Essence as Light

Questions About
Insight Mentoring

What is Insight Mentoring and what kind of mentoring
sessions are available?

Please review our Introduction to Insight Mentoring. The
simplest and best way for us to connect is through AIA's
Insight Mentoring Circle.

Question Who can benefit from Insight Mentoring? Reply Insight Mentoring may be of benefit to anyone is:
  • longing to come to terms with fundamental questions of meaning and purpose,
  • tired of the restless process of seeking self-realization,
  • intrigued by the possibility of "awakening" in this moment, and
  • ready to relax into our own innate Knowing and natural Awareness.

  • Question
    How does the Insight Mentoring process work?

    Each mentoring session is tailored to the unique needs and interests of the individual. In general, the specific content of a mentoring session is not prepared ahead of time. Instead, the mentoring process emerges gradually through a shared exchange arising out of our own immediate experience.

    Typically, each session develops around questions from the mentee (mentoree), with responses or questions from me, based on my own present experience of Reality. Rather than attempting to plan or prepare in advance for a mentoring session, it is best simply to allow the inquiry and exchange to arise naturally out of our own shared experience within the present moment.

    What can I realistically expect to get from an Insight Mentoring session?

    What you will get from our mentoring session will depend upon your own expectations and your openness to the process. My contribution in each mentoring exchange arises directly and spontaneously out of my own immediate experience, and my goal is simply to allow this experience to be a mirror for your own exploration and discovery.

    Understandably, this process cannot provide THAT which we already are at a fundamental and essential level. However, it can create a context and framework for deepening our own insight into the nature of Reality as it manifests within the immediacy of our present moment Awareness.

    I have been wondering about your reference to sharing the "mirror" of your experience. Where does this language come from, and what exactly do you mean when you describe the mentoring process this way?

    My use of the term "mirror" comes from both my own experience, and from several traditional associations:

  • The finite/explicate reality we experience is, in one sense, an unfolded reflection, or mirror, of the Infinite/implicate Reality.

  • The nature of the world and our individual consciousness is, essentially, a reflection of our own innate Awareness.

  • Our own innate Awareness, itself, is clear and contentless, like a mirror.

  • Our "external" reality is in many ways a reflection of our "internal" experience of reality.

    And, in the context of mentoring...

  • Each of us is a mirror or reflection for one another. In other words:
    -- I see my own inquiry reflected in the questions shared by the mentees, and
    -- the reflection of the Natural Awareness revealed in the epiphany is used as the context (mirror) for exploring the questions and issues raised within the mentoring dialogue.

    Many of the quotations you use always make it sound as though this Recognition of Awareness is easy, and anyone and everyone should be able to simply BE there.

    Actually, my experience is that we already ARE there, and there is nothing we need to achive. The "problem" is that we just don't recognize it!

    That is, in fact, why the Buddha is reputed to have said that (1) his experience was unexcelled and complete -- precisely because nothing is added to our "ordinary" Awareness -- and (2) there is nothing we need to do -- except open our eyes.

    I don't mean to be cavalier here, or to be dismissive of how difficult this searching may sometimes seem to be.

    It is simply that, based upon my own experience, the searching is really the hard part, while relaxing into our innate Awareness is much easier than we ever imagined -- simply because this Awareness is who and what we already naturally are.

    In his book, The Dharma (p. 117-118), Kalu Rinpoche addresses
    this issue of how and why we overlook the "Open Secret" of our
    own  innate Awareness in his description of "The Four Faults" --
    the 4 reasons why we overlook the obvious nature of our own
    innate Awareness:
  • It is so close.
  • It is so simple.
  • It is so profound.
  • It is so excellent. This is part of the reason why I feel that the simplicity of recognizing this Awareness is such an important reminder for us all....

  • Question
    What is the objective of the mentoring process? Are you saying or implying that you will mentor someone into an experience of enlightenment?

    I see the mentoring process simply as a vehicle for reminding us of who and what we already are.

    It is also an opportunity to explore both the nature of Reality as
    it shows up within the present moment, and the experience of
  • What is it?
  • What does it "mean?" and
  • What are the implications of it, in terms of how we live our lives? Will this be a process of "mentoring someone into an experience of enlightenment?"
  • No, if enlightenment means acquiring or obtaining something that was not previously accessible.
  • Yes, if enlightenment means simply recognizing who/what we already are. My belief is that "enlightenment" is nothing more or other than an experiential Recognition of: (1) the completeness of the present moment, and (2) the relativity of all things.
  • In turn, the mentoring process is simply a reminder of this vast and limitless Reality lying behind and within the world of appearances.

    How is the mentoring process different from just dialoguing with a friend?

    Actually, I experience both processes quite differently. I can best explain this by saying that in talking and sharing with a friend, I am less challenging. I am much more likely simply to listen empathetically -- without questioning or challenging my the fundamental assumptions under which we operate.

    In contrast, the mentoring process, by its very nature, challenges our most deeply held belifs and assumptions, and I only enter into a mentoring relationship with another individual on the basis of explicit mutual consent. This is because the entire process gently tests and examines everything we assume to be true about ourselves and about the nature of Reality.

    However, the process also provides a rich and invaluable opportunity to explore the nature of our experience if/when these assumptions are finally released.

    In addition: in the Insight Mentoring process, I will intentionally direct the dialogue toward an exploration of "blind spots" and habituated patterns of limited perception and thinking -- and I will deliberately shift the focus of the conversation away from the "stories" we tell about our experience in order to enhance and deepen our recognition of the fundamental Identity-Awareness-Reality lying behind these tales.

    Are you in dialogue with someone to practice the Presence of the moment?

    Yes, if that is what they are interested in. More accurately, though, there is nothing to "practice." It is simply a matter of knowing where and how to look in order to Recognize this already present Presence.

    Are you in dialogue with someone to help them see where they may be blocking Awareness?

    Yes. But, rather that referring to it as "blocking Awareness," I prefer to describe this as confusing the "content of consciousness" with the our own innate "Background of Awareness."

    My experience is that Awareness is never blocked. It always remains clear and undisturbed -- within everyone.

    Are you in dialogue with someone to guide them on their journey through listening and feedback?

    A mentoree may experience the process as guidance along a journey, but my focus and intent is to discourage thinking in terms of a "journey" or a "search" since it is the search that distances us from a natural recognition of Reality as it is, here and now.

    And, yes, mentoring is a process of listening, reflecting and offering feedback.

    Do you set up goals with each person?

    No. Establishing goals is predicated upon a need, and an attempt, to obtain, accomplish or achieve something. This process is much more of an invitation simply to shift the focus of one's attention and perception toward a Recognition of the essential nature of Reality, within the present moment.

    Is there a structure to each mentoring session?

    We begin either with a question from you, or with a question from me -- whichever you prefer -- and the process unfolds from there. Except for this fairly standard starting structure, there is no other predictable pattern. I simply respond to queries, questions or concerns as they arise, and the mentoree shares his or her reflections, in turn.

    If I were a prospective client, how might I know what to expect?

    Since the process is different for everyone, it would be impossible for me to say what you should expect, in terms of a specific "outcome." Just as each of us has a completely unique perspective on Reality, each of us also experiences the mentoring dialogue in a unique way.

    The most that I could realistically predict would be what I, myself, would do: i.e., reflect upon your comments and questions based upon my own experience. The rest is open to you, and to what emerges in and through our interaction.

    I am still uncertain about the process. Do you have a general opening question? Or, do you simply move into a particular line of questioning?

    As I indicated above, if the mentee does not have
    a particular question, issue or concern, I usually
    start by asking:
  • What is it that you are searching for? -or-
  • What do you feel is missing from your experience?
  • Nearly everyone finds a way to work within this starting framework. In the few cases where there is not enough here to find a "hook" to use as a starting point, I simply explain that this process only works if the mentoree has something within his or her experience with which s/he is not fully satisfied. If the mentoree is completely happy, content and satisfied, then there is nothing I have to offer or add to what s/he already has and is....

    Were I to engage you for an online or phone session, would I prepare a few areas I wish to look at with you? How do you work this?

    Actually, I encourage people to come into this process without any advance preparation. I believe the process is much more effective if we go with what the mentee is feeling and experiencing in the moment. Advance preparation tends to take most of us into thinking about our experience, rather than allowing us to dive into the direct immediacy of the experience, itself.

    What are the differences you've found between email mentoring, chat sessions, phone sessions and mentoring face-to-face?

    Each approach has its own advantages and limitations. Email sessions allow for more flexibility in scheduling, and encourage a slower, more deliberate and more reflective exchange of ideas. Email sessions also not as expensive as phone sessions (which usually involve long-distance phone charges), and not as time consuming as chat sessions.

    In addition, email sessions include the added benefit of providing an easy and convenient way for me to share book references, quotations, URLs, and text excerpts from previously written materials.

    In contrast, chat and phone sessions allow for more of the intensity of a real-time connection, and of course, face-to-face and phone dialogues allow for more of the unique and rich chemistry of direct contact. This opportunity to interact, on an energetic level, is often fairly intense. I frequently feel this energy during the real-time sessions, and I think many mentees find this energy to be palpable, as well.

    In choosing a mentoring option, I usually prefer to trust the preferences of the mentee. However, please keep in mind: in those cases when either your or my time is at a premium, it may be easiest to fit in an email exchange around our other personal and professional commitments.

    Join in a mentoring dialogue with Metta

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