Some people say there is no practice that does not
reinforce the Ego. They are the No Teaching, No Guru,
No Practice crew. They maintain that self realization
just happens and there is nothing you or anyone else
can do to make it happen faster, make it happen at all,
or even prevent it.
Others say that there are many, many Practices, and
when these are done the Ego will be gradually weakened
and fall apart at which time you become self realized.
Yet others, like Eckhart Tolle, say "You need
time until you realise that you do not need time",
which loosely translated means that a Spiritual Practice
is fine, until you realise that you do not need one.
Ramana Maharshi says the only 'practice' you can actually
'do' that does not reinforce the 'me' is to look for
the 'me' itself. He says that all 'practices' other than
that reinforce the belief in the 'me' and perpetuate
the suffering. This is because they take for granted
the belief in the 'me' which is supposed to carry out
the practice itself. ('Be As You Are' compiled by David
Seeing who you really are is not a Practice at all
- it is the pure seeing of itself by your own essential
nature. That occurs only in the immediacy of the present
moment where there is no past or future - only this instant.
Bob Adamson says that not knowing who we really are
opens the door to us 'believing' anything that the mind
comes up with on the subject of our nature.
We do too. We have been believing anything at all for
years and years, and these beliefs have been woven into
the conceptual 'me', the one who we think we are. The
self-image, the reference point.
Rather than saying "Who am I?" - it is far
better, in my direct experience, to investigate whether
this personal sense-of-self exists at all?
Asking "Who Am I?" can be taken to assume
the existence of something, about which we now only need
to establish the details.
Asking "Does it exist at all?" cuts right
to the root of the matter as it does not already assume
its existence - it investigates that belief.
In the immediacy of the present moment whenever there
is suffering or 'me' centered thoughts, you can carry
out the inquiry.
Specifically the Self-Inquiry looks at the thoughts
that refer to a 'me'. The question is - does that 'me'
- Does it, the 'me', exist at all?
- If the 'me' appears to exists - where is
- Can I find it? Where is the 'me' located?
- Where does it start and where does it end?
- Does the 'me' have any substance to it?
Is there anything more to it than the content
- Does the 'me' have any awareness in its
own right - separate from the Awareness that
- Can you find anything that you can point
to and say "This is me"?
- If I can find the 'me', then who is aware
- Is there anything separate from the Aliveness
that I feel?
Doing this is not a one-shot wonder and is not rote.
You will probably come up with your own questions. We
have been believing in the 'me' hundreds of times a day
for years. This is quite a habit. Quite a habit to see
Initially there will be plenty of things to look at
where the reference to the 'me' is obvious. Things like "Why
did you do that to 'me'?" and "No-one is taking
notice of 'me'". You look at each of these to see
if the 'me' that is referred to actually exists in any
way other than as the content of thought.
After a while you will probably see the thoughts that
refer to a 'me' and immediately look and find that there
is no 'me' there.
Thoughts with a 'me' in them will be noticed as they
happen - and seen through as they occur.
This is a looking in the immediacy of now - each time
is unique and alive.
You will notice subtle or oblique references to a 'me'
where it is not obvious, but nevertheless the 'me' is
assumed to exist. This is very interesting, and quite
exciting as you actually SEE what has been happening
all these years. Each one is an identification with thought.
Seeing that is incredible.
Doing the investigation whenever something comes up
is the way to go. (only takes a minute or a few seconds,
once you get the hang of it).
Ramana Maharshi said
"Self-enquiry .... should continue throughout
one’s waking hours, irrespective of what one is
doing. Sri Ramana saw no conflict between working and
self-enquiry and he maintained that with a little practice
it could be done under any circumstances. "
The 'feeling' associated with the suffering may
hang around for awhile, or disappear immediately, but that
does not matter as there is space around it now. There
is no identification with it - any 'me' in it has been
seen to be a falsity.. The 'feeling' very often changes
from a type of suffering to something sensual - quite amazing
- and nice too !!
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