How to practice Self-Enquiry
How to practice Self-Enquiry
Close your eyes. Pray to God or Guru for Grace and Strength of Mind. God or Guru are not different from the Real Self. So in other words, you are asking help from your own perfect Self.
Read an inspirational passage or a quote, or gaze at a divine picture for a few seconds and mentally ask for support.
Try to be quiet. Immediately thoughts will rush. Mind may be stubborn and refuse to cooperate. Tell yourself, “Look, what is the use of thinking too much. Been there, done that. At the end, there is no peace of mind. I have all day to attend to all the thoughts and perform all the actions. Right now, let me gather some peace so that I can be efficient the rest of the day”.
Mind is a creature of habit. We have to ponder over good things often, and substitute wasteful thoughts with useful thoughts. So the more you ponder over and refresh your mind with wise teachings, the more you will be successful in your Meditation and in Life.
Every time a thought comes up, instead of attending to the thought, ask yourself, “How come I did not have any thoughts in deep sleep? How come this thought is coming now? Where is it coming from? ” Initially, you may not succeed doing the above. Mind follows its habitual patterns. But keep at it. Your attempt is to avoid thinking through a thought. Instead when a thought arises, ask, “To whom did this thought come?” The answer would be, “Me”. Then ask, “Who am I? Who is this Me?” Try to see within where the “I” feeling is arising from.
Focus on the “I am” feeling. Don’t worry if thoughts come bombarding, making your mind wander to all sorts of avenues of desires, fears and problems and all the exciting things you can do. When you recognize you have been wandering, don’t feel bad or negative; just tell yourself, “That’s alright. I have been thinking so much for so long. I can only become calm and quiet gradually.” Or, “there is too much clutter in my mind. All I am doing to is to make a little room so I can think and act better.” Just keep bringing the mind back to the most important question of your life, “Who am I?”.
Tell yourself, “Thoughts are like traffic. I don’t say ‘Hi’ to every person I pass in the traffic. The same way, I don’t have to think through every thought. I can let them pass. There are too many of them anyway. And they are all not that important. What’s the big deal?”
Tell yourself, “We investigate the external world so much and hunt for treasures. But in the end, all disappears in sleep. The next day I wake up with more desires and dissatisfaction. Wouldn’t it be fun to investigate within and find a big treasure that may even grant all our wishes?” Of course, when you find the treasure of “the greatest happiness one can have”, there won’t be any other desire. When you have a banquet spread in front of you, why would you long for a crumb?
By the way, even the greatest Yogi has downfalls in meditation. In other words, just when you are a little happy that you have made progress, there will be a day or few days when your mind will resist like a mule and make you lose the peace you have gained so far. Don’t worry! This happens to the best of them.
See what Ramana Maharshi says about this. (D is Devotee. M is Maharshi.)
D.: When an endeavour is made to lead the right life and to concentrate thought on the Self, there is often a downfall and break. What is to be done?
M.: It will come all right in the end. There is the steady impulse of your determination that sets you on your feet again after every downfall and breakdown. Gradually the obstacles are all overcome and your current becomes stronger. Everything comes right in the end. Steady determination is what is required.
Sometimes a worry may come, “if I meditate instead of attending to my work and duties, what will happen?” Sri Ramana Maharshi says, “The Self is all. Now I ask you: Are you apart from the Self? Can the work go on apart from the Self? Or is the body apart from the Self? None of them could be apart from the Self. The Self is universal. So all the actions will go on whether you engage in them voluntarily or not. The work will go on automatically. Attending to the Self includes attending to the work.” In fact, He says, that the work ordained for you will go on even better if it is not interrupted by the ego. So remind yourself of this.
After you get up from your routine Meditation session, go about attending to your duties and routines as usual. You don’t really have to change anything because rest assured, your meditation session will change things for you in a positive and beneficial way. The results may not be tangible to you, but there will be benefits. You will feel them gradually as an overall peace of mind, an inexplicable joy and calmness. You will see things going on more smoothly and with less restlessness.
Keep practicing Meditation on the Inner Self in some way or the other, whenever you can. Practice makes Perfect is literally true here.
This is practicing Self-Enquiry.