When we inquire into our own nature we can find no subject, no ‘I’ as such, but rather many mental impressions that are usually identified as being us. Although this absence of a separate identity may confuse and even frighten us in the beginning - and also may do so later on when the search removes every single foothold and strikes at the very root of our sense of security - it is truly freeing in as much as we are able to let go of the false sense of self. Compared with all other approaches, this practice of self-enquiry is striking at the root of the problem and at the same time is turning out to be the ultimate solution of all our troubles. This is as direct as direct can be …
I am the door, no one comes to the father except through Me …
- John 10.9 and 14.6
Instead of misinterpreting these words in a personal way and limiting them to an idealised divine figure, we should try to understand them in the light of their most fundamental and universal meaning.
The ' I am' is the door to the father, the absolute.
Sri Ramana always insisted that there is only one Self, which like the sun may reflect itself in many pots (or people) at the same time. If we are able to focus on 'beingness' or ‘suchness’ and this awareness becomes pure and thought-free, the universal Self is bound to reveal itself. In this very moment, the outer senses will not perceive the world as separate from the Self and it will become clear that we had suffered from an error of perception all along.
The booklet ‘Who am I?’ is based on the early teachings of Ramana and there he says about Self-enquiry:
That which rises as ‘I’ in this body is the mind. If one inquires as to where in the body the thought ‘I’ rises first, one would discover that it rises in the heart. That is the place of the mind’s origin. Even if one thinks constantly ‘I’ ‘I’, one will be led to that place. Of all the thoughts that arise in the mind, the ‘I’ thought is the first. It is only after the rise of this that the other thoughts arise. It is after the appearance of the first personal pronoun that the second and third personal pronouns appear; without the first personal pronoun there will not be the second and third.
-Who am I? No 9
Atman is the aim. What else can there be? All other aims are for those who are incapable of atmalakshya (having the Self for the aim). They lead you ultimately to atma-vichara (enquiry into the Self). One-pointedness is the fruit of all kinds of practice. One may get it quickly, another after a long time. Everything depends on the practice.
(to be continued)