The Richmond Self Inquiry Group provides an opportunity to meet and work with others involved in the search for Truth and Self-Realization via meditation and self-inquiry. The underlying tenant of this path is that Truth is something to be found through one’s own direct experience. Group Inquiry recognizes that working with others may expedite this process, and provides a platform for genuine friendship along the way.
Similar in many ways to Satsang, a word which may be more familiar to some, Group Inquiry reflects the teachings of Nisargadatta, Ramana Maharshi, Richard Rose, Adyashanti, and Jnana Yoga in general. Those familiar with the contemplative and mystical sides of many traditions, Zen, and other forms of Buddhism may also find a resonance with the Richmond Self Inquiry Group.
The goals of the group include helping each other see more clearly for ourselves; helping each other uncover inconsistencies and blind spots in our beliefs and assumptions about who or what we really are, and how we relate to the world around us; and helping each other recognize what is most important to us.
Prior to attending a meeting, please read and become familiar with the meeting rules and guidelines below. As the word “confrontation” can be off-putting to some, I’ve found it useful to consider it in the same way one might consider a good friend who would choose helping you find the truth (and in so doing, help you to a place of deeper and more lasting fulfillment) over simply providing superficial and temporary relief to your ego.
Rules & Guidelines
- Group Inquiry or confrontation is a friendly mode of challenging not of the person but of his or her assumptions, beliefs, values and ethics with the goal of moving towards Truth. - Group Inquiry is a place to help each other find Truth for ourselves, and no one should be subject to preaching. - A successful interchange relies on the cooperation of all participants and their willingness to "play the game." - Refrain from giving advice, but rather ask questions which may help the speaker find their own direction. - Keep the focus on the speaker/person being confronted. - Allow time/pauses for questions to sink in. - Express curiosity and help the person become curious as well about a contradiction, blind-spot, hidden assumption, etc. implied by their responses. - Do not confront the confronter. - Avoid theorizing/philosophizing - remember, this is about direct experience not abstract ideas.
As much as is humanly possible we should try to:
- Listen actively, without interrupting, maintaining a felt connection with the speaker. - Avoid the temptation to shift the attention to ourselves – either out of a desire to rescue the person from discomfort or a desire to be the center of attention ourselves. When such a shift occurs, the group should point it out and redirect. - Try to understand the speaker's point of view and challenge him or her to question their own thinking and perspective, not argue with them or try to sell our views.
Meetings will typically begin with a 20 minute meditation, and then move into the period of Group Inquiry. Group Inquiry may begin with a particular question or topic, or may allow a space for group members to share what has been on their minds. There is also a "grab bag" of stimulating topics for inquiry. The time will be divided to ensure each participant has time for both being confronted, and for challenging the other members of the group in turn. To close the meeting, we'll open up the room for general discussion.
As these meetings will typically be held in my own residence, there are a few initial questions required to become a member. An email exchange, phone call, or meetup for coffee or a walk may also be requested by either you or myself via Meetups email/messenger. This serves to ensure we’re enough on the same page and both feel comfortable. Ideally, over time, members will become a close nit group of friends with a commitment to the group and its goals. To help facilitate this commitment I am asking for a small monetary contribution to cover the costs of Meetup and create a sense of investment from the members. There’s a 90 day free trial, and after that it’s only $3.00 per month. Any excess funds from member dues, above and beyond Meetup costs, will be donated to a charity of the group’s majority choosing. The choice of charity will occur biannually at the first meeting in June, and the first meeting in January - so be there if you want a say :)
Finally, meetings will occur every other week. Due to my work schedule I am unable to have it be the same day every week, but will post the meetings well in advance. As the group coheres, we can always work together to find times that work best for everyone.
I sincerely look forward to being with you all, and to sharing in the space of our inquiry towards Truth, Self Realization, God, or whatever other name you may use for that which inspires your deepest curiosity and longing.