The Art of Experiential Enquiry
Conscious inquiry is founded on grounded investigations and open questioning directed at our own experience of self and life. Since we seek to discover the truth behind our very existence and the nature of reality, we often call this work ontological. If you look in the dictionary, you’ll read that ontology is “the study of being, of existence.” This is a deep and complex field, with various aspects frequently under debate by philosophers, scientists, and theologians.
The Cheng Hsin approach to ontology is not one of intellectual deliberation, but one of experiential inquiry. We explore the ways that perception creates our experience of self, other, and the world. We seek to move beyond the habits of perception that limit us in our abilities, our relationships, and our lives.
Cheng Hsin ontology work is not about acquiring knowledge.
In fact a good deal of it is about getting past aquired knowledge, getting to the “edge” of the known, in a manner of speaking, and creating openness and wonder in a very grounded way.
For it is where your understanding ends that you can begin to truly start asking questions. Getting to this “place”, and moving into the unknown beyond it, is where Peter’s mastery of the work becomes so apparent. With commitment, clarity and integrity, patience and gentleness, he serves as an invaluable guide, leading you out beyond the familiar to places where you can begin to experience beyond what you know, and then inviting you even further beyond that.
It is at this point that the fascinating ideas of ontology start to become real.
Explorations in the Ontological Workshops
- We are affected by everything we perceive. This is not a random activity nor is it caused by the thing perceived as we might think. It is a purposeful activity of the mind as it automatically relates everything to the self.
- Every action we take also relates from the self to serve some end, often an unconscious one.
- Our own self is confused with mind, we are dedicated to persisting as this self and so as this mind.
- Our every perception and experience is dominated by the self-mind as the self-mind translates everything into a self serving perception. But in this way we do not experience the truth of anything. If we learn to experience things for themselves we are freed of much of the unconscious influence that separates us from the thing. Not only are we no longer reacting in relation to a self serving perception, but we get closer to an experience of what “is” there as itself.
- The mechanisms of mind that are responsible for relating everything to the self are complex and we are unaware of most of them. By learning to contemplate our experience we can uncover and free ourselves from the unconscious core beliefs and assumptions that are the foundation for our personal character and self identity.
- Habitually and automatically relating everything to ourselves also prevents us from having a genuine experience of anyone else. Learning to suspend judgments and open up to experience another being for themselves allows real communication and interaction to take place.
- By breaking down and becoming conscious of the nature of our awareness and the make up of our experience in ways everyone has overlooked, we are empowered to move beyond our limitations and understand the true nature of our own existence.