Thursday 30 April 2015

Trying to see the seer

A friend recently wrote to me a series of emails asking about the practice of self-investigation (ātma-vicāra), so this article is compiled and adapted from our correspondence.

Tuesday 28 April 2015

Witnessing or being aware of anything other than ourself nourishes our ego and thereby reinforces our attachments

After reading my previous article, What is meant by the term sākṣi or ‘witness’?, a friend wrote to me expressing some thoughts that he had after reading it cursorily for the first time, so this article is adapted from the reply that I wrote to some of his ideas.

Tuesday 21 April 2015

What is meant by the term sākṣi or ‘witness’?

When I attended a meeting of the Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK in London earlier this month, one of the questions I was asked was about the concept or practice of sākṣi-bhāva or ‘being a witness’. I do not remember exactly what I replied at the time, but after seeing the video that was made of that meeting, a friend wrote to me saying that he agreed that the term sākṣi or ‘witness’ as it is often used is a misnomer, and he recalled that Bhagavan said in certain contexts that we should take this term to mean just ‘presence’ (as in the presence of our real self) rather than ‘witness’. He also added his own reflections on this subject, saying:

Saturday 18 April 2015

Do we need to try to ignore all thoughts, and if so how?

A friend recently wrote to me saying:
When you say to experience “I” in total isolation, I try to ignore thoughts, and other perceptions. But the “ignoring act” seems to involve some sort of force. Otherwise its duration will be so short, the thoughts are pounding at the door quite soon. The somewhat forceful rejection of thoughts maybe is the wrong way to do it? To ignore thoughts sounds like a soft and tender way, but I feel it to be a bit harsh. I do not see any other way though.
This article is adapted from the reply I wrote to him.

Tuesday 14 April 2015

What is the difference between meditation and self-investigation?

A friend recently asked me several questions about meditation and self-investigation, such as what difference there is between them, so this article is adapted (and the third and fourth sections are considerably expanded) from the reply that I wrote to him.

Monday 6 April 2015

How we can confidently dismiss the conclusions of materialist metaphysics

In one of my recent articles, All phenomena are just a dream, and the only way to wake up is to investigate who is dreaming, I wrote:
Moreover, since we experience ourself existing in sleep, when we do not experience anything else, the fact that we exist independent of whatever else we may experience in waking or dream is self-evident. Therefore we need not doubt this fact, or suppose that our existence could depend upon the existence of our body or any other thing, as is wrongly supposed by most present-day philosophers and scientists.
Quoting this passage, a friend called Sivanarul wrote a comment in which he said:

Friday 3 April 2015

Any experience we can describe is something other than the experience of pure self-attentiveness

Last month a friend wrote to me describing what he experiences when he tries to practise self-investigation (ātma-vicāra) and asking whether his description indicates that his practice is on the right track. This article is adapted from the reply I wrote to him.

The experience of self-attentiveness or self-awareness cannot be expressed in words, because it is featureless, so any words we use to describe what we experience when we are trying to be self-attentive are only a description of something other than pure self-attentiveness.