The Boomerang Inquiry

*Photo Shlomi Nissim


The Boomerang Inquiry is designed to penetrate through the belief in being deficient.

The deficiency story is like a false script, a fundamental lie about who we really are that we carry around, from childhood into adulthood.  It’s directly related to the belief in being a separate person.  In reality, there isn’t a deficient, separate self; we just believe that there is.

The deficient self comes in many forms:  unlovable self, weak self, powerless self, inadequate self, unacknowledged self, abandoned self, invalid self, unimportant self, or some other version of the story, “I’m not good enough” or “There is something wrong with me.”


Relationship Is a Mirror

Before explaining how the Boomerang Inquiry works, let’s look at relationship.  Relationship has a built-in mirroring effect.  As we move through life, other people appear to reflect back to us this core deficient self.  When the deep wound that lies at its heart is triggered, we experience pain and suffering.  This lie hurts, and it is responsible for much of the difficulty that we experience in relationships.  If the pain gets too much, we may find ourselves trying to avoid it, blame others for it, or medicate it.  We have a tendency to believe that others are the source of the pain.  But others are just a mirror showing us what we believe about ourselves.

Here are a few signs indicating that the deficiency story has been activated in relationship:

  • Insisting on being right and making others wrong
  • Seeking love, praise, attention, acknowledgement, or approval from others
  • Comparing ourselves to others as better or worse
  • Belittling, ridiculing, or bullying others
  • Trying to control or manipulate others
  • Recoiling in the face of conflict out of fear when it would be more authentic to speak our minds
  • Judging others negatively or complaining about them
  • Expressing anger and other emotions in unhealthy, destructive ways
  • Alienating ourselves and avoiding certain painful relationships
  • Acting on selfish ambition
  • Suppressing painful emotions and not expressing how we really feel
  • Feeling jealous or envious of others


Much of this mind activity comes from being afraid to look directly at who we have falsely taken ourselves to be.  The others in our lives are constantly mirroring this illusion of a core deficient self back to us.

If you look, the mirroring effect is happening in every direction.  Having a view of others as successful often mirrors back an unsuccessful self.  When a loved one does not respond to you in the way you expected, or a romantic relationship ends, this often mirrors back an unlovable self.  Attractive people may mirror back an unattractive self.  People who look important in the world may mirror back an unimportant self, or an unworthy self.  When someone judges or criticizes you, this may mirror back a self that feels wrong.  When others appear arrogant or authoritative, this may reflect back a weak, insignificant, or small self.  If others appear powerful, you may feel less powerful or powerless.

It’s not just other people.  Anything can reflect deficiency back to you.  An addiction to a drug or problems with money, mirror back a self that is lacking.  Past events may reflect that you are currently a victim.  Future things like enlightenment, recovery, and self-improvement may point back to a self that seems presently incomplete.

It’s not always just a simple play of opposites.  The outer circumstances in your life, no matter what they are, generally reflect something back about how you view your self.  If outer circumstances appear inadequate, you may also experience yourself as inadequate.  The point is that the inner and the outer are one, no matter how you slice it.  Whatever seems to appear “out there” reflects, in some way, what appears “in here”—in the self identity.

In its most basic sense, pointing outward at others through the mirror of relationship means looking to people and things outside ourselves for our self-esteem.  All this outward pointing leaves us blind to what we believe about ourselves.  It’s that blindness that is doing all the outward pointing and seeking.





How the Boomerang Inquiry Works

  1. Use the mirror. Whenever you are triggered in relationship, find out what deficiency story this person or thing is mirroring back to you.
  2. Name it. Give the deficient self a specific name (e.g., unlovable self, unfulfilled self, lacking self, incomplete self, broken self, unsuccessful self, unsafe self or invalid self).
  3. Find it. Try to find this deficient self, using the UI.


You can see that the Boomerang Inquiry is very similar to the Unfindable Inquiry found in the e-book Living Realization; it simply adds a new first step—using the mirror of relationship to find out what you believe about yourself.  Just keep in mind that the Boomerang Inquiry applies whenever you are investigating how something outside yourself seems to bring up your sense of deficiency.


The Boomerang Inquiry: An Example


Tricia: My husband, Brian, triggers me almost every day.  I catch him looking at other women.  I notice that he doesn’t listen to me and this really bothers me.  I’ve tried talking to him about emotions, but he can’t talk about them.  He says I’m overreacting to everything.

Scott: In those moments when you catch him looking at other women, how do you feel about yourself?

Tricia: Ugly.  I feel like I’m not good enough for him.

Scott: How about the times when he isn’t listening to you, or doesn’t want to talk about the things you wish to talk about?

Tricia: I feel as if he is shutting me out and that hurts.

Scott: Now name the deficient self.  If you could reduce this whole story about how he makes you feel to one specific kind of deficient self, what would it be?  Reduce it down to something that really feels like you at the core.

Tricia: I’m unlovable.  That sums it up completely.

Scott: Now find it.  Try to find that unlovable self.  Relax and just notice the capacity to be aware of thoughts coming and going.  Look right at the words, “I’m unlovable.”  Are those words you—the unlovable self?  If it helps, you can imagine putting those words in a picture frame in your mind, to really isolate them so you can look directly at them.

Tricia: Let me take a moment.  Are the words, “I’m unlovable” me?  Yes, that’s me.  That’s how I feel about myself.

Scott: When words feel like who you are, it just means some emotion or sensation is arising along with the words.  But the emotion or sensation is unconscious.  In other words, you aren’t directly aware of it.  Take a moment, bring attention into your body, and see what emotion or sensation is arising.

Tricia: Sadness.

Scott: Look right at the word, “sadness.”  Frame it.  Is that you—the unlovable self?

Tricia: No, that’s clearly just a word.

Scott: Let that word fall away and bring attention back into your body.  Can you feel the energy that you are calling sadness?  Not the word sadness, but the actual energy in your body?

Tricia: Yes.

Scott: Take a moment and just notice that you are presently aware of that energy, without a name for it.  Gently observe that energy.  Is that energy you—the unlovable person?

Tricia: Yes, that’s me.

Scott: Whenever an emotion or sensation feels like you, it just means there are some words or mental pictures arising along with it.  If you just take a moment and look into your mind, what words or pictures are arising along with that energy?

Tricia: The words, “I’ve always had this problem with men.”

Scott: Look right at those words.  Are those words you—the unlovable self?

Tricia: Those are just words.  When I looked at them, they fell away.

Scott: Bring attention back into your body.  Do you feel that energy still?

Tricia: Yes.

Scott: Look again at that energy, without labeling it.  Just let all words and pictures come to rest.  Observe.  Is that energy you?

Tricia: No, that’s just energy.  And it dissolved as soon as those words dissolved.

Scott: Bring up a memory of the last time Brian was not listening to you and you felt hurt.

Tricia: That’s not hard.  He did it this morning.

Scott: Look directly at that mental picture of you talking this morning, while he is not listening.  Frame it, if that helps.  Is that picture you?

Tricia: No, that’s just a memory.  It’s not me.

Scott: Look at the words, “He looks at other women.”  Are those words you—the unlovable person?  Stick to yes or no.  Don’t elaborate.

Tricia: No.

Scott: How about, “He doesn’t listen to me and this bothers me?”

Tricia: No.

Scott: Just rest as awareness, and scan the space of your inner body.  Let any thought, emotion, or sensation arise naturally.  Where is the unlovable person?  Can you find her?

Tricia: I don’t know what you mean.

Scott: You have come to me saying that you are an unlovable person.  I assume that this is who you have taken yourself to be for many years, right?

Tricia: Yes, since childhood.

Scott: If this is really who you are, shouldn’t you be able to find that unlovable person right now?  When a child is looking for an Easter egg, she is not ambivalent about what she is looking for.  Either she spots it or she doesn’t.  If there is an unlovable person sitting with me here right now, can you point me to her?

Tricia: Yes, it’s me.

Scott: Are the words, “It’s me” the unlovable self?

Tricia: Ha ha, no!  Just words.

Scott: Look for the unlovable person.

Tricia: It seems to be in my name.

Scott: Look directly and only at the word “Tricia.”  Is that the unlovable person?

Tricia: No, but it seems to point to her.

Scott: Find the unlovable person that’s right here.  Not just words pointing to her.  Find HER.

Tricia: I can’t.  Wait, yes, I can.  I see the thought, “I know he loves me but I don’t feel it.”

Scott: Are those words you, the unlovable person?

Tricia: Well, intellectually, I know they are just words.  But there is sadness arising again.

Scott: Bring your attention into the body to feel that energy without words and pictures.  Is that energy you?

Tricia: No.  I cannot find the unlovable me at all.  I’m now just sitting here in peace, feeling totally free of that story.  I can see the memory of my dad.  He was cold.  But when I look right at that picture, I can see it’s not me, the unlovable person.  Wait, there’s a picture in my mind of me as a ten year old girl.  That’s the unlovable me.

Scott: Is that picture of the girl you, the unlovable self?

Tricia: I can see it’s just a picture.  I went straight into the body to feel the energy of sadness and it washed through.  No, it’s not me.  Wow, I’ve been in this story for a long time.  I can’t find her, the unlovable self.

Scott: Take a look at Brian again in your mind.  Does the sense that you are an unlovable person arise when you look at him?  Is the boomerang at work again?

Tricia: No, he looks perfect just as he is.  I can see I love him.  Actually, it’s more than that.  It’s just love.  I don’t feel like it’s missing.  This was just a story I was placing on him.  Thank you, thank you.  This is as clear as day now.  I feel so much lighter!

Scott: Yes, and when the story is, “I’m unlovable,” we believe others contain our love, withholding it from us.

Tricia: What a cruel joke!




Like a boomerang, Tricia has sent the message out that she feels like an unloved person.  She’s played the part, and spoken the language of an unloved person.  She has consistently reacted to Brian from that belief about herself, interpreting his actions as unloving.  Whether Brian’s actions have been objectively unloving makes no difference to Tricia’s story.  The interpretation was happening in Tricia’s mind.  The boomerang of, “I’m unloved” came right back to Tricia.

When we believe we are deficient at the core, there is an unconscious drive within us to attract people and situations that confirm that story.  We repeat the same pattern in our relationships.  We continually interpret the actions of others according to that story.  We may even unconsciously sabotage relationships.  In these ways, we solidify the story over and over, until that deficient self is seen through.

Notice that, near the end, Scott asked Tricia to look again at Brian, once she couldn’t find the unlovable person.  When she looked at him, she no longer felt that trigger.  The deficient self was seen through.  The old script of, “I’m an unlovable person” was no longer operating.  Once that story is seen to be unfindable, love is seen to be our true nature.  We naturally stop throwing the boomerang out because the story of deficiency is absent.  Others cannot return what we no longer throw out to them.


  • Are you are interested in doing this Boomerang Inquiry in a Private Session?
  • I also recommend you read the Living Realization text before meeting with me. The text helps tremendously in giving you context for the Boomerang Inquiry.
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