At the end of Huston Smith's autobiography, Tales of Wonder, he describes an experience his friend Ann Jauregui had as a young girl in Michigan:
In summer she would lie on a wooden raft anchored in the bay, listening to the the waters lapping, drowsy in the warm sunshine. The warm day, the clear northern light, and the water's gentle motion together worked a semi-hypnotic effect.
Then suddenly Ann would snap alert and feel intensely alive, or rather that everything was alive and that she was part of it. The rocks, the water itself - everything seemed pulsating with a kind of energy. She found she put questions to the experience. 'What is my role in all this,' she whispered. 'Show me.'
The rocks, the trees, the water - all in silent chorus 'answered' - not in words, of course - that the wanting to know, just that, was her part in the pulsating landscape.
'Creation delights in the recognition of itself', is how she would later put it.
Inquiry (called vichara in Sanskrit, the language of yoga) is the posing of questions to the Self/Spirit. It is an initial step on the way into Self-realisation or Self-recognition.
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi recommends asking the simple question: 'am I the Spirit?'
As meditation deepens, there is less need for Self-inquiry (atmavichara) - at least in words - and the thoughtless awareness state of nirvichara (without inquiry) is established.