Though theoretically unnecessary, Self Inquiry is a practice most often recommended to people who want to get 'serious' about Self-Realization.
The process of Self Inquiry is intended to elucidate the disconnect between what you believe yourself to be, and what you actually observe yourself to be — to know the false as false.
The 'traditional' question of Self Inquiry is: Who am I?
Though I prefer the slightly longer — What is the nature of what I am? — since it seems more likely in my experience to steer the seeking mind toward the actual origin of the question — the Self.
For the benefit of the questioner, here are a few structured approaches. Choose the one which resonates within you:
A simple no-nonsense philosophy and strategy for both Self Inquiry and living in general.
Whilst the Truth may take a little longer to clarify with this method, the method is simple and practical, and the potential exists to significantly undermine suffering from the beginning.
One must adopt an open, curious attitude to conduct a fair inquiry. Set aside your existing beliefs — you do not yet have an answer to the key question — What am I?
All questions should be asked, and all available evidence should be considered in detail.
Broadly, there are two possible angles to this approach:
Later, it will probably also be necessary to inquire as to which of the common Obstacles to Self-Realization are currently at play. Though if the depth of your inquiry happens to be sufficiently profound, this may be unnecessary.
A simpler, intuitive approach to Self Inquiry is available and may be more resonant with certain folk.
Boxes and String is a practical and intuitive activity which, if you give it your full attention, ask good questions, and permit yourself adequate time to 'take in the scenery' will be significantly transformative.
Pure-Intuitive Self Inquiry is a 24/7 practice:
This practice is effectively how Mindfulness, Presence, or true meditation is ideally practiced, absent misunderstanding about the goal — the only goal is to observe reality as it actually is.
If suffering occurs, you may inquire as to which of the common Obstacles to Self-Realization are currently at play, and resume your practice.
Self Inquiry is not magic or esoteric. It works in the same way as understanding anything works: observation evolves understanding; evolving understanding is transformation.
The object of observation, however, is the fundamental nature of Self, and the relationship between our current image of Self and that nature which we actually observe during inquiry.
Copyright © 2020 Joshua Hawcroft