11 October 2012

Incorrect and Correct Self-Inquiry

When you practice self-inquiry incorrectly, all that you will find is emptiness, the void, the vast, internal, self-effulgent space that I call the imaginal realm.  This is the area that Buddhism makes a big deal about, forms and emptiness are equal phenomenally, as appearances.

For example, you ask the question, “Who am I?” and begin “looking” inside that internal imaginal space, the self-lighted Void for an I-entity, for me.  You will never find it.  There is no internal I-object at all, anywhere.

The same is true when you ask, “Who has this thought”?, or “Who feels this emotion”?  There is no “Who” as an entity.  What will happen though is through the process of inner “looking,” that "your" internal space will grow larger and larger, spreading throughout one’s  internal and external world and "presence" until the inner light and space are the same to you as the external light of the sun and of lamps, and the same as the external space that contains the world.  

Then one day, you see that the inner and outer world are the same, and you experience Oneness for the first time.  No I anywhere and no division between internal and external.

However, this is hardly even a beginning.  This is not awakening.  This is grasping directly the oneness of form and emptiness, and the identity of internal and external.  This is the initial insight of Zen and not the end.

For now you will realize there is "something" observing all this, "someone" who has attained an understanding of oneness, someone who both witnesses the oneness of all phenomena, but also who has knowledge of that oneness.

This knowingness principle is the subject, the I as not-entity, not-object, but an ability to know, to be aware, to be conscious, and as such is beyond consciousness.  This principle, this ability to know, this ability to be aware lies ontologically before the knowing and the known.

Once you “know” this, you no longer search for an I-entity, but deeper, for that which lies before awareness, before  consciousness itself.

It is at this point you enter a area of complete mystery, and yet where your sense of self seems of come alive.  You feel as if you are coming home to rest at the deepest level of yourself.

Operationally, as a method, you try to fall backwards into yourself, into the observer, and you do that until your mind disappears altogether, and then you are the Self of all. You do not become the self of all, you realize you are the Self just as you are. You have arrived home.  You realize that until this point you have been searching for an existential entity as the self, but, in fact, YOU DO NOT EXIST!!! YOU ARE PRIOR TO EXISTENCE, its creator and sustainer.


  1. WOW- i can feel that!! and it feels very "real" thx!

    //Then one day, you see that [inner] and outer world are the same, and you experience Oneness for the first time. //

  2. "Once you “know” this, you no longer search for an I-entity, but deeper, for that which lies before awareness, before consciousness itself."

    having known this, when i meditate, its as if nothing is happening. no void, no space, no nothing, just this "prior-ness" that feels like who i am. not very exciting because that seems to be the end of it. technically the void and the space are still there, in front of me, and sometimes they do interesting things, but for the most part, i dont pay any attention to the foreground.

    in addition, its so simple to go behind that the need for meditation seems to dissipate. i can rest as the background during any of my daily activities. the question then is, why don't I so much of the time, and why do i still seek some further "knowing"?

  3. Robert's recommendation to enquire into "to whom do these thoughts/feelings come" seems most useful to me -- especially when primed with reading from Nisargadatta (as per your suggestion).

  4. But Edj , You are the self !!!
    it is so much easy for me to see and feel you everywhere as the self and make my mind completely wide from others things , just rest in that marvellous feeling ...
    if i remember well , it is Krishna in the baghava gita who was telling that we have only to fill up our mind with his presence to know a divine birth .
    i feel it is working very well with your presence !!! my mind and my heart are becoming very pacified and opening more and more like wide space !
    i love you !

  5. it happened a very strange thing yesterday ... i was going across a great place in my town and suddenly i saw a car ,a woman was shouting againt his husband in a car and near her, a young girl was crying and she tried to stop his mother shouting and after she went near his father . And i was feeling in my heart all her suffering ;some people were watching and the wife was like an actress , playing a drama . And suddenly when i was looking at the young girl i was feeling in me your presence with an enormous compassion for that girl ! it was really your presence in me who was comforting her !!! it was incredible!!! I saw her going up in the car with her father and her mother was desapointed because she seemed have lost and she went away and all was over .
    very strange thing !

  6. Can you back up even further: What is the best initial method to turn the internal light on and to expand the void? My void is dark and mostly feels like a bubble around me extending only feet away. Is self-inquiry part of the process for obtaining a lit expansive void or should you already have a lit void before begining the self-inquiry?

    thank you

  7. So, the next question is "So what?" Once you have all these realizations, Then What? (I realize the context is probably silly. Perhaps there is no "Then" then or "What" "There", but I am still HERE.) If it's like Zen sages sayings about Enlightenment which, paraphrasing poorly, "and then I went back to work hoeing the field", haha, so funny. Death still looms. The Great Undoing. Death (or whatever it is that we call "Death") seems to make all this effort pointless. Makes feel all like a pointless, painful play. If someone says, "Well, there is no point. It all just is.", then Ok, fine. Why not just have another beer? Or two or three. Is all this realization undone at death? WHY THE HELL Did all the SAGES and SAINTS die? So many unanswered questions. I am wondering if "whatever" should be my mantra.

  8. Paul, the point is that all the sages and saints saw that they are not the thing that dies, they are beyond it and so dying does not even come into the quesion, so what... about dying occurs, this is a very freeing place to be. You are searching freedom FROM Paul not FOR Paul.

    1. Wrong and BS to boot. I am definitely NOT searching for freedom from Paul. I want to know what Paul is. I am searching for something ultimately beyond freedom or any concept we can entertain or play with. I am not afraid of death. I want answers. Religion and faith are not in my vocabulary. So, I meditate in search of an answer beyond word or ideas. So far, nothing. Not even crickets. Wacko experiences, check. Crazy dreams, unbelievable visions, check. Like seeing a UFO streak across the sky, "nothing to hang one's hat on". So, I continue, waiting, quiet. This better be good. BAH-HA-HA! Have a good week, all.

  9. Really and you know this how??? Until you search for freedom from Paul and all his identifications with what he thinks he is looking for/waiting for you will be on the roundabout that you are on..Enjoy!