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The Four Gates of Advent: No.1 - The Gate of Inquiry

Posted by Simon Parke, 28 November 2022, 9.14am

Sometimes in the day, we need to step away from the tram lines of our current mind set in order to find fresh possibilities, different space.

On difficult days, we may need to do this more than once.

So, we step off our well-beaten track, which can leave us beat, and plunge into the rich undergrowth of our consciousness discover a gate which might save us.

One such gate is the Gate in Inquiry.

The gate of inquiry, once eased open, brings us to a question: why do I feel or think as I do right now? What is the story behind these reactions in me? Why does this thought or feeling have such power?

When we have a strong feeling or a particularly negative thought, it can feel like our entire world and impossible to escape.

But instead of allowing ourselves to remain kidnapped by it, we can step away from the experience and ask questions.

I tend to leave the room in these situations, before I do damage. I might go for a short walk, walking is brilliant; or take ten deep breaths as I consider whatever is passing through my body. 

I step through the gate of inquiry. 

We’ll notice our body sensations; perhaps memories will arise or associations; maybe one gate will lead to another as other emotions appear. The path may now change but there’s nothing here to fear.

As one person said to me, ‘I started out imagining I was just a bit frustrated with Jack, but I soon realised I was really angry, very angry indeed - which I didn’t want to admit. I don’t like anger. And actually, I wasn’t really angry with Jack at all! He was just the fall guy. I could feel in my body this story went way back.’

Once we know the what or the why of a feeling, it may not go away immediately. But we can begin to look after ourselves; parent ourselves with words of reassurance.

I am not my thoughts, I am not my feelings, they are passing through.

Every day, the gate of inquiry is the beginning of us reclaiming our lives from those who would kidnap us.

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