“But Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out”
1 Timothy 6: 6-
You came into your body with no-
Who am I?
Self Enquiry is an ancient practice embraced by Hinduism in the Bhavagad Gita and there are references in The Bible. A revival of interest was seen in the 20th century with the work of Sri Ramana Maharshi and H L Poonja (Papaji). Since then Self Enquiry has become very popular with an increasing number of exponents who, sadly, enmesh this simple but radical practice in ever-
My purpose in this short paper is to address this and provide a simple, verbiage-
Whilst in Vermont a few years ago I was given a fridge magnet on which was written these words: “Barn’s burnt down. Now I can see the moon.” From your first day in your body you are conditioned, educated and socialised. As your life progresses walls are built around you, an ever-
The first part of your journey becomes a “meditation game” in which you focus your attention on those things that you are not:
I am not That – My beliefs, the possessions I have, the job I do, the relationship I am in, the religion I follow, the status I seek, my education, my desires and fears, the emotions I feel, the expectations placed upon me and the body I live in.
Mind and ego drive you to be what you are not, convince you that you are these things and create dependencies which seem difficult, often impossible, to break.
Gradually in this process the walls begin to crumble, the chains loosen and the layers of conditioning and learning fall away. A sense of lightness and liberation begin to arise alongside one of fear and apprehension: if you continue with this process of chopping away just what will remain?
This takes you to the next stage of your journey, to the Practice, one drawn from the Self Enquiry teachings and which I have summarised to give easy access. It is a Practice that can be done anywhere, in any situation and with any thought, felt emotion or feeling. No special ritual or equipment is required. There is no time scale since you will take however long you need – days, months, years or many life times! Practiced daily it becomes a way of being used instinctively when the need arises. This is the Practice:
Go to a place where you will not be disturbed. Be quiet for a moment and with eyes closed focus on your breathing. Look within; take your time; no need to hurry…..
Become the witness to your thoughts, feelings, fears and doubts as they arise. Go to the source and ask: who is anxious, doubtful, fearful, who thinks that……? I am, me….Then ask the question – “Who am I?”
Remain with the question resisting the urge to answer through mind. Simply remain with the question quietly, effortlessly. As the mind quietens an awareness blossoms and answers arise from within you. The question itself “Who am I?” becomes the stick poking the fire that consumes untruth, false identification, fear, doubt and all the accumulated baggage of mind and memory that has been your story to this point
Ultimately the question itself is thrown onto the fire no longer required as True Self, that which I Am, is realised.
“To know who you are you need to disappear!” Papaji once said to a devotee. The barn needs to burn down before you can see the moon! The barn you have built over the years you have spent in your body is packed full of garbage, of stuff once needed but no longer useful. That day will come when this is realised and you will confine it all to the fire feeling a sense of liberation and freedom the like of which you have never experienced before.
It must be remembered however that Self Enquiry is not an intellectual exercise. The Practice can be learned by the mind but can only be understood through experience and application. As life is lived and experiences thrown in your path you will be given many opportunities to follow the Practice, to look within yourself as you ask the question: “Who am I?”
The answer rests within. Truth is for you to find as you look inwards quietly, effortlessly. Trusting that this is so is the key that opens the door that is itself an illusion.
Self Enquiry is self sufficiency. No qualifications are required, no special uniform, no travelling to far-
You are worthy and you are ready. Now is the time!