HUNTING THE I AGAIN-AMENDED AT 8 P.M.
Many who are attracted to Advaita or Buddhism do so because of the rich intellectual traditions of both. But this is a trap. Your mind is not your friend as Robert used to say. You can't "figure your way out" of the conceptual prison that your mind has created. The mind cannot "see" outside the mind. Freedom can come only when you leave the entire conceptual framework behind.
U.G. Krishnamurti used to say something to that effect also. I think the quote goes, "Mind is not the instrument..." to find freedom.
Rinzai Zen was invented to confuse and perplex that mind so that "TRUTH" of No-Mind could peak through the conceptual map of mind. The koan was meant to bring all thinking to a dead halt, and encourage a no mind solution to the koan or any life problem.
Robert also used to say that you have no freedom whatsoever except to turn inwards. All is predetermined except for your ability to escape from the illusion by turning inward and begin to find the witness.
Everything in this blog and the not real website is aimed to turn you away from any kind of teachings, and towards advice on attaining freedom by turning inwards. Then it is all so simple.
I usually avoid referring to the work of Michael Langdon because I believe his method of Awareness Watching Awareness is incomplete, it does not impact the personal level of I Am, and any emptiness and Samadhi states attained will not be permanent, but will be undermined by unhealed defects in the ego structure.
However, the first few chapters of his book are wonderful as he shows how 99.9% of all seekers avoid attaining freedom because the ego undermines all spiritual efforts by creating questions, doubts and speculations that destroy the effectiveness of any spiritual practice.
In fact, a defective ego does the same thing to the person in everyday life by undermining any effective focus and action with doubt, "what ifs," "should I's," and useless speculations.
He is entirely right that effective practice requires perseverance, focus, and lots of timely dedication. It also requires a belief in yourself and in the method of introspection and self-inquiry. That comes with practice.
Look at it this way, how long does it take a person, even with great talent to become a professional tennis player or baseball player? A week, a month, a year? No, it takes years of training.
Now the mind is even more subtle than the body, and the training can take even longer. So don't give up when you have failed to find an I Am that is stable after just a fews days or weeks or months of practice. If you are not finding it, try something else.
The belief in yourself will come when you begin to have results. But it takes time, patience, and intelligence.
Try something different. If you have been looking into yourself with your "visual" sense, looking into the blank void, stop it. Instead, probe inside yourself with your tactile or emotional sense. That is, "look" with your feelings for your sense of being, not with a visual sense concentrated on the clear void.
That is, be intelligent and increasingly subtle. Watch what you feel and see. Try effort, then try no effort. Try asking who am I, then ask "Where am I." Feel for your heart center. Feel in your abdomen. "Look" inside your head, feel for the background to fall back into. Be creative be intelligent.
You need to recognize that the way you have been proceeding now has failed due to doubts and too mch thinking, self-arguing, arguing with the teachings OR METHOD. There is a constant fightING BY THE EGO (WHICH ONLY APPEARS TO EXIST) to avoid effective practice that will kill the ego. So be subtle and creative.
Just look a many of the questions from seekers posted on this blog. Some oppose the teachings, find contradictions in them, question apparent contradictions between what Ramana said at one time and Nisargadatta said at another, or what I wrote three years ago to one student, versus what I write now to another student in an entirely different situation.
These are desperate acts of the ego to find a reason not to meditate or introspect. These doubts are all on the level of mind, and nothing deep or liberating will happen on this level.
Others complain they can't find the I Am sense and become desperate and ask what they should do. I always say, read the Nisargadatta Gita every morning, read chapters 7 and 8 of the Path of Sri Ramana, read Hunting the I, and continue to practice. You will not learn how to hit a .400 in a few weeks, and what you are trying to accomplish--finding total freedom--is far more rare than becoming a .400 hitter.
Really, it is all so easy: Just turn your attention around and find the I Am sense, or the I Thought, or the witness. Do this for five or ten years and watch what happens. If you are lucky you will reach freedom in three years as did Nisargadatta, or 27 years as it took me because I got distracted so many times, or when I was practicing, I had the wrong instructions.
Or, maybe you will never go free, like 99.9% of seekers who get exhausted and who become discouraged after a few months or years. Yet just the correct practice of abiding in the I-sense brings great happiness.
Don't expect instant success.