inquiry breaks down barriers between people and creates a path to connection.
 
When I walked into the room it was straight down to business. This was my first appointment trying a new healing modality and there was no introduction. No explanation of the process, of her background, or what I should expect. Nothing. She barely looked me in the eye before she started working. There was no attempt to welcome me or try to make me feel comfortable. No reassurance whatsoever. I found myself judging, “This person could use an upgrade in their bedside manner”.
 
At first, I was a little upset. I wondered if most people simply sit down and shut up and wait to be fixed, not caring about how or why this process worked. Not me. Being the type of person who loves learning and understanding how things worked I naturally started asking questions. I asked about the machine she was using, how it worked, the research and development behind it, where it originated, and where it was popular. I asked how she came to this line of work and what her motivations were for pursuing this career. I asked about her successes as a healer. I asked about the artwork on her wall. I asked about her property that she lived on. I asked about what mattress she slept on. I asked what religion she was. I just kept asking and asking. Purely out of curiosity and a desire to get the most out of my session and to connect with her.
 
We had gotten off to a rocky start but then something miraculous happened. Over the course of the two hours that we were together, in the midst of my incessant questioning, she softened. She began to smile more easily and even laugh. There was a moment where she looked at me, perhaps truly seeing me for the first time since I walked into her office, and took me in. She then began to ask me about my life and my background.
 
By the end of the session she was giving me tips on how to start my own business doing what she does. She even hinted that she had been looking for an apprentice. The amazing thing is that it was only upon reflection of the drastic change that I realized it was all thanks to inquiry. It’s become such a part of my life in such a short time that I don’t always attribute the miracles to it right away.
 
I cannot tell you how much inquiry has totally changed my closest relationships. My family and friends seem more relaxed around me. If I had to guess, I’d say they feel more safe. More loved, more heard, and less judged. However, this was the first time that I experienced how inquiry could change my interactions with strangers.
 
I used to play a game that Dr. Wayne Dyer said he played all the time. He would try to make everyone that he met smile and feel better than before they interacted. Honestly, it was a noble idea but I wasn’t always very successful. Something tells me that with inquiry as my new secret weapon this game of brightening the day of those I come into contact with will be MUCH easier.

Reflections from the Mountain Experience

Hi, Olivia here.

Inquiry Method hosted a Mountain Experience this past weekend in Rye, New York. This was not my first experience with Kyle as a teacher but it was my first Mountain.

I have been actively making personal development a part of my life for a long time. I’ve read books, listened to talks, watched movies and attended workshops and seminars on topics ranging from psychology to self-help, to spirituality. They all speak of the process of undoing – of cleaning up the filter through which we view the world by letting go of our emotional pain. The problem is that hardly anyone gives you a process by which to achieve this outcome.

What I witnessed at the Mountain Experience is that Kyle gives you a road map to cleaning and clearing emotional pain. I once heard Kyle describe his role as a teacher as being a guide. He said that he too has had to walk through his own pain, every single little piece of it, and it hasn’t been easy. He conjectured that this might have been his path so that he could map the way for others. Kyle said that he was a man with a torch leading people through the darkness and toward the light.

Attending the Mountain Experience this weekend it was clear to me that Kyle has an answer to the often unanswered question, “how do I get rid of my pain?” He showed me and all of the attendants that it is possible to release our sadness, anger, guilt, and shame. This is the first and perhaps most important step of living the life we want and I am profoundly grateful for how this process has begun to heal my self-image and my relationships. I am more confident, curious, and able to put beautiful attention on those I love.

Here are a few other reflections from participants in the weekend:


“Going to the Mountain Experience was an incredibly transformational experience. I arrived with confusion and mixed emotions and left with much more clarity and a better sense of how to make decisions and live life through love of myself and others. The great takeaway this weekend, for me, was realizing the power of self-forgiveness.

Kyle in conjunction with the great support of Peggy and Olivia, allowed me to really connect with myself all throughout this weekend. I’m very grateful for them and for sharing this time surrounded by such amazing people.”

                                                                                               -Mike


“The Mountain Experience has turned out to be the most precious gift I have ever given myself. My experience was deeply emotional and nothing like I have ever experienced. I was both moved and impacted powerfully and positively. I felt immensely safe, connected and loved all at one time. It was a journey of epic proportions in just four days and I left full of love.

At the end of the experience, I set meaningful intentions to make positive changes in my life. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all of the other participants this weekend and especially for Kyle. After this weekend I feel full of hope and see enormous potential for myself. My life is truly different since I have returned home.”

                                                                                               -Colleen


“Just returned from a truly transformative weekend at the Inquiry Method Mountain Experience! The change that Kyle Mercer and his team facilitated for each of the 15 participants in a span of just 3 days was astounding. I have been doing personal growth work for over 7 years with an array of mentors and organizations and the depth of connection, vulnerability, and transformation that I experienced and witnessed in this group is incomparable.

Personally, I had breakthroughs in areas I’ve been “working on” for years. Apparently, it needn’t be that hard. I feel lighter, more joyful, more present, and the mental chatter is significantly diminished — all without efforting.”

                                                                                               -Heather


“My first Mountain Experience was in 2001. This one was either my fifth or sixth Mountain Experience. I have found that every time I go I learn something about myself and I get cleaner. 

Up until now, I had been feeling a heaviness and burden as a result of my rules and ideas surrounding my role as a mother, grandmother, architect… and more. Kyle helped me release my labels and soften on my roles. As a result, I feel grounded and light and worthy of all the care and attention I want to place on me!”

                                                                                               -Kathleen


From all of us at the Inquiry Method team, we hope you join us at the next Mountain in Los Angeles, California, October 10-13. To read more about it or sign up click here.

A New Level of Altitude for Inquiry Method

The Inquiry Method Training represents a new level of altitude for Inquiry Method. We are now able to teach the process of Inquiry Method. As people are clearing up and letting go of the constrictions from levels 1-3 they become more available to connect with others through level 4. In other words, as we let go of the things that keep our attention on ourselves we gain more access to put our attention on others. Why would we want to do that? Because it is more fun and creates greater intimacy and connection, which are exactly the things we really want and that lead to greater happiness and fulfillment.

This is the bonus round of doing the work to heal and let go. In learning this practice we are getting into what I call “freedom to”, the ability to build the life and relationships we really desire rather than purely focusing on the “freedom from”  of our emotional pain, shame, judgments, voids and drive.  The more “freedom from” work we do opens up a lot of space to experience what it is like to live a Life at Altitude. Just being in the room with the people doing this work feels alive- we laugh and inquire, open up and be seen; the amount of play and happiness is infectious.  Feeling blessed.

Inquiry Method Training

Hi! This is Olivia and I just recently joined the Inquiry Method team. This week’s blog is my reflection on the amazing Inquiry Method Training that I participated in this past weekend.

The Inquiry Method Training is a four-month course that kicked off with an in-person retreat in Venice Beach, California. Twelve students have committed to diving deeply into Kyle Mercer’s philosophy. I’m new to these teachings, but not to personal development and because of my experience I can recognize Truth. Truth, with a capital T, is what I call the path to being in alignment with Source. As Kyle says, you can feel it when you read a book, listen to a teaching, or watch a video and you can feel there is Truth in it. This weekend was packed full of Truth.

In other programs that I’ve done and other experiences that I’ve had the instructor always spoke of a life of wonderful possibilities but didn’t create a map to the end result. These other teachers spoke of releasing pain in order the create the life you long for but never showed you how. Kyle filled in that gap in knowledge for me beautifully. What’s more, his process is simple, reproducible and has a deep sense of safety built into it.

Kyle starts each event talking about Sanctuary, a promise we make to each other to hold safety as our top priority. While I sometimes like being pushed by teachers or coaches I can’t describe the feeling that washed over me the first night. Kyle started by looking at each one of us in the eye and telling us that he was safe for us. The container that he held wrapped me up, holding me in tender loving care until the last moment of the retreat. I was able to relax in a way that I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced before. Kyle not only held that space for us but taught us how to bring this model of non-judgment, curiosity, and care back to our communities and lives.

This retreat represents a new phase of growth for the company, a movement forward into creating a Life at Altitude, a realization of one’s deepest desires. Although there was releasing of pain that happened during the course of the weekend that wasn’t the main focus. The real motivation for the retreat was the dissemination of the Inquiry Method to those who would make the greatest impact.

The training was mainly comprised of coaches or aspiring coaches who came to learn inquiry tools to take back to their clients. I am a doula or birth coach and although I will use it in my practice I’m even more excited to see how it impacts the relationships in every facet of my life.

This training helped me to be more selfless than ever before. Tony Robbins says that suffering only occurs when a person is focused on themselves. Turning my attention outward allowed me to get out of my own head and hold space for another’s healing. It was a win-win.

Kyle helped instill in me a level of curiosity and openness that I didn’t know was possible. His method helped me get out of the trap of teaching and advocating and back into a childlike sense of wonder. I cannot wait to see how the process of Inquiry Method shifts my relationships and enhances my life. This is only the third day after the training and I already feel like I’m experiencing more flow than ever before. I’ve had the pleasure of allowing the river of life to have its way with me. I’ve stopped resisting the current, started to open, and I can’t wait to see what is waiting around the bend.

Freedom From The Future

In Inquiry Method work we have often talked about and worked with letting go of the past and the liberation we experience when we learn how to do that.

We have also talked about and practiced freeing up our ego and how to lighten up on projecting and defending self-image.

We have also explored how to lose our drive and rediscover our flexibility and creativity.

I’ve been exploring a new frontier, letting go of the future.  Once I discovered it in myself I was shocked because it now seems so obvious, none of my future attachments, fears, ambitions were here now and none of the ones I have had in the past ever materialized the way I anticipated them good or bad.

Your future can be as much a trap as the past; in fact many people are more future oriented than past oriented.

For example, lets say you were interested in starting a business or growing your business; you might get attached to the future success of that business or project the future failure of that business, or both at the same time.  What does that do to your present expression and engagement, what does that do to your creativity and your objectivity…etc?

Try the same thing with meeting a new person and projecting the future of the relationship.

Take a look; what are your future attachments and how much do they take you out of the present?  See if you can discover in yourself the capacity to let go of the future.

You might say that I need the attachment to the future to be able to operate, but think about how you may have thought that same way about holding onto the past until you learned the skill of letting go. Remember how dramatically that affected your life?

 

 

Skillful Collaboration

I have a new dentist.  About halfway through the cleaning, I asked her “how am I doing?”, she looked a little confused and said “you are doing fine” and then after a pause, she asked what I meant.  I asked if I was being a skillful patient. At first surprised, she then became engaged; she said that she had never thought of it that way.  I said that we were on the same team and working toward the same objective, clean teeth, speed, ease, accuracy, and connection.  She said she wished all her patients saw it that way and suggested maybe I could train them.

This is a great example of a moment of level 4 altitude; we were working at a task where we were both focused on the task together and putting our attention on that rather than on ourselves.  I was ignoring any inherent personal discomfort or concerns and putting as much attention on the task and flow as she was.  In fact, my main job was to make her job easier and to be in flow together to get the best outcome.  It is a much more satisfying way of being in the chair.  Every collaborative task can have this feeling and engagement, this is how we behave when we are in a collaborative level of consciousness, it is such a satisfying and productive way to be with others.

I love to coach people who are interested in this same level of collaboration.  In Inquiry Method, the skills of coaching and being coached can be equally skillful activities.  Some of my most satisfying moments in life come from the moments of deep collaboration in coaching, both being coached and coaching.  This is the essence of the upcoming Inquiry Method Training in July.

The other aspect of this insight is to look at the things you do with the perspective of doing them skillfully.  Doing things skillfully does two things:

  1. It is almost like meditation, all your thoughts can be focused on the task or activity. There is true joy in being that engaged in your activity. Instead of being subject to your thoughts you are actually using them for what they are meant for.
  2. Anything you focus on from the perspective of doing them skillfully you get better at, your body and mind learn to be more nimble and focused and you often have insights that develop your capacity.

The whole purpose of Life at Altitude is to experience a more fulfilling and joyful life.  Any place you can combine collaboration and skill: work, play, games, housework, dancing, cooking, sex, communication, growth…, creates more satisfaction, fulfillment, and joy.  Opportunities are all around us.

Inquiry Magic

Today I want to focus on an aspect of Inquiry Method and the distinction of Inquiry Method as a practice between two people.

You can use this practice in any situation, from informal to formal.

The formal form includes setting up sanctuary, having one person hold the space of inquiry, and having one person hold the space of self-reflection.

In both positions, we start from a position of not knowing. It is the same willingness to not know that occurs in both positions. The person in the inquiry position doesn’t know about the person who is being inquired upon. And the person in the self-reflection position starts from not knowing about themselves. Everyone is equally curious. The principle of inquiry method is to understand together, to co-learn, to co-reveal.

When I’m in the place of inquiry, I’m revealing my ignorance about what it is like to be the other person. When I’m in the position of self-reflection, I’m willing to reveal my ignorance about myself.

The better we can do this together with an open nonjudgmental sense of wonder and curiosity, the more will be revealed. The more we develop our capacity toward this practice, the more it starts to seem like magic.

As an added bonus, this practice will develop an intuitive, empathetic quality that will give you information about yourself and others, even outside the practice. It’s a powerful muscle that will develop as you exercise it.

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.

Why learn Inquiry Method™?

Most of you have never heard me define what Inquiry Method is, but you have seen me practice it. Inquiry Method is actually a partnered practice that can be done by anyone who understands and has learned the context. We’ll go more into that later – in upcoming posts, online courses, or in Inquiry Method Training.

The beauty and power of inquiry method, almost like and potentially even more powerfully than meditation, is that it teaches you to disidentify with your ego. Besides the direct benefit of what is discovered, there is a powerful and profound transformation in how you identify with who you really are.

One of the unique aspects of this practice, that at the beginning may not seem self-evident, is that the practice is the same whether you are the one asking the questions or you are the one responding to the questions.

The only difference in the positions is where we are putting our attention. In one position, I’m putting my attention on you. And in the other position, you are putting your attention on yourself, but we are both holding the same consciousness and a sense of curiosity and wonder. This is the true goal of the heart of the practice: to develop that view and be able to carry that view into our lives.


If you are interested in learning Inquiry Method and how to hold attention on yourself or others, you may want to check out our upcoming Inquiry Method Training

Getting Humble

When I first began to work with my teacher, Kendrick Mercer (my father), I was in awe. The way he worked with people was amazing. He had a tremendous effect on them and their lives. His approach made people feel safe while he challenged their most closely held beliefs. He was strong and soft, his ideas were powerful and spontaneous, and he had some connection to a deeper truth. He saw deeper than others. He still does.

I wanted to be able to do this too.

As his son, I had an advantage. I understood him in my bones. My mind is also deeply curious about things and how things work. As we began to work together, I had to figure out how to do what he does.

Over time, I developed my understanding of what he was doing and my skills. As I began to coach and mentor more, I had to refine the process so I could get the results I was seeing my father get. It was a lot of trial and error.

The most obvious lesson that kept getting driven into me was that I got positive results more consistently when I was asking questions and helping the other person go deeper into themselves. I ran into obstacles when I began to assert, tell, teach, or make the interaction about me or my beliefs. My ego kept getting in my way.

Over and over I would have to backtrack from these assertions or ego and get humble and curious again, start asking questions, and then all of a sudden people would have breakthroughs, insights, and greater awareness. I just kept asking questions and letting my natural curiosity have its way.

This is how Inquiry Method was born.

Once I began to have some level of mastery of Inquiry Method, I wanted to start teaching others how to do it. I started teaching Inquiry as a coaching methodology, but it soon became apparent that it was more than that; it is a life approach, a philosophy, a position on life that leads to inner happiness. The tool of Inquiry opened the door to a depth that I have still not fully plumbed.

Now, as a teacher, I do sometimes assert and share, but it is from a different place. I am connected with a deeper source that is not my ego and so I can teach. This source is accessible to all of us, but we have to go through a barrier that is not easily seen. For me, it all started with Inquiry, with getting humble. In this way, I began to melt my ego and found a deep richer world within.

The deeper I go, the more I realize that Inquiry Method, in itself, can take you as far as you want toward happiness, effectiveness in life and business and in relationships, love, leadership, and parenting. It is a true panacea.

My intentions for Inquiry Method are these:

  • That it be easily understood and accessible.
  • That anyone who is interested can master it.
  • That it not be based on dogma or control.
  • That it inspires freedom and individuality, not conformity.
  • That it require no belief.
  • That it gives direct and dramatic results for the people that use it.
  • That it not be about fashion or trends but that it has a quality of timelessness.
  • That when people hear about it, and begin to practice it, it will resonate as truth on all levels.
  • That it not be about me as a teacher but be a philosophy and an approach to living life fully.
  • That it brings us closer together and inspire our courage and contribution.

What I want for you is to fully wake up to your strengths and to remove obstacles so you can lead a life inspired by happiness from within. To become effective in bringing your gifts and talents to your work and families and to enjoy your life, deepening in your capacity to live fully and receive all that life has to offer you.

Inquiry has the power to bring you all these things and more.


Come experience the power of Inquiry Method in person at our introductory course, The Mountain Experience. Read more here