Only 1 book is ever needed to practice self-inquiry, skip the rest: Silence of the heart - Robert Adams. For a detailed describtion of self-inquiry by me click here. One can practice unsuccessful self-inquiry for a long time because you have no idea of what you are looking for. Therefore, I will explain the various methods in a slightly different ways hoping that one way or another will connect with those truly interested in practice. Some people are able to feel a sense of I Am almost immediately upon introspection and others not.

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Only 1 book is ever needed to practice self-inquiry, skip the rest: Silence of the heart - Robert Adams. For a detailed describtion of self-inquiry by me click here. One can practice unsuccessful self-inquiry for a long time because you have no idea of what you are looking for. Therefore, I will explain the various methods in a slightly different ways hoping that one way or another will connect with those truly interested in practice.

Some people are able to feel a sense of I Am almost immediately upon introspection and others not. One is by nature, naturally introspective or not. To do self-inquiry, one either has the talent or learns it by practice. The same holds true for psychotherapy. Those who are able to look within and "see" internal, imaginal objects will do well in talk therapy, while those who lack this skill, will not.

However, one can learn this skill through repeated efforts to "look within" the imaginal spaces of the mind. Get familiar with and explore the inner world to an extent. It is the singularity around which all the objects and world are arranged. That is, there are two orders of witnesses. They are not yet aware that they are apart from this phenomena, and are observing it, and that this observer is the real I.

The observer or looker, or witness is so close to oneself that we often overlook it, as the Advaitic parable of the Tenth Indian points out.

Often the observer is not counted because it is not an object and is taken for granted and not found. This knot is not you, but you have to discover that for yourself as a direct experience and not merely as a learning from others. Once this knot is severed, everything else is plain and clear, and it is severed through continuous observation, and one discovers that that knot is being observed by the imperishable Me.

Self-inquiry is a continuous, full-time job, not restricted to formal meditation periods. Formal meditation, practiced often, is a big help as it builds introspective power. Of course, too much meditation makes the mind sluggish and stupid, which is an error. Formal meditation period ought to be at least two periods a day, with two minute sessions, separated by a five minute rest. This can be gradually increased for those who have the time to three or four sessions, of three minute periods.

However, the beneficial effects of building introspective power during meditation will be dissipated if the rest of the day is spent devoted to serving the world. The self-awareness should become continuous.

Then one day one discovers the anomaly, that which never changes, which is the subject of all the myriads of the objects. This is a resting state. Trying to stay in that center is not really an effort. Once the witness is discovered, one has a broad road to follow to self-realization. Before we go into more detail about the process, we need to be clear that we can and should perform the same analysis with respect to objects in the external world.

Choose an object, such as a person, a tree, a pet sitting by a window. If the object is emotionally charged, such as a loved one, there will often be felt a connection between that person and the heart.

When one discovers that heart source, one can deliberately try sinking into it. This will cause an immediate increase in happiness and centeredness that will help formal meditation and lead more quickly to freedom. Then one needs to observe whether that heart source is the witness or not. Hopefully this overview explains the whole process, and now the process will be explained in more detail.

The latter is a compilation by Apte of about paragraphs Nisargadatta uttered about the I Am sense and self-abidance. The way of self-discovery taught by Robert, Ramana and Nisargadatta is to abide in the I Am, but what does this mean?

What is the I Am? How do I abide in it? How do I practice self- inquiry? Michael writes that he practiced various self-concepts of self- inquiry for 27 years with poor results. He was no more self- realized than when he started. I want his experience make one thing clear, self-inquiry is complex because there are so many inner experiences and finding the subject, which then is rested in, can be quite difficult. Michael assiduously practiced self inquiry for 27 years, read all the books, visited all the teachers, yet had not gotten anywhere.

I can say the same about myself for over 20 years. Nor is awakening merely finding out that there is no ego, and no object that the I thought refers to. These are still Kindergarten and first grade stuff. He described a method and concept that being aware of awareness itself is abiding in the I Am; the method he discovered, or I should say he rediscovered, appears to be a Soto Zen meditation called Shikantaza. He may deny his method is Shikantaza because he believes he discovered awareness watching awareness method of self-inquiry, but his method is no more or less than Shikantaza, sitting in silence, doing nothing.

This is not easy. It takes a while. The mind has to settle and become quiet. Often years have to pass before this quiet sitting is possible, because beginners invariably expect immediate results.

If they don't get them, they often give up or go to the next teacher or technique. Beginners don't like quiet, they want action. One other main self-inquiry method is to tease out the real 'I Am' feeling and abide there. This is generally not easy either depending on many factors.

Personally, I think this is the best way and I will discuss it some more. If one practices Shikantaza first, and attains many, many samadhis over a long period, one gradually finds release. However, the practice must continue because the I Am has not been killed. The I Am still resides as a remnant of the personal you. They are walled off in the sense that no matter how many samadhis one experiences, the same sense of human, body-bound beingness always returns afterwards.

When this is done, the I dies forever; with Shikantaza there is a too early identification with the totality of consciousness and the Void, rather than cutting the knot, which is the energy nexus between the mind and body, and between that nexus and deeper levels of being, such as the causal body experiences of true nothingness.

This is extremely difficult if one has dwelt in emptiness for years. It is hard then to find a self-sense for one has usually identified with emptiness through repeated Shikantaza meditations. Many people have written to me they were unable to find a personal sense of I even after years of thinking and meditation. Many have dwelled in emptiness for years and begin to feel angry because they have found no happiness or release.

They have become lost in emptiness and attained nothing. You cannot skip steps. It is best to start with the following the I Am and complete that task. Then abiding in the emptiness of the divine witness, the absolute, is effortless and permanent. This becomes complex because there is the 'I word' or 'I thought,' which is the central lynch pin of the network of thoughts and images we take to be the real world.

This I-thought is not the same as the sense of one's personal existence, the 'I Am' sense which is much like a tactile sense associated with the body, and mostly centered around the heart, or sitting like some emptiness existing behind the body, or above the body.

Naturally to be aware of this already requires a good working ability to internalize and introspect subjective phenomena. This means either one has an innate ability, or one acquires this discrimination through years of practice.

I, being kind of dense, required years of practice. I was always introspective in a sense, easily lost in an inner world of thoughts and emotions, but that inner world was never open and spacious. I learned to open that inner, dark, subjectivity through opening the Third Eye by becoming aware of a light between the eyebrows and ever expanding that light downwards into the earth and then upwards and outwards, revealing an imaginal space filled with light, the so-called light of consciousness.

But the problem was I spent years there in that lighted void space, thinking it was reality, recognizing I was still separate and witnessing the void, but expecting, at some point, a feeling of identification with the Void. It never happened. I was far beyond the void, but was caught in ignorance.

I was waiting to find the absolute sense of subjectivity by continuing to look into the Void. During years of self-investigation, one will find legions of internal experiences which one might misidentify as I Am. Practice and persistence, as well as limiting oneself to reading just a very few books and listening to the guidance of a teacher is the best and fastest way out of this internal jungle. One looks within to find the I Am.

Sometimes it is the self-luminous light of consciousness, sometimes illuminated space-like internal emptiness, sometimes it will be a feeling wholly based on the body sense. Some will feel that the sense of I Am as a sensation in the heart area of the self-perception of the feeling of the body. Others believe that they are aware of the body as an internal visual sense which is really an object in imaginal space and thus unreal. They will discover the inner sense of infinite or non-infinite, limited inner space and think they are that.

They are not that. One keeps exploring with the mistaken idea that at some point the I will be found, without realizing it is the I that is looking. The subject is not to be found, because the subject can never become an object. What one discovers is that all that one sees, experiences and knows is really an object experienced or known by the subject, which cannot be found. This search can go on fruitlessly for years, for the self is not a thing, object, state, energy or anything that can be found or experienced.

You may already understand this. At this point you must become aware that there is something that is aware of the self-inquiry processes. You are already aware of the looker, but not that the looker is the true you. You have been caught in the misunderstanding that the looker may find the true self, when in fact, the looker is the true self.


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In later life Adams held satsang with a small group of devotees in California , US. He would later find out that this man was a vision of his future guru Sri Ramana Maharshi. At the age of seven, Adams's father died and the visitations suddenly stopped. Adams said that he then developed a siddhi whereby whenever he wanted something, from a candy bar to a violin, all he needed to do was say the name of the object three times and the desired object would appear from somewhere, or be given to him by someone.


Robert Adams (spiritual teacher)

Skip to main content Ed Muzika. Something went wrong. Please try your request again later. I was still trying to figure out what I wanted to do. Studied with Baba Muktananda, , friend of his successor, Sw. Nityananda, , and good friend of one of his swamis, Shankarananda.

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Gerald has worked really hard for this. Much Love to him, Rajiv. Thanks, Love,. It is a very large file. It worked for me using Explorer, but not Chrome.

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