Sunday, July 26, 2009
The Way to Clarity (Inquiry)
“I have read that Ramana Maharshi advocated using the mind to go beyond it. Also ‘A Course n Miracles’ is a Course in mind training which brings one to the clarity of non-duality. Can you explain to me how this works?”
This ‘method’ is called ‘Inquiry.’ It has been used by the Masters such as Bhagavan, Byron Katie, “A Course in Miracles” through its workbook and effective satsang teachers. It is the most direct and ego-transcending method of all. It takes both willingness and an open heart to apply it. If you have this drive for what is real then inquiry is the way to go.
Before we get to know what is inquiry and how to apply it there are three things to understand first.
First -- All ego seeking and emotional pain are made up of questions. The term ‘question’ means a quest. It is a need from the hungry human to find its way back Home to Essence. Most people do not know that all emotional pain and including seeking spiritual awakening are the ‘living-questions’ of the soul for its redemption.
Questions have different stages of ‘growth’ and move from the ego-me to the deeper aspects of us and finally to Oneness. For example, the initial stage of the seeking novice is something like this, “Why me?”
“People do not like me!”
“It seems the world is against me.”
“People do not listen to me.”
“I feel misunderstood.”
Then with greater maturity and understanding the questions move to ‘us.’ Here are some of them…
“Why are people so dense?”
“The world seems closed to the spiritual life.”
“Why do religions divide themselves instead of unite?”
“How can I help the world?”
“Why do bad things happen to good people?”
Finally with greater seeing, sensitivity and maturity the questions move into Oneness or the Whole. Here are some…
“If there is no doer then who is it that acts through me?”
“I am not clear about linear time and holographic timelessness?”
“I feel clear at times but still find myself losing what I know!”
“I have had glimpses but I still do not live the life!”
“I realized that my knowledge of spiritual reality was a distraction to make me feel good about myself and that’s why I never felt really pure!”
How to apply inquiry
Second -- The way to inquiry is simple but it requires some form of earnestness to conduct it. For instance, let’s say you find yourself reacting to some statement or to some thought. In that instant write down or express in a digital recorder what you are really asking. For instance, someone says you are being dumb and you react to that statement with anger, offence, defense, outrage, hurt and so on. This reaction happened NOT because of what was said since we are never upset for the reason we think. The statement felt like a threat that must have reminded us of some personal lack (as a child for example.) Maybe you felt misunderstood or ignored or less-than and that term ‘dumb’ triggered that memory and feeling. Therefore you are asking a question in your subconscious mind such as, “What is wrong with me?” “Maybe I don’t feel good enough?” or “I probably feel so separate from others!”
The point is this – that all emotional reactions are unresolved questions…
Anxiety is a question asking, “I wonder what’s going to happen next?” “What if I don’t make it?” “What if I fail?” “What if people laugh at me?”
Fear is a question with a “what-if…” in it. Most fears are future-oriented.
Sudden anger reaction is a question that is seeing a threat to the ego and reacting in defense of itself without knowing what or whom it is defending.
Deep disappointment is a question dealing with expectations of an ego boost nature. “How could I be so wrong about that person?”
Suffice to say that all emotional pain, melodrama, hurt, depression and including indifference and apathy are unresolved questions.
Third -- The next step, once we have acquired the skill to formulate the question is to understand the question itself. Here’s is the most important part of inquiry – do not reach for an answer!! All answers come from the conditioned mind and are merely words that mean very little. The true answers have no words but a deep feeling of inner knowing and satisfaction. Therefore it is imperative that we do not seek an answer to the question but to keep it open.
I remember reading my first book on inquiry from Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi who advocated asking, “Who am I?” and I must have asked it several hundred times and never received an answer. However I kept it up throughout the years waiting for grace to descend upon me with an answer. One day it dawned on me that the answer was given from the heart the first time I asked it but I didn’t hear it because I wasn’t ready to listen.
What was the answer that I didn’t hear? It was the Silence that emerged from asking, the deep space of unknowing of who I was simply because I was far greater than words could tell, and besides, if the answer came in words who would give it - It would have been my ego or conditioned memory from reading so much. It was the silent peaceful ‘not-knowing’ that unfolded the mystery of my inner knowing.
The question now is, “If I don’t get an answer, how do I listen?”
Listening is what all awakening is about. People do not ‘get it’ or ‘awaken’ or feel at peace is because they do not LISTEN! They hear the words; they intellectualize the words; they know the answers to questions but there is no inner clarity because one hasn’t gone beyond the thinking mind. As long as you are thinking about a truth you cannot know it. You will only ‘know’ the words about it, not ‘IT!’
The Truth is Oneness or how every human is a wave from the One ocean of Life. Yet, the wave is one with the ocean. This ocean is One and therefore known as LOVE.
Love is not emotional except in its initial understanding. Love is seeing another in oneself. Love is ‘knowing’ that there is no separation in anything – everything is interconnected, interdependent and interrelated. If I judge you I am judging myself. If I hurt you I hurt myself and this boomerang is known as guilt.
Boomerang is that which always returns to us what we give out. What we give returns to us. If we give love, we get love. If we give resentment, judgment or fear then we get it back in the form of guilt. Guilt is always present initially as unconscious-discomfort as if missing something or feeling a lack without knowing what it actually IS! Guilt is the result of feeling separate and thus incomplete. Guilt is what causes all loneliness, fear, unrest, hatred, separation and distorted thinking. Guilt always seeks self-punishment known as self-sabotage.
Therefore LISTENING is this…
The major point of inquiry is to NEVER seek an answer as there are no satisfying answers to life. There is only the clarity that awakens when we understand fully the question we are really asking.
Listening is ‘understanding-the-question’ that your heart is asking deep down within you. This asking is a seeking, and a seeking is always in the form of pain or discomfort. Thus, if you are troubled, confused, uncertain, perplexed, frustrated then do not attempt to figure it out; avoid all intellectual attempts at trying to understand it. Do these steps…
a. Write down the question you are really asking. Keep it simple.
b. Understand the question by its emotional feeling.
c. Look at the story created by that question and its reactions.
d. What is it that you’re telling yourself?
e. How will it be if there was no such story in you?
f. Are you willing to forgive it?
g. If not, why is it essential to hold on to it? (what are you hoping to gain from holding on?)
(Would I rather be right or happy?)
These questions will uncover what is truly eating at you and releases deep unconscious guilt and awaken clarity.
Why do we get negative? Negative feelings are human feelings and they emerge from feeling a lack in you (result of separation). ‘Negatives’ are the soul seeking redemption (answers).
The real answers are NOT words (verbal or written) but the feeling of joy and love in the heart.
The way to clarity (awakening) is inquiry (listening). To inquire (investigate or explore) is to put a thought or a story up against questions such as given on this page 5.
Inquiry is to end confusion and experience inner peace, love, joy and innocence, even in a world torn by worldly values and chaos. Above all else, inquiry is about realizing that all true answers we ever need are always available inside us (in our Being).
See the video clip “Awakening Insights’ found in this link…
Inquire is not just a technique: it brings to life, from deep within us, an innate aspect of our Being. When practiced for a while, inquiry takes on its own life within you. It becomes alive in you. It appears wherever thoughts appear. This partnership with the Holy Spirit in you (which is the ‘I AM’) awakens in you to abide fulltime. This partnership leaves you free to live as a kind, fluid, fearless, amused listener…joyful partner. In this partnership loneliness, desolation, separation become an unknown quantity, a realized unreality that only existed in unconsciousness.
Your inner guide is your best friend forever that can be trusted, relied upon in an emergency and experienced as a way of life bringing fullness of Being. Peace and joy inevitably make their way into every corner of your mind, into every relationship and experience. The process is so subtle that you may not even have a conscious awareness of it. You just know such happiness now that you wonder how you could have lived before without your real partner.