The question that continually arises for people interested in Self-inquiry
that have recognized a state of pure Being is how to stay there.
Of course, no one ever goes anywhere, and there is nothing outside
of Awareness in reality to distract one. Whatever arises is in fact
arising in and as Awareness. However, what people are truly asking
is how to rest in that. How does one let go of the identification
and attachment to what is arising to recognize the Awareness itself
and to recognize the infinite nature of their own being. Ramana's
answer for this situation was the to ask the perfect question "Who
am I?" and the continuous diving into this question will provide
all the answers. "If the time spent thinking about objects
not the Self were spent inquiring into the Self, Self realization
would be achieved in a very short time," he said.
1. To whom is this arising?
Often when people would ask a question, he would essentially rephrase
'Who am I?' by asking 'Who is asking the question?' Who is this
question arising to? The questions that arise are also objects in
awareness. One must make this distinction between ALL objects in
awareness and the subject, which is the "I" or the Awareness
itself. So the first of the three important questions is: To whom
is this arising? Whatever is happening that you are identifying
with - questions, thoughts, perceptions, emotions - they can all
be dealt with immediately by inquiring 'To whom is this arising?'
Who is seeing this, thinking this, feeling this, etc? Of course
the answer is always 'I am'.
2. What is this "I"?
This is just another way of asking Who am I, but is more impersonal.
Our tendency, out of habit, is to identify "I" with the
body, mind, memories, ideas and so forth. But when we inquire into
what the "I" is, we find it is not any object of awareness.
Whatever is an object is not the subject. So if we are aware of
it, it is not "I". I am aware of my body, so the body
is an object of awareness to subject "I". I am aware of
my thoughts, so thoughts are an object to subject "I".
I am aware of my emotions, so emotions are an object to the subject
"I". You get the idea. If all of these things are objects,
then what is this "I"? Through continuing this inquiry,
one finds that "I" is itself the Awareness or consciousness.
There is not a separate thing called "I" other than the
Awareness itself. This is where the Truth is begun to be recognized
that there is no individual thing called "I" - only pure
Being. So the answer to the question, what is this "I"?
3. Where am I? (Or where is this Awareness?)
As one recognizes that they have no specific individuality, they
begin to inquire exactly where they are located. If "I"
is not associated with the mind or body, but is the awareness itself,
where is this awareness located? Everywhere and nowhere. As a specific
and locatable thing, awareness is nowhere. On the other hand, it
is everywhere and everything. If the body is in awareness, is the
body separate from awareness? No. What is in awareness is itself
Awareness. If you are aware OF the body, the body is IN awareness,
and therefore in "you". If you are aware OF the universe,
then the universe is IN your awareness, and thus in "you".
The tendency to make separations between one thing and another is
only a habit of the mind. But mind, too, is an object of awareness,
is thus IN awareness and so is simply arising in that infinite awareness
that is you. Can you find a place that you are not? This is also
an important question. Because if you are not the objects of awareness,
but the awareness itself, than wherever you see, feel, hear, or
not, that is you, as awareness, being there. It is all arising right
here, right now, in this vast expanse of Awareness, which is Self,
Beingness, the Absolute.
love & blessings,