Ego’s Trap

Attachment to the ego is the primary obstacle to our ability to lead effectively. When we assert our truth, opinions and assumptions – we are directive in a way that limits growth. Inquiry Method™ is a philosophy and a practice that cultivates the ability to set ego aside and to inquire into, ask questions, and employ natural curiosity in order to connect with deeper truths and insight. Using and growing natural curiosity about life and people will enable you to become an inspirational leader and will elevate how you live your life, how you do business, how you relate to others, and how you perceive yourself.

Great leaders are not so much attached to themselves and their success as to great ideas and inspiration. Great leaders inspire others toward a cause, not through devotion to the individual.

It is my intention that Inquiry Method revolutionize how we live our lives, how we do business, how we relate to each other, and how we see ourselves. In fact it has already begun.

Our Inquiry Management eCourse will lead you through the levels of participation, these levels parallel levels of personal development that are available to you and will be necessary for you to be able to fulfill the promise of this course. Traditionally we think of growing as accumulating things, in fact these levels actually become more available to you as you let go of things. The capacity to let go is fundamental to progression in Inquiry Method, each time we let go of something we open to new capacity and depth, we let more in.

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Identity Traps

Hey everyone! Olivia here. This is a clip from our weekly Online Coaching and Teaching Circle. Once a week we get together in sanctuary, bring current issues and questions to the group, and have the opportunity to learn from and get coached by Kyle. Kyle takes questions from the group. Colleen was generous enough to let us use the following video so that we can all learn from her questions on one of these calls. In this clip Kyle explains what he calls “identity traps” and how to move away from labeling ourselves.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPTION:

Kyle: What’s the thought or the judgment that you have on yourself from up here (points to head).

Colleen: It’s that I’m not smart.

Kyle: I just came up with a new term for this. I’m going to call it an “identity trap”.

Colleen: It’s an “I am” statement, “I am not smart” so therefore I want to feel smart. How do I get it into the belly and into the Source and out of the head?

Kyle: In Source it’s irrelevant. “Smart” and “not smart” is irrelevant. “Not smart” is perfect for inquiry, a sense of wonder. “Smart” is perfect for figuring things out. When the judgment is gone there is no conversation about “smart” and “not smart”. When you really take “smart” and “not smart” and disappear it there is no contemplation of that… A child doesn’t go “smart”/”not smart”.

“Hey, do you want to play in the sandbox?”

“Well, “I’m not smart”.

It’s not like that. In the pure form “smart” or “not smart” is a useless consideration.

Colleen: With continually working on myself it gets there?

Kyle: The thought “I’m not smart” is laughable. That idea you go, “That’s laughable.” Sometimes I’m smart in this moment and sometimes I’m not. What is it that I want to do? Give me a situation where you would come up with, “I’m not smart”.

Colleen: At work, if there’s somebody and we’re doing something and I don’t feel equal with them I feel “I’m not smart” and they are.

Kyle: Again, it’s irrelevant. So, you and I are working together. Who’s the leader? You or me?

Colleen: We’re equal. Neither of us are in charge. We’re equal.

Kyle: So, we are in a partnership and we are trying to come up with an idea for something and you have a great idea. And I think, “I’m not smart because you had a great idea”. No, I say, “You’re really on this, this sounds AMAZING!” I would be happy, I would say, “Run with it!”… It makes no difference who’s smart…The more you do that the more inspiration comes. We always think we are supposed to be the leader.

There is a great video of a guy at a festival and he’s kind of a kooky dancer…and somebody jumps up and starts dancing just like this guy. Then all of a sudden there is a mass movement and all these people start flocking to dance like this guy and it turns into a mob. The whole premise is the powerful person isn’t the first kooky guy that’s dancing.The powerful person is the first follower. The first follower is the one that recognized the genius in the goofy guy and started dancing like him. They were the one that catalyzed the whole thing… I could throw out ideas all day long and then all of a sudden you say, “That one is AMAZING!” And I think, “It is? Alright, I got a good one!” There is not a right or wrong position in that. Sometimes the first follower is the most important position.

Even in a business I don’t necessarily want to hire for leadership. I may want to hire for consistency… I might hire someone who you point them in a direction and they go after that thing blindly and relentlessly…When we are looking at the “we” space it’s not about who came up with the idea but about what’s needed and wanted next…If we want to do this thing at work what do we need next?…You’re looking for what’s needed in the moment…


Is there something that you want coaching on? Do you want community and connection with more people who are on this journey? Join us weekly for the Members Online Coaching & Teaching Circle. We offer two different times, so choose the time that works best for you. You can join us Thursdays at 8pm ET/5pm PT or, starting Sept 10th, you’ll be able to join us Tuesdays at 2pm ET/11am PT. Your first call is free, click here to learn more and join us this week.

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.