The repetitive question technique is a powerful tool for self-discovery. Every serious explorer needs this for their spiritual toolbox.
The Repeating Question
The repetitive question is a powerful technique of personal discovery. It is a versatile technique for inner work. Clinicians use this exercise in regression therapy. We use it in with many processes of spiritual exploration. You’ll find used with in the following processes:
Repetitive questioning gets below our superficial automatic responses. It drills down to the core thinking patterns, values, and beliefs. It enables us to get through the filters created by the Ego and our cultural programming. Both of these mechanisms create pre-programmed responses to perception. Repetitive questioning helps us get through these filters.
This process works best with two people. One person asks the same question over and over, giving the other time to come up with a different answer. When the mind is given the same question multiple times it helps us search for authentic answers. The basic ground rules for this exercise are to be patient. Remain non-judgemental and maintain total confidentiality.
The Ultimate Inner Work Technique
The repeating question technique is simple. With a partner, you sit facing each other. Your partner asks and you answer. You jot down a few keywords to help you remember your answer. Then your partner asks again.
The person asking the questions needs to be patient and wait for the answer. They also need to be non-judgemental. They should remain as emotionally neutral as possible. Try to be neutral with body language. Don’t cross arms or legs. Do not encourage or discourage any answer. In fact, it is better not to respond verbally to the answer. Just wait for the other person to document anything, then repeat the question.
It is best to do this exercise in 5-minute increments. Then document your answers. Contemplate on the data. If it brings up powerful emotions, use the emotional check process.
One question for 5 minutes seems like a long time, but once you get started, time goes quickly. When you start you’ll give superficial answers. As you keep asking the same question, you will discover core truths. It will pull up some interesting data about your memories and the emotions attached to them.
- Give honest answers
- Don’t say things you want the other person to hear
- It’s best to work with someone you don’t know well
- Each time they give you the question, think of a new answer
When you use the repeating question on your own, set a timer, be honest. Repeat the question out loud, don’t just repeat it in your head. You will probably need to do this exercise at least for 5 minutes to get to anything meaningful.
It’s important to realize this exercise can bring up repressed memories and feelings. This is why we suggest using the emotional check process. If you are doing back-to-back sessions use it between to maintain emotional equilibrium. This is serious inner work tool for personal discovery. Sometimes it can become emotionally unsettling.
Some people find that it also yields better results if once you’ve done this exercise a few times. The more you do it, the easier it is to get past your programmed answers.
Examples of Repeating Questions
Here is the list of repeating questions we recommend for identifying significant memories. You can tailor this list to fit any psychological or spiritual topic.
- Tell me about a memory that always makes you happy.
- Tell me about a memory that always makes you sad.
- What is the oldest memory you have, how does it make you feel?
- Tell me about a memory you associate with hate.
- Tell me about a memory you associate with love.
- What are the memories of childhood that bring you the most joy?
- Tell me about a memory you associate with nature.
- Tell me about a memory you associate with family.
- What memories bring up the emotion of fear?
Inner work involves personal discovery. This is the ultimate journey. The repeating question is a powerful technique. So use it with proper care. If you are doing it on your own try it for 5 minutes and wait. Sometimes this technique will stir up powerful emotions. Be sure to be familiar with the emotional checking process so you can deal with things positively.
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Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia