I am reasonably sure that no language in the world allows the kind of query that FIML practice is based on.
The reason for this probably lies in the origins of human language and culture, a developmental period during which languages were much simpler and were used mainly to indicate real things in the world or give commands.
At later stages of development, language became a tool of whatever hierarchy prevailed in the moment. To this day, Confucianism is still a rule book for hierarchies.
That said, languages are always potentially very supple, so there is no need for humans today to be restricted by archaic forms of speech and thought.
And that said, it is important to understand that your psychology has been deeply conditioned by the archaic and hierarchical cores of your language.
I bring this up because this side of human psychology makes it difficult for people to do FIML practice correctly.
To the speaker, the basic FIML query will instinctively feel like nagging, being petty, being whiny. To the hearer, this basic query will instinctively feel like a challenge, an insult, an affront.
These basic instincts must not be allowed to block FIML inquiries. Personally, I believe FIML has not been discovered before because no one ever went beyond these basic instinctive reactions.
So, expect to feel affronted and expect to feel like a petty nag, at least for a while. With practice, these feelings will go away. At the same time, the importance of the information gained through FIML queries will become increasingly obvious.
Once the hierarchical cultural and linguistic instincts that have developed in us, and upon which our psychologies depend, have been overcome, a new use of language will become possible.
This new language is capable of sufficient micro subtlety to allow us to objectively observe how our minds and psychologies actually function in real-time real-life situations.
No theory of psychology and no amount of introspection will take you to the actual data of how you function. Only FIML practice can do that.
first posted SEPTEMBER 30, 2017
UPDATE 12/24/22: All woke complaints about hierarchies, patriarchies, whiteness, or any group identity are deeply flawed because they are missing the deepest underlying point: All language and psychology is fundamentally hierarchical, even authoritarian. When woke or communists or others rail against one hierarchy only to replace it with another one, they are playing a destructive shell game with social organization, never escaping the foundations of their own identities. Rather than making things better, they only make them worse.
In Buddhism as in American and Western civilization, the individual has the unalienable right to be free as freedom is the essence of the True Mind or the soul created by God. At the same time, individuals also have the responsibility to conduct themselves ethically, honorably, wisely. When we focus on group identities or, worse, gender identities, we massively limit linguistic and psychological options to core instincts that are well-known to generate anger, lust, hatred, resentment, pride, ignorance, violence, doubt. The Buddha said, “Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others.” And, “Do not look for a sanctuary in anyone except yourself.” And, “Nothing can harm you as much as your own thoughts unguarded.” And, “What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow: Our life is the creation of our mind.” To be properly mindful in today’s world, you have to be mindful at the individual level of your own use and misuse of language in real-time. “We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.” ABN