Meditative Inquiry is a form of meditation that includes a time for quiet meditation followed by a time for open dialogue or conversation.  There is an energy in coming together as a group and allowing ourselves to be in the moment while simultaneously being with others without expectation.  This time provides a sense of peace, connection, insight and comfort.

 While I am not currently running an active Meditative Inquiry group, my work as a therapist centers around the ideas of being in the moment and allowing ourselves to exist as we are without pre-conceived notions or beliefs that  we need to live our lives based on past learned behaviors or past interpretations. I work with the idea that we can develop new ways of thinking about how we want to think about our lives, chose our actions and think about each situation. 


Schedule for meditative inquiry

Time: 2 hours total

1.      Come in, take off shoes, and find a place to sit. This can be on the floor, the couch or a chair. You are welcome to bring your own mat to sit on if you wish to sit on the floor. There will be extra blankets and pillows available. Dress comfortably.

2.      Upon the sound of the bell there will be a first silent meditation for 25 minutes

3.      At the end of this first meditation, a bell will sound.  You will continue to remain silent and avoid eye contact with others. You may take a silent meditative walk following each other in a circle around the house for a period of five minutes.

4.      At the end of five minutes a bell will ring again and you will return to your seat for a second 25 minutes meditation.

5.      At the end of the 2nd meditation a bell will sound. You will continue to remain silent. You can stretch, take a meditative walk around the house, use the restroom, or make yourself a cup of tea.

6.      At the end of five minutes a bell will ring again starting the beginning of open inquiry. You will return to your seat. You are welcome to bring your tea to your seat with you and make yourself comfortable.

7.      With the beginning of the inquiry discussion there is usually a short period of silence, avoidance of eye contact and respecting others desire for quiet thought.  The group sits together until someone brings up a thought. This thought it given attention by all until someone looks to clarify or add to the thoughts. Common responses are “What do you mean by that” or “Can you say more about that”. The inquiry discussion will go on for one hour.

8.  The goal is to listen with full attention, it is a time to be aware of the moment; to listen and to be in a world of not knowing, without judgment. We see the looking and listening don't really need the thinking mind. 



The Essence of Group Dialogue: Meditation in Action

The essence of dialogue is to explore the possibility of pausing, looking, and listening, while speaking happens in a shared space. In this pause, we are able in a new way to hear ourselves as we speak - as well as everything else that is happening here, all simultaneously.

This space provides the possibility of seeing in an instant how identified we are with ideas, opinions, theories, belief systems, images and emotions - taking them as truth.

We can experience directly how these identifications can separate us from each other as we defend them - as if their loss was a life-and-death matter. As we feel attacked or hurt and then attack back to get even, we can be aware of how this creates suffering. It is possible to see that those patterns are not owned by anyone; they are universal, aren't they? We all share the same conditioning.

Dialogue is not group therapy. It doesn't pretend to change anybody or tell them what to do or not to do. Nor is it a vehicle to exchange opinions or to discuss or analyze a problem, but rather to see all of this as a habit of the mind in dealing with life's problems. Dialogue isn't a forum to tell stories. If they come up to illustrate and to help clarify something that the group is looking into, that's fine. Anything can be food for the looking together, in this collective listening that functions as a mirror. By asking each other, "What do you mean by that?" or "Where are you coming from?" we can help each other clarify what we are trying to say, and get in touch with underlying motives.

We can also participate by being silent, looking at our reactions to what has been said, or just by being here, participating in the gathering of this energy of looking/listening together as one.

We can call it meditation in action. Beholding it all! It takes place here and now, and is not bound by time. Meditation is that instant when one wakes up to the fact of daydreaming, judging, blaming or indulging in guilt - when the stories become transparent and are seen for what they are, just stories.

There is the clarity of realizing that we are not those patterns, but rather this alive darkness of not knowing. We see that the looking and listening really don't need the thinking mind. It is in the wordless apprehension of what is that understanding and learning take place.

Then language can be at the service of intelligence - connecting, not dividing. In this way, dialogue is an alternative, a fresh way of being together, and sharing words in silence.


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