Monday, March 26, 2007

A Deeper Look at Inquiry

For years I have spoken on, and written, about Self Inquiry, but I'd like
to make a clearer distinction.

There are two basic facets of Self Inquiry: 1. The direct recognition of
Self, and 2. The letting go, or deconstructing of that which is NOT the
Self, specifically, the beliefs.

1. The direct recognition can best be described through the teachings of
Ramana (the inquiry "Who am I?) or Nisargadatta's abiding as 'I Am'. The
consistent and continuous practice of these methods, point us directly at
that which precedes our thoughts and beliefs. It is the discrimination
between what is sat and asat, or real and unreal, or permanent and
impermanent. The focus of attention is not on the objects of awareness, but
on the recognition that You ARE the awareness itself, without bounds or
constrictions - formless. Generally, in going through this process, we
'drop' into this recognition, realize our freedom, and for moments, hours,
or even days, there is just what IS.

However, what occurs is that the mind, ever present, pops up in the form of
beliefs, and our attention is pulled away from the Now and into some past
or future idea. This is where the second aspect of Self Inquiry comes in..

2. What we are NOT. This second aspect can also be done on it's own or in
conjunction, so to speak, with the resting as what IS. This part can best
be described as Jed McKenna's Spiritual Autolysis, or Byron Katie's 'The
Work'. It consists of systematically deconstructing our beliefs. It works
best by actually looking at, and writing down, what you consider to be
true, and then questioning whether, in fact, it is true. In the case of
Byron Katie's work, she asks 4 questions: Is it true? Do I absolutely know
it to be true? How do I feel when I believe this thought? And, Who would I
be without this thought? The answer to this leads to the same answer as
the direct inquiry - i.e. perfect freedom and total abidance as what is.

We are defined by our beliefs. We suffer due to believing our thoughts are
true. They are just thoughts, they arise, but they are NOT who we are.
Every time we believe a thought, we are bound by that thought. The inquiry
and resting as Who we are instantly takes us into the pure recognition of
Now, however, the systematic and complete destruction of our belief habits
will make that transition smoother and quicker.

Unfortunately, for most people, since they define themselves by their
beliefs, deconstructing those beliefs, is equivalent to dying. That's
exactly right. So, one has to decide - do you want to know (be) Truth, or
to continue to suffer by believing those thoughts?