Monthly Archives: August 2014

The buzz-kill of an agenda: how agendas can short-circuit your journey.

As stated in my last blog post, I am doing a series of blog posts that point to and illustrate how life, and everything in it, is an experiment. What follows is experiment number one. Enjoy!



It’s a common experience to have agendas propelling certain actions. It’s useful to be aware of our agendas, because they can flavor the activity. The activity may become less enjoyable, for example, if there is a narrowly focused agenda, versus something more fluid. My agenda in exercising might be to lose weight. If I exercise only because of the agenda to loose weight, exercise may start to be less enjoyable. If I have a few agendas, or a broader agenda, such as to get outside, breath fresh air, explore the neighborhood, see the flowers, as well as loose weight, exercise may be experienced as more pleasant.

In short, our perceptions and thus our experiences are directly tied to our agendas.

With regard to inquiry or meditation[1], the agenda I bring to these activities will also flavor the experience. If I bring curiosity as my agenda, the experience will be quite different then if my agenda is of a more solid type. Some solid agendas may include: to fix a problem, feel better, be happy, get enlightened, feel at peace, and so on. Think of it this way: when you go to a new ice cream place with genuine curiosity the experience will be quite different than going to one with a set agenda. The agendas of, “I wonder what the ice cream is like here?, or “I wonder what the experience of tasting this ice cream will be like?” has a much different flavor (pardon the pun) than, “I want this ice cream to taste better than the last ice cream I ate”, or “ I want to get relief from eating this ice cream.” When you want something solid and specific from a restaurant, how you view the experience, and partake in it, is automatically going to influence your perception.

My experience is that when I approach something with curiosity, the solidity of whatever I’m experiencing starts to fall apart, all on it’s own. Where as if I sternly approach something, it stays solid, it can’t move- it can’t be any different because I’m bringing solidity to it to start with.

Which brings me back to the experience of inquiry and meditation. Try this out for yourself as experiment number one: come to inquiry with a specific agenda and see what happens. Then come to inquiry from a curious place, fully meeting the experience (thoughts, images and sensations) as they are. And see what that’s like[2].

This can extend to any experience, and any experiment that you are trying out in your life. If you are adding new things to your life, add to the experiment the curiosity factor. See what you notice when you have a curious agenda, versus when you have a more solid agenda. Please feel free to share your findings!

The third part of this series will be posted in about a week. I will present experiment number two, which focuses on breath, meditation, and curiosity. Stay tuned!




[1] I have a guided meditation for sale which employs the use of curious exploration. For more information, please email me at

[2] For what it’s worth, this isn’t always easy. The job of the facilitator is to help loosen the solidity that is often brought to a session by a client. So, if you find that this is particularly challenging, shoot me an email at and we’ll chat.

Life as an Experiment



In my reality tunnel, everything is an experiment. Every time we do something, we’re doing it in unique circumstances, and we don’t ever know for sure what will happen. Sometimes we do things over and over, and the outcome is remarkably similar to what has happened before. For example, we turn on the oven, and it gets hot. Other times we do something over and over, and one day something completely different happens. We turn on the oven, and nothing happens. We can’t control all variables, even though sometimes we think we can. Sometimes we become so dependent upon outcomes that we’re thrown into a whirlwind when the simplest of things do not happen, like in my oven example. It is at those times that we are reminded that life is indeed one big experiment, forever spontaneous.

I’m going to be doing a series of blogs that point to and illustrate how life, and everything in it, is an experiment. I invite you to play along and experiment with me. Expect my first experiment within a week.


In the mean time, notice that life, and your part in it, is a series of experiments. This may require you to put on your science goggles, slow down, and take the time to look at life as it’s happening. In the Living Inquiries, this happens organically, as a facilitator guides you through your thoughts, memories and sensations as they are surfacing in real time whilst in a place of mindfulness.

But you can do this on your own as well. Science experiments require noticing- so take the time to notice. Pay attention to the finest details, and then let your attention go bigger, incrementally, to the vastest noticing. Doing that is an experiment in and of itself, so notice how you experience that.

Pay attention to how your day typically goes. Notice the habits- how you routinely do things. Then consciously alter something in your day, in some small way, or in a larger way if you’d like. You can notice from a place of quiet mindful rest or amidst the busiest of moments. In my blog post “Lisa’s Breath”  I’ve listed some hints for how to notice what is already happening, from a place of rest. Here are some ideas for how to experiment amidst your busy day: Go to work using a different route. Order something different at your favorite restaurant. Sleep on the other side of the bed. Go out your back door instead of your front door. Listen to a different radio station. Go for a walk instead of watching a tv show. Watch a tv show instead of doing the dishes.

There is no right or wrong thing to do in experiment: it’s something done in order to discover something. And there is no right or wrong in what you discover. So notice whatever you notice, and enjoy the noticing. Feel free to let me know what you’re up to with your experiments, and what you notice!