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…


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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.

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?

 

 

Your Life

Your life
A book
Author
And
Protagonist
Write it
So you can’t
Put it down
The end
Is written
You lose
everything
What matters
What you
Let go
The losses
The wins
How do
You write
Your story
Style
Pace
Rhythm
Mood
Insight
Wisdom
Tragedy
Comedy
Terror
Inspirational
Is
100%
Up
To
You
You are the
Author
The author-ity
On this story
You tell
To yourself
Make it
Fucking good


Written by Kyle Mercer

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.

Love Day

Listen to the audio here, or scroll down to read the blog.

This is the Valentines day edition of the blog.

The topic today is a topic called I want to be loved. A lot of us feel that and have probably said that phrase: “I want to be loved.” It’s kind of fun to take it apart and examine that thought and that phrase and that belief.  

The first thing you can notice in the statement: “I want to be loved” is that it is set in the past tense. There is this quality (and I talk about it at the Matrix) there is this void –  something that we haven’t received. When we put it in the past, we’re basically saying I want to go back in the past and receive the love that I haven’t received; which makes a lot of sense because there’s a certain aspect or way in which we recognize that we would feel differently about ourselves, we might feel differently about life if we had received love in a different way or a specific way or differently at some point in our life.  There is this yearning to go back and repair that wounded one.

If we can let go of that, if we can heal that past aspect, we can actually drop the past tense to that. If we drop the past tense, we say “I want love” instead of “I want to be loved.” Meaning, I want to receive love or even I want to receive love in the future.  As soon as I say I want anything, I’m emphasizing the fact that I don’t have it. One of the definitions of the word “want” is lack of…, as soon as you are wanting, you’re not having. You can’t want and have at the same time. So, when you say “I want love”, you’re saying you don’t have love.

If we drop that aspect of lacking, it comes down to “I love” and that is beautiful. In fact, it’s the most powerful approach to love there is.

In fact, if somebody else is loving me I can feel or I can have somebody express their love to me and not feel the love. I’m sure we have all had that experience where somebody proclaims their love for us, but we don’t feel anything from it. Just having somebody else loving us actually never fixes the thing.  We can have all sorts of people loving us and still feel the lack of love or still be wanting love. So, really, the only way to experience love isn’t to receive it, but to be it or express it: “I love.”

Loving is the best feeling in the universe and it’s wonderful to seek out and find different opportunities for love.  It’s why I love to find a great book. “I love this book” that’s the feeling of love. “I love this movie” or “I love this thing,” or “I love this team.”  We all love to find things to love because it’s the best feeling. It’s why we yearn for the right person. It’s why children are so wonderful is just they all give us an opportunity to love, so I recommend healing up any past lack of love, I recommend giving up the idea that you lack love and spend the rest of your life looking for things and people to love, the more the merrier!

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Self Judgment

Hi everyone, this is Peggy. I want to give you a quick summary before we jump into the blog.

Today’s blog centers around a conversation and teaching that happened on one of our recent membership calls and is presented here with permission from the participant. It starts when Kyle asks participants to share one thing they’d like the group to know about them.

It’s about how when we hold judgments on ourselves, we often also take the egoic position of the opposite side of that judgment. And, consequently, we are pulled in two directions: one of judging ourselves for not being x and one that is proudly asserting that we are x. In this blog, we explore that tension and what we can do to free ourselves from it.

We invite you to read the dialogue and teaching below, or you can listen to the audio recording. The audio is a neat way to experience what the membership calls can be like and why coaching is helpful. We also find that often some of your own growth comes from experiencing the new awareness and growth of others.

To learn more about our membership calls, click here

Listen to the audio here, or scroll down to read the conversation and teaching.

Client: One thing I’d like you to know about me is that… I’m shy.

Kyle: How does that show up?

C: I don’t speak up sometimes. Sometimes I just hold back.

K: What’s behind you holding back?

C: Fear of judgment.

K: What’s the judgment you most fear?

C: I don’t know what I’m talking about.

K: Ah, you fear the judgment that you don’t know what you are talking about.

When did you first learn that one? How old were you?

[After the client feels into the original place/people this judgment came from, Kyle switches to some teaching]

K: When we have an existing judgment, i.e. “I don’t know what I’m talking about, “ our psyche puts on the opposite idea as a defense, in this case: “I do know what I’m talking about” or “I want to know what I’m talking about”. It’s not a defense in the moment, but it’s this idea that I’m supposed to do that other thing instead i.e. I’m supposed to know what I’m talking about. And, I start to hold that egoic position of: “I do know what I’m talking about”. And, I get attached to that idea.

And, it pulls us in two directions – we have this judgment on ourselves, and at the same time, we find ourselves attached to that opposite egoic position.

But, we don’t have to live in that tension.

I don’t know if you notice but when I’m teaching there is both a quality that I do know what I’m talking about and there is also a quality that I don’t know what I’m talking about. The heart of inquiry is open curiosity- a total willingness to be informed differently, it’s kind of like: Hey this is kind of my best shot at it.

There is so much freedom in having no position on knowing what I’m talking about, not that I do or don’t. Sometimes I do know what I’m talking about and sometimes I don’t.

At the Freedom Experience, we sometimes put these opposing ideas metaphorically in each hand. In this example, “I know what I’m talking about” would be in one hand and “I don’t know what I’m talking about” in the other. And we can see visually, that we get stuck in this duality.  I’m trying to repress that I don’t know what I’m talking about and simultaneously, I’m trying to amplify that I do know what I’m talking about. So, the hands/our psyche gets pulled apart. But, when we let go of the energy between them, the dualities come together (visually the hands come together). And, in this place where the dualities come together, it becomes a non-question- the whole issue of knowing or not knowing what I’m talking about disappears. It’s a non-duality, a non-question. I have the freedom to sometimes know what I’m talking about and sometimes not know what I’m talking about.

So, there are all these things like this. And, this is part of what we do at the Freedom Experience. We identify all these places of duality

  • “I’m not pretty enough” and “I’m trying to be pretty”. It has this duality and tension rather than just being.
  • I may be trying to be smart but that means I also repress or shutdown not being smart. I hold this open question/judgment: Am I smart or am I not smart?

So, there are all these dualities in these thoughts and beliefs that we hold about ourselves. And when it goes away there is this freedom from the struggle in between these dualities (and that’s why we call it the Freedom Experience).

Another judgment could be that “I’m too scared”. If you take the energy out of it, it collapses to “I can be scared or not scared.” And, then in any given moment it may be: “I can be scared or not scared, but I’m feeling scared right now. And, the whole resistance to it changes, it becomes “oh I wonder why I’m scared now, maybe I should pay attention.”

So, the more that we can identify these dualities and let all the energy out of them, there is more freedom to just be.

In the original example, once I let the energy out, knowing what I’m talking about or not knowing what I’m talking about isn’t even a consideration. It just doesn’t occur. It’s more “maybe I do and maybe I don’t.” Self-trust comes in. There is a deeper truth that comes in when I don’t have to know or not know. The more we get out of needing to know, the more we get into source.

Every time we can collapse one of those dualities, the more we are connected to source.


To read more about our members calls, click here 

To read more blogs on self-identity and ego, click here 

On Contemplation

I’m sitting here thinking about life at altitude and what practices are associated with it. Obviously, Inquiry Method is the primary practice associated with life at altitude, but there are other practices that are going to come out over the ensuing months that if included in your life, really support life at altitude.

You may have heard of meditation, and meditation is certainly a huge support to life at altitude. But, there’s another thing that is similar, but totally different called “Contemplation”.

You could say contemplation is another form of meditation, but it’s not quite the same thing. Contemplation is like meditation in that it’s a quiet solo process, and it’s better without any distractions and better with time set aside for it. But, meditation essentially means a singular focus. So, you can meditate on an object, you can meditate on your thoughts, you can meditate on stillness. So, meditating just means – singular focus. Contemplation is different.

Contemplation is also similar to Inquiry Method, but Inquiry Method requires a partner and contemplation is something you do on your own.

The difference between thinking about something and contemplation is that thinking about something often gets you into a loop of thoughts- like judgments, or if you are thinking about somebody- you may think about all your judgments or what you don’t like about them, or what the problem at work is. That would be thinking and it’s a closed loop- stuck system.

Contemplation is a meta-activity, meaning it is an activity of looking at something from a more separated point of view. So, like Inquiry Method, you get into a state of reflection and you’re looking at yourself from a higher level of consciousness, from a sense of inquiry and curiosity, asking “what’s behind that?” You’d be asking yourself: what’s bothering me about that, how can I get in approval of that, what am I not seeing about that, how am I creating that situation- so that you’re looking at the larger perspective of things. It’s amazing to get into contemplation.

Just sitting here this morning, there was something coming up for me. I could just feel that I was carrying stress and I was carrying some tension. And, with my willingness to go into contemplation and get into that higher level of consciousness, I was quickly able to see that there were two things going on.

  • One is that I had some stuff stuck in me that needed to be unpacked and emptied out. Things that I was holding that just needed another person’s ear just to empty out. Just to say “oh this is going on for me”. We just had a blog on emptying out, which is wonderful practice. You can read it here
  • The second thing I could recognize is that I had a block. I was noticing that I had more creative expensive energy than my mind would allow and so in my contemplation, I could see “oh, my mind is limiting the amount of energy that can flow through my body and the creativity and it’s just a little jammed up” and then that gives me an opportunity to start to look into what are the thoughts and beliefs and ideas that restrict that and create that kind of backed up feeling inside my body.

So, I recommend trying it out, try a contemplation practice. Get into a state of reflection and get to where you are looking at yourself from a higher level of consciousness, from a sense of inquiry and curiosity, asking yourself “what’s behind that?”

And, also see if you can discern the difference between contemplation and thinking. See if you can discern the difference between meditation and contemplation. And, really see if you can get into that higher level of consciousness; in the levels, we call it “Level 4 – consciousness towards yourself”. It’s the level of altitude which allows self-inquiry to happen.


We just started sending out daily prompts for contemplation. If you’d like to get these in your inbox each morning, you can sign up here: http://bit.ly/dailyinq

Read more about contemplation here