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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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!”
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.
Much of the suffering I see in people is around the topic self worth. What is the value of a person? How do you compare the relative value of people? The way I see it is that the absolute value of a person = 1. It could be any number but I chose 1. In that case the value of every person = 1. So, the relative comparative value between people is always 1:1. I am having fun with my simple math skills but it came home to me so profoundly this weekend at The Mountain Experience, through Inquiry Method, in a context of sanctuary, that every person has a profoundly unique and paradoxically equal value. Amazing!
Below all the patterns, habits, behaviors, pain, ego, voids, drive…, humans are beautiful and good. We are all uniquely, profoundly and equally worthy of an amazing life. This is not to say that all participation and contributions are equal and the same, but fundamentally we are equally worthy. It is an amazing gift of this work to be able to see clearly through all my layers of judgement and also be able to see through all the coverings and protection of another person to the unique, beautiful being inside. I feel so fortunate to have had this experience, to deepen my understanding of this life changing principle and to witness others having this awakening- such a supreme gift of The Mountain Experience.
A client recently asked me, “How do you form an intention from the heart?” The short answer is you can’t; it’s impossible. You can only discover what your intention is. Inspiration is not something we are in charge of, so the best we can do is to uncover and identify it. Like in Inquiry Method with the Mountain Experience, we just uncover intent, not form it. In other words, You cannot do anything that you do not want to do.
This idea is part of surrendering to oneself, surrendering to God, surrendering to life; however you want to say it, you have to just keep discovering. Opinion itself is actually pointless; we are just here to discover the truths about ourselves and you are going to be most powerful when you are most like yourself. You have to work to be in alignment with your authentic intentions rather than some kind of artificially driven intentions. The best you can do is be more like yourself.
We get taught that we are supposed to be different from who we are, but it’s about accepting who we are and discovering that from a place of acceptance. There are three points to this: resistance, which is non-acceptance; acceptance, which is kind of neutrality towards something; and approval, which is enthusiastic engagement towards something. And we can relate to ourselves in any of those three ways. We can relate to ourselves through resistance, or through non-acceptance of ourselves, we can relate to ourselves through acceptance, or through tolerating and being okay with ourselves, or we can work towards approval and approving who we really are.
Most people think of their mind as their controlling mechanism. However I believe that when we examine it more deeply we find that the mind is rarely strong enough to go against our inner desire or when it does it is to our detriment. We think that thinking can or will override what our actual intention is or what we actually want.
In Inquiry Method we’re looking to derail the mindset that thought has authority over ourselves; in Inquiry Method the only real authority is our inner source, where our intention already exists even before we think about it. Sometimes our minds try to override our true desires and intentions with intellectual or mental intentions or actions. If we can identify these thoughts and set them aside, and look deeper, we can find out what it is that we really want on the deepest level and live our lives from that.
The Mountain Experience ultimately helps you liberate yourself to connect with your source. The focus of the Mountain Experience is on the emotional things that obscure and overlay the ability to sense into what we really want, our source.
It’s important to talk about what we mean by feelings when we discuss source. There are two kinds of feelings: emotional feelings and inner-knowing feelings. When we’re talking about inner-knowing feeling, this is about uncovering our true intentions and true desires and embracing them. Desire and intentions are intimately tied together.
In our culture, women, much more so than men, have not been allowed to have or express their desires; consequently, women in particular really need to learn to develop their own approval for their desires. Desire is the key to intention and is what we mean by authoring our life, a life built on our actual desire. When we’re really in touch with our authentic desires, not just the intellectual ones or the emotionally reactive ones we become powerful and manifest the lives we want.
Sometimes we confuse other people too, because we tell others that our desire is this when what we actually want is that. People often say one thing and then do something totally different when they are not fully in touch with their authentic desires. I encourage you to connect with your inner knowing and to become in alignment with your true desires. I invite you to use me as a guide to help filter through the noise to help you connect with your true self.
Many of you have been deeply impacted in one way or another by the Mountain Experience. For the majority of you it has been a life-changing event that, as I hear from many of you, you think about every day. Even if you have not attended the mountain experience, I encourage you to learn more about it and share it with your friends. In fact, we as human beings often want to share such a beneficial experience with other people that seem struggling or limited in some way as they could really use the insight that is provided by the Mountain Experience.
Encouraging or inviting someone to come can be a real challenge because we do not always have the tools or the perspective to share the Mountain Experience with another person. The opportunity most often occurs when somebody is suffering or challenged. Our typical habit when somebody else is suffering or challenged is to drop into telling, to advising, to comforting, to all sorts of different modes that do not really offer the support that someone else is needing. The most powerful way to interact with someone is through inquiry because they just want to be understood or heard.
If you find someone that seems to be struggling in some way, then you can apply inquiry with a desire to not fix them but to truly understand what is going on for them. When you do this, you will see them open up; you will see them go deeper into their awareness about what is happening to them. In that openness, if you can simply recognize the shared humanity, the shared underpinnings that we all have, and recognize what they have that you have, you will form a compassionate connection. Once you feel that connection, once you have recognized the shared humanities and struggles around life, then you can say “You know, I have felt that way personally and I still feel that way sometimes, and I did something, the Mountain Experience, that really made a big difference in how I see things and it really made it easier for me.”
Once you have shared that, you can stop, and just see if something lights up in the person with whom you are speaking. And if something does light up in them, they will usually ask you a question like, “Do you think that would help me?” At that point it is really important to only answer the question at the level at which they ask it. So, for example, if someone asks, “Do you think that could help me?”, the very best response is “I don’t know, it helped me, so maybe you should check it out- would you like me to send you a link or have someone call you?” And then it is essentially off your plate, as we here at Inquiry Method will take care of the rest.
The main thing to remember here is you should not try to fix them or say they need the Mountain Experience; it is much better to present it as an opportunity or invitation. You should convey that the mountain experience worked for you when you were dealing with similar issues, and say you hope it will do the same for them. The very best outcome is to get their permission for someone to call them, and then let us know, and we will be happy to follow up and have an initial conversation with them to see if attending the Mountain Experience would be a beneficial endeavor.
There is an upcoming Mountain Experience in September, and for all of you that have had an interest in coming to the Mountain Experience, I truly recommend that you try to make it now. It is going to be a really special one, and it very may well be (at least for the time being) the last iteration of the Mountain Experience. Now I am sure that at some point there will be something similar that comes along on some level, but there is going to be a radical shift in Inquiry Method around how we deliver our teachings. And we have got some very exciting things up ahead.
But before that happens, I wanted to personally invite all of you to attend our last Mountain Experience. I hear people all the time that say, “You know, I’ve been thinking about coming to the Mountain Experience for 15 years or so,” or, “I really want this person I know to go the Mountain Experience.” So, if you have any of these feelings or thoughts this would be a great time to act on them, because pretty soon there will be entirely new experiences coming up.
I am very excited about what is on the horizon, and we are all very happy about it and I am sure you will all really enjoy what’s to come. However, there is also a sense of nostalgia and beauty surrounding the Mountain Experience and what has been. This last one is going to be really great, and there is going to be a lot of power and transformation taking place. So, I invite you personally to attend, and I invite you to let those people know who have always wanted to go to the Mountain Experience that the time is now! I hope to see you all there!
More details to come- keep your eye out for blogs and email updates from Inquiry Method!
As introduced last week, this idea of giving yourself away can have negative effects on all types of relationships. Marriages have some of this quality, where two people lean on each other and are seen as co-dependent, rather than as two whole individuals relating to each other. This also often happens between parents and children, and creates a situation where the children are kept small and weak and not taking responsibility for their own lives. This can often happen between employers and employees, when there are games and patters and family like patterns in a business.
As we mentioned last week, you can also give yourself away to materials or large corporations. Surprisingly, this can even happen between someone and their money. One way to know if you have given yourself away to your money is by noticing how you react to certain events. For example, if you put money and the stock market and it goes down, your sadness can reveal that you have tied some of your soul or spirit to your money. The same applies in a business. If you feel like you have to serve the business, or if it owes you something or that it is a burden, you can tell that you have given yourself away to the business.
This is one of the most complex subjects that I teach in the Mountain Experience. I help recognized that they have attached to another person, then help them detach. And I see that when they recognize and take themselves back, they usually feel immediate relief.
One time, I had a coaching session with a woman who had just gotten divorced. We could tell that the event had clearly taken a part of her, and were trying to figure out why. First, I asked her if I had given herself away to her husband. When she said that she hadn’t I then asked her if she had given herself to her marriage. The woman started to cry as she realized that she had given part of her spirit to the concept of marriage, and she released the grief and the loss, she saw that she could be whole in her life despite not being married.
One time I had a young man who was about 30 years old. He came to me and told me that, for the past ten years, he had not been able to keep a girlfriend or a job. He didn’t understand why, because ten years ago he was a successful man with a girlfriend and a great job. He said, “it’s like a part of me died.” I said “interesting,” and asked him to reflect about what may have occurred ten years ago. After reflecting he shared that his grandfather died 10 years ago. I explained that part of him died with his grandfather, and he suddenly started crying. He could clearly feel it in his emotional body that something had died that day. As I worked with him to take his spirit back, as his grandfather did not need that part of his spirit, and he had taken some of his grandfather’s spirit as well. This young man regained his spirit. About two weeks later, he sent an email sharing that he had a great girlfriend and a new job, and attributed it to regaining his life by getting his spirit back.
These stories reveal our capacity to put our spirit in something else. They show that we need our whole spirits to feel whole. It also shows that it is surprisingly easy to fix, since we can actually take ourselves back from other people.
It can be hard to completely stop giving yourself away. Society has told us that it is a loving and caring act, as well as many other things that make it seem like a positive thing . As such, I am simply asking you to try. When I walk through the process, try to give yourself away then take it back, and see what it feels like. Normally, when people do this test drive, people get this on an emotional level. They begin to see that giving yourself away does not create healthy context.
As you go through your process you may want to explore, “who have I given myself away to?” It may seem difficult, but it can actually be easy to determine. If you feel great when they are in a good place, and feel terrible when they are struggling, you will know they have a part of you. If you feel the need to make sure they’re okay, or believe that part of you would die if they died, a part of you is attached to them. You can also tell if you have an ongoing fear about their well-being, need to control them, or a sense of resentment. In each example, you see the person as non-separate from you, and therefore feel what they feel.
Once you learn more about this subject, you can help in two ways. First, you will clearly feel more whole once you have taken your spirit back. But there’s also a second part; if you have this knowledge and know the symptoms, you can give others their spirit back. If you feel them attaching to you, you can learn to detach from it. This is not done by saying something to another person: they can just feel it. That’s because giving yourself away is beyond the level of intellectual understanding. It is not something you can write down, but something you feel.
Give yourself a chance to reflect on all of this through inquiry. What or who have you given yourself away to? What is the price? What is the perceived benefit?
Taking yourself back can be a life-changing experience.
At the Mountain Experience, I introduce the map of consciousness I call Levels of One Self. On this map I introduce Level II: Exchange. Among other aspects of being at this level of consciousness, Exchange is when we make conscious and unconscious agreements with each other in order to get what we want and need from each other. This is the level at which we entangle with other people, where we feel controlled by others ups and downs, and where we resent others for not being better than they are.
There are so many implications to understanding the impact of imbalances (giving self away) at this level that it could be its own book. However, I wanted to share one aspect that has become so evident to me recently.
The primary currency at the Exchange level is guilt; in Exchange, if I give myself to you I become a victim to you, I become a martyr to you without your participation. Now, because I have given to you, you owe me. The classic line that demonstrates this is: “After all I have done for you, the least you could do is…”.
When we are participating in life at this level we often collect and archive debts in our relationships, like little “victimhoods” all around us, and then look to collect them. You can create these debts without the other person’s permission or even knowing and then hold it against them.
On a larger scale, we can even collect “victimhoods” against life, society, God, businesses… many of us make a lifetime habit of this. It interferes with relationships and the worst part is the effort and suffering it takes to continue to carry the burden of our victimhood.
If you are going to create contracts with people, it is better to make open contracts that are clearly understood and agreed to by both parties. If you are going to give, give without expectations. As for the rest of the world, do you really want to walk in life as a victim of anything, such as the economy, politics, traffic…?
Start noticing your victimhood, or your collection of debts and unfairness’s, and write them down and keep track of them (at least this way you won’t have to keep thinking about them as you have them in a safe place). See if you can become aware of the burden you experience by carrying them, see if you can recognize the damage they are doing to your relationships. Over time keep adding to your list so you can track your habit, as you become more clear of areas where you may perceive yourself as victim, you may want to authentically cross some things off your list forgiving yourself and others. Note what you feel when you cross something off your list. Over time, you may find that instead of growing, your list is shrinking. Freeing yourself from victimhood is a powerful step in your evolution.
Recently, I received a question from someone that follows my blogs. The essence of the question was: “How do I love myself?”
This is a really important and critical question at many levels of growth. How do we truly honor and love ourselves even when we are so clearly imperfect, struggling or having strong negative feelings? The capacity to love oneself is tricky because we have not identified which part of us is doing the loving and which part is being loved. Let us think about the question of self-love through the lens of the three aspects of self that we refer to in Inquiry Method™: mind, body and source.
If we think about loving ourselves from the mind or conditional love, this is coming from the ego, which generally comes through having accomplishments, meeting expectations, or achieving goals etc. That conditional love is not the kind of love that most are looking for or want. In many cases we may be matching up with an ideal that we or other people have set for ourselves. Conditional love will never satisfy that yearning for love, because it can be withdrawn at any time and it is based upon what we may be doing or what is happening right now, not who we are.
Another form of love that we associate with the body is emotional love or passionate love. Emotions are carried by and can be recognized in our physical bodies. Emotional love is a special gift that we get at certain moments in our lives; when we are feeling particularly inspired about what is happening right now, an experience, when in nature or beauty, or just in connection with this deep emotional love of being in life, with another person, or by ourselves. Essentially, it is loving towards ourselves for no reason. This emotional love is wonderful, but it is also transitory; meaning it cannot be held on to or manifested at will. Some may be able to practice connecting with emotional love through loving practices or loving meditations, but essentially it will still be transitory, like the weather.
The third kind of love is a love from source or soul; and this love is unconditional love. This love requires us to drop in to our larger selves, meaning that we have to step into that part of us that is larger than our intellectual nature (mind), or our emotional nature (body). This larger broader self or higher self recognizes the needs of the mental and emotional self and hold space for it. Meaning: loving unconditionally. It is not the same as romantic love or the emotional love, it is more like holding space and deep acceptance for the frailties in our struggles and in this experience of being human.
I practice loving from source when I go to bed at night, in particular, I will drop into that more soulful part of me and be there for the part of me mentally and emotionally that has gone through the day and suffered through the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” – as Shakespeare has said.
Of the three different mechanisms for self-love, the most relevant to the Inquiry Method™ is the love from source: the capacity to hold that larger, safer, non-reactive, nonjudgmental, unconditional love, that does not feel like passionate love, or pride, or self-esteem but is profoundly self-accepting.
As a bonus, the more we are able to discover and do this for ourselves, the more we are able to love and hold that space for others. I model this in the Mountain Experience, Freedom Experiences and the other experiences that I create. It is part of what draws people so much to those experiences, is having an experience where someone is holding that profound and deep safety and acceptance without judgment for another person. As you practice this for yourself, you will increase your capacity to hold that space and be that for others.