Tuesday, 4 January 2011

“Who Am I”– Self Enquiry

Who Am I is a meditation based on self-enquiry for attaining enlightenment which is closely associated with the Indian Sage Sri Ramana Maharishi.

I’ve been meditating on the question of “Who Am I?” and from my personal experiences I have come to believe that “The Self” is none other than Source or God.

In the past when I was meditating on the question of “Who Am I?” I always found it difficult to perceive an answer to the question as I found it impossible to answer. I would begin by asking myself Who Am I? and then this would be followed by more questions: Am I The Body? Am I The Mind? Am I My Thoughts? Am I My Emotions? Am I My Feelings? And there would come a point where I could no longer go any further with the questions as I felt like I had hit a brick wall.

Usually meditation teachers will tell you that obstacles are not distractions to the meditation; they are the meditation. And so blocks aren’t blocks to creativity. They are the creativity. The blocks arise for a reason but regardless you need to persevere on the spiritual path.

By continually asking yourself Who Am I? I have feelings, but I am not those feelings. I have thoughts, but I am not those thoughts. So then Who Am I? I have desires, but I am not those desires. Paying attention to the technique, you may realize that thoughts appear out of nowhere – out of empty space thoughts miraculously appear. But there is a further line of enquiry which I must ask myself: Where did that thought come from? Who is thinking those thoughts? Thoughts appear spontaneously, they seem to be transitory and are always fleeting. And as soon as one thought arises and disappears, another thought arises.

With the “Who Am I?” meditation you push back into the source of your awareness – the witness.

But then people usually make a rather unfortunate mistake with regards to self-enquiry. They think that if they rest in the Self or Witness, they may see something special, or feel something special – see something spiritual. But you won’t see anything.  And if you see something, then, that is just another object – another feeling, another thought, another image. But all those are objects; those are not what you really are.

Now as you rest in the witness – realizing, I am not feelings, I am not thoughts, I am not desires. You will notice a sense of freedom, a sense of liberation,  a sense of release – release from identifying with the body, mind and ego. All of which are objects that can be seen, and thus are not the true seer, the real self, the pure witness, which is what you really are.

So you won’t see anything in particular. Whatever arising is fine. Clouds float by in the sky, feelings float by in the body, thoughts float by in the mind – you can effortlessly witness all of these, just observe them. They all appear effortlessly. And this witness is not really seen. It is just a vast background of Emptiness, Openness and Freedom.

Through this method of self-enquiry and attentiveness it may begin to dawn on you that there is a source within you that is far deeper and more mysterious than you originally thought.