The Open Question

On a weekend retreat some years ago, was introduced to the technique of inquiry.

The instruction was to look into our nature by using the question
” What am I ? ”

We were also given the “answer” to the question.

The “answer” was supposed to be ” I am the potential for awareness.”

So, that was that.

Got it. [wink]

Had the answer.


Moving right along!

If anyone asks, I’ll know what to say.
(No one ever asked.)

It would be years before I returned to the practice of inquiry.

* * * * * * * *

The inquiry phrase more closely resembles a koan than a conventional question.

Getting an “answer” to the question initially leads to a conceptual dead end.

Open-ended inquiry practice helps to chisel out of the conceptual prison cell built by mind.

In open-ended inquiry practice,
the inquiry phrase acts as a focusing tool for attention,
dragging it away from familiar conceptual resting places,
toward freedom.

The question must remain open until seeing the Truth happens, spontaneously;
until there is nothing left.

A paradox comes with the open-ended question.

The end of this path, dissolution, is characterized by a decline in desires.

Yet, how it looked from here, the engine of practice ran on the fuel of enthusiasm/desire !

Determination and exasperation poured on in great abundance.

How could this be ?

Emotional energy propelled inquiry ?

to end desire
drove the imagined desirer
closer to its death
every day.

That’s exactly what it looked and felt like.
Until it was done.

* * * * * * * *

Let it happen.

Let it all burn up.

There’s nothing to lose,

except “your” life.


Thanks to these websites for the photos:

The dead end sign came from here:

The steam engine came from here:

The swan dive comes from here:

To further explore inquiry, please see Nirmala’s blog here:

Or listen to Adyashanti here:

Or Nisargadatta here:

About dominic724

A former seeker starts blogging.
This entry was posted in Inquiry, No self and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The Open Question

  1. vivjm says:

    An open ended question being much more powerful than one with a right answer!

  2. dadirri7 says:

    yay! lovely post 🙂

  3. Shantideva says:

    Dead End! So true! This is a strange answer to a question that should stay unanswered until one awakens to the answer similar to a Koan.

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