Typically, when a performer, team, or organization is considering hiring me for a speaking engagement, to conduct a daylong workshop, or as a consultant, I’m asked some variety of the following question:
“In a sea of self-help experts, motivational gurus, psychologists, and so-called mind coaches, what, Garret, is different about your approach?”
My stock answer (which provokes disinterest about ninety-five percent of the time and curiosity about five percent of the time):
“My approach does not overlay another idea, theory, pep talk, or strategy on top of the personal self or body-mind we’ve been conditioned to be. Rather, my approach—self-inquiry—is the process of questioning the very nature of this personal self.”
In other words, experience tells me that the belief in a personal self is the foundation of all forms of suffering, tension, or turmoil. And while we might find a fleeting good feeling in taking the self through a series of excursions, practices, states of mind, relationships, or techniques, to find lasting peace we must first uproot this belief. We must be utterly certain that who we truly are is not the needy, lacking, and isolated product—a personal self—of our conditioning. We must come to understand that the power to experience, know, and even think does not reside within the body.
To be super clear, I’m not suggesting that self-inquiry is right for everyone. Most of us remain wooed by and dependent on the thrills, chills, and grandeur of the material world. Most of us glorify the body-mind or being human. Thus, we must exhaust all materialistic—including spiritually materialistic—alternatives before we’re prepared for the eradication of seeking in that world, or before we realize that we cannot find who we are by stepping away from who we are. In fact, most of us are simply not satisfied by the basic, standard, or, dare I say, neutral promise of self-inquiry.
But for those called to hold still, for those ready to allow the mind to fold inward, the pathless path is both familiar and fascinating. To them, this approach is the only game in town.
What’s different about self-inquiry?
In one manner or another, it asks the personal self to not satisfy its cravings, and, instead, to take a genuine look at the one who craves.
After all, before we ask others to think, behave, believe, or live in this way or that, shouldn’t they first understand who or what they truly are?
Thanks for reading,