Throughout one’s journey of awakening, using inquiry statements, also known as Self-inquiry statements, can be very helpful. The Indian Guru, Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950), instructed his students in Self-inquiry by directing them to ask themselves “Who am I?” He believed that pondering this question would help the students penetrate deeper and deeper levels of identity, and stabilize their growing realization of their true nature as Being, or Self.
Although Ramana Maharishi taught in the advaitic tradition, we in the embodied awakening tradition, also use Self-inquiry statements on our journey toward recognizing our consciousness, our Self, as our essential and eternal nature.
A key difference, however, is that on our embodied awakening path, we do not believe that thoughts and feelings must be altogether stopped In order to know the Self. The realization of Self can take place along with our awareness of mind, emotions, and body. In fact, we can practice Self-inquiry to recognize the differences between the experience of the changing dynamics of life and the unchanging eternal nature of our Self, observing it all. I have used inquiry statements to great advantage. Before awakening to the reality of my conscious nature, I would sometimes pause in the middle of activity and ask myself a series of questions starting with:
What am I feeling now?
After taking a moment to sink into whatever I was feeling, I would then ask:
Who notices this feeling?
Or, who registers this feeling?
Then I might ask:
Is there any sense of Self that comes before this feeling?
Is there any sense of Self that comes along with this feeling, but is not confined to this feeling and to my emotional body?
Perhaps followed by:
Can I shift my attention to the “knower” of this feeling?
Such times of inquiry would point me in the direction of the awareness or consciousness that exists along with my attention being directed to an object… even when the object of my attention was a feeling.
These and similar questions helped bring my awareness to my conscious nature until that awareness became established.
I continue to use inquiry statements to help make further progress on the path of embodied awakening which includes being seated in present moment awareness. Simple inquiries such as the following are helpful in allowing my attention to be in the present moment.
What wants to be known now?
What wants to come forward now?
Do you think inquiry statements might help in your path of Self discovery? If so, you might try some of mine. Or you can create some of you own. I am happy to help you with this. We can talk in person, on the phone, or on Skype.
Private sessions generally last one hour. I charge $50 per hour, but also offer a sliding scale.