What is Self-Inquiry?

You might ask ‘What is Self-Inquiry?’

Self-Inquiry refers to the process of questioning your thoughts using the four questions of inquiry.

The four questions are:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Can you absolutely know that it is true?
  3. How do you react, what happens when you believe that thought?
  4. Who would you be without the thought?

You then look at the original thought in a different way by ‘turning the thought around’:

“He hurt me”  becomes

  • I hurt me
  • I hurt him
  • He didn’t hurt me

and we then look for examples of how these statements are true or truer than our original thought at the moment we were believing it.

Self-inquiry allows you to explore life underneath all the noise and busyness of your mind. It supports you to get in touch with your truth, and the real emotions that you are experiencing at any given moment.

This self-inquiry method was founded by Byron Katie

As Katie explains in ‘How to Live in the NOW – The Value of Questioning Your Beliefs:

The Work is a way to step in between thinking a thought and believing the thought. You do The Work on the stressful thought, the one that you are believing, and amazingly enough, you may see that it’s just not true. You’ve been tying yourself in knots, and often your partner too, over a false belief, a lie. And you get to see, in detail, the cause-and-effect of the thought.

Not only that: Through doing The Work on a thought you get to see, in depth, who you would be without it, who you are without it. The reversal can be immediate. I keep seeing people turn their lives, their relationships, health, finances, around in five, ten, fifteen minutes because of the simple realization that what they’d been believing for years turns out to be untrue. Anyone with an open mind can achieve that. It comes with an incredible feeling of freedom. If it’s not immediate, if it takes more inquiry and effort at undoing, that’s also the way it should be, and it’s wonderful.

It’s not about stopping thoughts or emptying your mind. That’s not possible, and even if it were, what would be the point? I love every thought that has come to me in twenty-four years; every one of them is the beloved. You can’t let go of a stressful thought, because you didn’t create it in the first place. A thought just appears. You’re not doing it. How can you let go of what you have no control over? Once you’ve questioned the thought, you don’t have to let go of it, it lets go of you. It no longer means what you thought it meant. The world changes, because the mind that projected it has changed. Your whole life changes, and you don’t mind, because you realize that you already have – you already are – everything you ever wanted.”


How the using self-inquiry works to shift Stress & Anxiety

Dr Ann Krispenz talks about how self-inquiry works from a psychological perspective.

Anyone can do it, all it takes is an open mind and a willingness to inquire.

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