Your brain is marvelously sophisticated at perceiving, labeling, and recalling information. You use this information to do countless diverse and demanding tasks, from creating a new business to planning your errands and remembering to call a friend on her birthday. However, the ultimate spiritual purpose of your brain — and its conscious phenomenon, the mind — is to find the answers to your most pressing questions about the meaning of life.
The role of the brain and mind are dismissed or even denigrated in many New Age interpretations of spirituality. The brain is seen as a mere machine, and the mind is considered unruly. We are told that the wandering mind is the cause of suffering, and we are instructed to tame it. We are led to believe that silencing the mind is how we become transcendent.
These are false perceptions of the human spiritual experience. Yes, meditative practices make you more present and contribute to your connection with the divine, but they are neither a prerequisite to becoming spiritual nor the only way to do so. You use your mind, body, and spirit in conjunction to experience the world around you, and that is no accident.
The mind both listens and speaks. Neither of these states is better than the other; they are both required to help us operate as spiritual beings in the physical reality. In the listening state, the higher self takes residence and we are intuitively receptive to divine wisdom. But though a calm mind is essential for our well-being, it's not necessary or desirable to silence the mind. The mind's speaking state is useful; the voice in our head helps us find meaning and understand our life experience.
Most importantly, the mind's voice allows us to engage in the delightful project of inquiry. Inquiry is the gateway through which the voice can ask questions while inviting the spirit to provide the answers. Each question brings you deeper into yourself and closer to your purpose. Inquiry connects you to truth and ultimately to the divine.
Inquiry is not an esoteric practice; it is something we do here and now, in the course of our ordinary daily experience. Here's how:
1. Be present and relaxed.
Take seven deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. With every breath, imagine that your body is getting more peaceful and ready to learn the truth.
2. Set your intention.
This can be as simple as, "May I come to know the truth." Allow your gentle intention to prepare you to receive wisdom from the divine.
3. Clarify your question.
What is it that you'd like to inquire about and why? By articulating your question, you are informing the universe of your request.
4. Sincerely seek to know.
Make a genuine connection with the ideas, objects, and concepts revealed to you. The more interested you are in your topic, the greater the energy you send out and receive in return, in the form of answers.
5. Ask the right kind of questions.
Yes-or-no questions limit your ability to perceive the wider truth. Instead, ask open-ended questions. Let your questions be guided by the why, how, and what of life. Always seek to connect your questioning to the divine.
6. Pay attention to the signs.
Your answers may arrive in the form of intuitions, hunches, synchronicity, or thoughts you could not have generated yourself. Life is responsive in nature, so the universe may send you experiences that match your current needs. Your heart will recognize these whispers of the soul.
In inquiry, we dance between mystery and what's known. We are captivated by the desire to learn more. Our souls rejoice as we expand the learned truth into our entire being, dancing in resonance with the rest of creation. Inquiry offers us a gateway to a spiritually aligned life.