FINDING FREEDOM WITH THE LIVING INQUIRIES
with Judith Sumitra Burton
What if we were able to meet each new moment with eyes and heart wide open, unclouded by projections from the past or desires for an imagined future? What if we could give up the war, quit fighting with and trying to change the reality of our responses to daily life situations? We’ve learned so much of how we want to be, and yet sometimes fall so short of our ideals.
The Living Inquiries offer a simple process for unraveling and releasing the stuck beliefs and sensations that veil the freedom that is inherently alive inside us. As the stories, memories and sensations stuck in the body are clearly and thoroughly heard and seen, they tend to pass through and be finished, allowing a sense of Freedom to be experienced.
I am deeply honored to be a facilitator of Scott Kiloby’s Living Inquiries. Each day brings new adventures, interacting with these tools in my world. After falling in love with Scott’s work in early 2012, I trained to become a facilitator of the Living Inquiries, and have since been passionately involved in both facilitating and being facilitated in many inquiry sessions. I find this work to be life-transforming!
Many tears have been shed, old wounds liberated and assumed identities released along the way. At one point in sessions I began noticing images of myself lying face down under water, or sometimes under cement – “Deadish,” I remarked. I was confused about how to proceed with life after all the mixed messages and estranging situations I’d experienced. A label of “hopeless” appeared a lot, and “unlovable.”
I looked at the words, listened to their sounds, and followed with growing compassion the sensations that resonated in my body. I “rested” with all of this, watched these realizations bubble up into the light, allowed everything to be exactly as it was, and experienced the sensations (which before had seemed so scary that they might kill me if I allowed them to surface). More recently I’ve seen images of a huge dragon arise and pour out its vibrant message, urging me to face life fearlessly and fully.
With the help of compassionate and skilled facilitators and trainers, I have gradually seen that the potent images, dramatic thoughts and painful sensations are just coming and going in the field of consciousness or awareness, and as I offer less resistance, suffering lessens. After many years of exhaustive self-discovery work, I can now see the formerly stuck places loosening, softening and breaking open, and the river of life flowing more freely.
The Living Inquiries process is immensely practical and supportive. We become intimate with what’s showing up in life, learn to welcome it, experience how it feels (rather than pushing it away), rest with it, open to it and allow it to be exactly as it is. You can learn to facilitate a session for yourself (self-inquiry) and join in with support groups on Facebook where many people meet and share ideas, struggles and successes.
There are also times when calling on a skilled facilitator is a wise step. Living Inquiries sessions are different from traditional therapy in that we are not attempting to heal or change the personality. Rather we are taking a look, with focused curiosity, at the triggers, images, thoughts and sensations – mistaken identities – that show up in life and appear to bind us. Once they are seen clearly, they tend to release or dissolve.
Since my certification as a facilitator, I have witnessed acute instances of fear and anxiety release quite easily with these simple, direct tools. As well, I have witnessed in myself and others long-held compulsions and addictions loosen and give way. And I’ve been happily surprised to witness long-term physical pain respond also to the inquiry process. We’ve heard for so long about the mind/ body connection, but to see the amazing results is wonderful. Often times the mind is directing muscles in the body to contract, perhaps as an attempt at protection.
Scott’s work with addictions has culminated in the publishing of his newest book, Natural Rest for Addiction: A Revolutionary Way to Recover through Presence and the opening in 2014 of his Kiloby Center for Recovery near Palm Springs, California.
Join with me, or with other facilitators of this work, to take a look – it could change your life!
“I feel so fortunate to have met Sumitra during our immersion training with the Hakomi method and to have received her thoughtful guidance with Scott Kiloby’s work. She is a bright light who embodies what she teaches and shares; she truly lives from the heart and creates a safe, nurturing environment for beautiful self-discovery to unfold. I am deeply grateful for what Sumitra has brought to me, and highly recommend her Living Inquiries sessions.” ~ Lisa
“You have a way of being present and totally in the moment. When you work with me, each little thing that comes up seems of utmost importance and worthy of infinite time spent looking at them. It feels like a reincarnation each moment working with you.” ~ Carol
“It has been a real pleasure being facilitated by Sumitra for the past 6 months or so and having someone who is skilled at facilitating with the Living Inquiries is a real blessing. Sumitra makes it very easy to feel safe when I am having a session and I feel that it is very important with this kind of work. Thank you Sumitra for all your help and support and great sessions.” ~ Mike
“I have experienced a gentle dissolving of body contractions with Sumitra’s facilitation. I cherish her divine feminine essence breathed into each word as she guides me on this simple weaving of looking within. Thank you dear Judith for your light of inquiry.” ~ Andree
“Our facilitation was like no other experience I have had with facilitation in that Sumitra was just present for me. She witnessed, she held such a deep space and guided me through a self facilitation process intertwined with the living inquiry principles, so that I was able to see that the pain and sadness I felt were OK. She sat with me while I wept and it was one of the most cleansing experiences of my life.” ~ Ann
“Sumitra held the space beautifully during our session. I felt bathed in the radiance of Sumitra’s quiet, warm, steadfast presence. The level of rest that I reached during the session was very soothing and peaceful. I experienced great value from the time spent together. I fully endorse her as a Living Inquiries facilitator.” ~ Daniel
“We have tried everything to get rid of suffering. We have gone everywhere to get rid of suffering. We have bought everything to get rid of it. We have ingested everything to get rid of it. Finally, when one has tried enough, there arises the possibility of spiritual maturity with the willingness to stop the futile attempt to get rid of it and, instead, to actually experience suffering. In that momentous instant, there is the realization of that which is beyond suffering, of that which is untouched by suffering. There is the realization of who one truly is. ”
~ Gangaji ~
“Relationships do not cause pain and unhappiness.
They bring out the pain and unhappiness that is already in you.”
– Eckhart Tolle
“Your feelings, the energies alive in your body right now, were not ’caused’ by anyone else, and nobody else can take them away.
“Nobody else is responsible for your feelings. This realisation can end the blame game once and for all, and leave you standing in your true place of power – the present moment.
“Yes, others may trigger pain and sorrow in you, they may contribute to the field in which your old, unresolved pain can resurface, but they cannot make you feel how you feel. Nobody can make you happy, nobody can make you unhappy. You are only invited, constantly, to meet what remains unmet in yourself, to touch what you never wanted to touch in yourself, to explore the field.
“Making others responsible for how we feel is the beginning of all violence, both internal and external, all conflict between people, and ultimately all wars between nations.
“Let others off the hook. Honour what is alive in you right now. Learn to hold your own feelings like beloved children, however intensely they burn and scream for attention. Celebrate the aliveness in your hurt, the vibrancy of your disappointment, the electricity of your sadness. Kneel before the power in your anger, honour its burning creativity.
“From this place of deep acceptance, you do not become weak and passive. Quite the opposite. You simply enter the world from a place of nonviolence, and therefore immense creative power, and you are open to the possibility of deep listening, honest dialogue, and unexpected change.
“In suffering you become small. In love, anything is possible.”
– Jeff Foster –
“We are wired as little ones to do whatever it takes to maintain the tie to our caregivers, including disconnecting from specific feelings, emotions, and ways of being that threaten the attachment bond. This isn’t because we were neurotic, pathological, not “spiritual” enough, caught in a “low vibration,” or victim of some sort of “personality disorder.” Rather, these were acts of breathtaking creativity, designed to prevent disintegration and overwhelming dysregulation in tender nervous systems and ripening little hearts.
“Rather than shame ourselves for our protective strategies, we might see them as a certain kind of grace, descending upon us to keep us alive, hearts beating, and open to the mystery of the human journey. Instead of spinning off into blame and rage, we could honor the activity of even early disembodiment as the reflection of a cosmic sort of intelligence. The path will appear in infinite forms, including in ways the mind will never understand. But the body knows. The heart knows.
“From the perspective of wholeness, there is no “wound” from the past that must first be healed in order for you to fully show up here. In one miracle instant you can end the dream of postponement. In each radiant here and now moment, the abandoned material is on vivid display around you, appearing as your feelings, your emotions, the anxiety in your belly, as your lovers, your children, even as a dripping purple sunrise above you. It will never give up. It will search for you forever, yearning for just one moment of your time, your holding, and your warm embrace. It is surging out of the relational matrix seeking metabolization and completion within you.
“It is the most radical act of fierce embodied care to send warmth, awareness, and holding into the core of unmet rage, shame, despair, and heartbreak – and to cut the momentum of abandonment and the developmental need to fight or flee. It is a tremendous act of kindness to infuse presence into the center of the raw sensations as they ripple through your torso, arising as expressions of sacred, revelatory data.
“No matter how things are going for you, you can start right where you are, for very short periods of time. Surround and contain the intensity, as it surges for integration. Even for one second. Two seconds. And then three seconds. Push yourself a little, with fiery, committed self-love, but not so much that you go into overwhelm. Find a friend, a therapist, a teacher, a lover, a co-worker, a baby, a tree, a deer, an owl, an ocean, a moon, a star to bear witness with you.
“It will take everything you have to re-establish the pathways of aliveness, eventually coming to see that they have been on fire inside you all along. You must decide if it is worth the burning, the uncertainty of the unknown, and the non-negotiable requirement to stay embodied to your vulnerability along the way.
“I have been honored to accompany many courageous men and women who have decided that it was. And for that I am grateful. Please know that your work is never for yourself alone.
– Matt Licata –