I have just returned from a day of dyading in an Enlightenment Intensive.
I’m seeing a more general usefulness to some of the EI techniques. I’d like to comment on one here.
I call it “casting the question.” I think of it as asking a question again and again as a fisherman casts his rod. On one cast, the fisherman comes up with a fish. And I am also intending to come up with a fish on one of my casts, and that fish is the Truth.
The questions we cast in EIs are “Who am I?”, “What is love?”, “What is life?”, etc.
“Patience” is a virtue in this practice: casting the question again and again and yet being equanimous with what arises. Most people abandon a process, at least emotionally, after a few failures. Here we are being asked to continue it through long stretches of time.
I’ve been toying with the idea of taking the EI process outside the realm of its own inquiry and looking at other truths with it, perhaps even some of a social, a decidedly external, nature. I am presently looking at arriving at a provisional categorical Truth relating to some aspect of social behaviour and using the internally-oriented EI technique of casting the question to test the statement out.
I can invent an example. Suppose I formulate the provisional categorical Truth that “All people, deep in their hearts, only want to help one another.” Cast as a question, that becomes: “Is it true that all people, deep in their hearts, only want to help one another?”
The process that would result from casting this question would be that I would either experience the Truth of it or encounter a barrier.
If I encountered a categorical Truth, I’m aware from my own experience that the knowing of it would be infinitely rewarding and self-evident. It would neither need verification nor interpretation.
There would be no more work to be done. I would have proved the truthfulness of that statement in the realm of my own experience and the truth would have set me free, as Jesus phrased it. That may be the best that any investigator can hope for.
If I encountered a barrier, I could be confronting the awakened memory of some incident that has me reject the truth of the statement. Perhaps as an eight-year-old boy, I experienced something done to me that has me not care for people deeply.
I resolve to learn from my barrier. I notice its presence by a feeling of drag, resistance, or burden. Perhaps my breath is impeded. Perhaps my muscles are tense. I resolve to investigate and see what observing my resistance uncovers. I ask what incident is driving me and take the first impression, image, or sense I am given. In a dyad, I would express myself on what arises. Somewhere within that initial impression may lie the truth. My barrier disappears in the face my expression of the truth and I go back to casting the question.
I think that life unfolds by a process of learning and knowing and learning and knowing. I think that process is designed into life. We either know the Truth or learn from a barrier, know the Truth or learn from a barrier. We are constantly learning. Occasionally, the answer to one of our questions is revealed. At last we find out that all our questions diverge on a common goal – knowing ourselves.
To summarize, then, I am encouraging us to entertain a way of proceeding in questions of an external nature that mimics one used in Enlightenment Intensives in an internalized inquiry. That way is to formulate a provisional categorical Truth about a subject and then cast it as a question. Cast the question again and again, accepting as an answer either the truth of it or a barrier to that truth. If the barrier, investigate it. Find out the truth of the barrier, and continue.
Casting the question and seeing what arises. Casting the question and seeing what arises.