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 Self?
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Drystone

United Kingdom
31 Posts

Posted - Aug 20 2023 :  7:06:47 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Message
Hi All,

Quick explanation of where I feel I am with things-

I am progressing well with my practice, with many blockages being dissolved and my daily life improving as my aversions weaken or disappear completely. I have had many beautiful experiences of bliss and ecstasy, however both are not yet stable in the body - which is fine, I was never in it for that anyway , it’s kind of a bonus! I also regularly experience blissful /ecstatic visions at night and the occasional experience of leaving the body.

I have over-done it with practices a few times but have found exercise in nature and scaling back practices to do the job. Tantra is not a priority at the moment as I seem to have enough energy without, and can lead to problems for me (like poking a dragon). I do however observe moderation in that area.
As advised I have switched from passive awareness meditations to IAM mantra and feel now as if I am stable in my practice of Asana, Bandhas, SBP, DM and samyama.

I am now consistently able to reach the state of ‘no thought, no mantra’ in my meditations. With it comes a growing feeling of bliss. In ‘Deep Meditation’ this state is described as ‘pure bliss consciousness’ , is this synonymous with the Self? Because despite all my reading on the subject pointing to this, I don’t feel I ‘know’ it to be Self. I feel that it is beyond ‘thought/mind’ but I couldn’t honestly name it ‘self’ if that makes sense? Is this something which grows over time?

Many thanks,

Drystone

Christi

United Kingdom
4332 Posts

Posted - Aug 21 2023 :  12:43:35 AM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Drystone,

If you are practicing Deep Meditation, and you have the feeling that the pure bliss consciousness is not Self, then easily favour the mantra with your attention over that feeling. If you feel that pure bliss consciousness is the Self, then easily favour the mantra with your attention over that feeling. Basically, whatever is arising, when you notice you are off the mantra, easily favour the mantra.

Outside of meditation, if you have abiding inner silence present, then you can engage in Self-Inquiry practices if you wish to. These practices gradually lead to a natural abiding in the Self. Self-Inquiry is a long journey where our perception of who we are changes little by little over time, as more and more processes of identification fall away. It isn't the case that someone can say to you "that is your Self", or "that is not your Self", as that would simply be a discussion taking place on the level of the mind. Self-Inquiry takes us beyond the mind. Entering a state of "no thought, no mantra" consistently in meditation, is a good beginning, as this will help to make inner silence present during the day when you are off the mat. You can then make use of that inner silence to begin to question the relationship between the objects of the mind and senses, and who it is that is aware of them.

If you have not read it yet, I would recommend reading Yogani's book on Self-Inquiry and also his book on Liberation.

When you come to know the Self, you would not name it "Self". The process of naming exists only in the mind. Also, the person who does the naming, the "ahamkara, or "I doer", also exists only in the mind. So, there will be no point where you will be able to say "I now know my Self". The words would not make any sense.

I recently put a short video on YouTube where I talk about pure abiding in the Self as a practice. It is one of the last practices of Jnana Yoga. Do remember though that everyone has to find their own entry point into Jnana Yoga practices. Starting with pure abiding in the Self may be suitable for some, but others may need a different entry point.

YouTube video - Pure Abiding in the Self

On the subject of identifying with a Self, or not identifying with a Self, you may find this video helpful, which I filmed recently:

YouTube video - Why did the Buddha say there is no Self?



Christi
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Drystone

United Kingdom
31 Posts

Posted - Aug 21 2023 :  1:45:08 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks Christi!

Yeah I think I’m just reading too much into it. I have read Self inquiry, liberation and am currently dipping in and out of a Q and A book based on Ramana Maharshis teachings which is very useful. I think I should probably just stick to Maharshi’s advice when asked these kinds of questions- “Why do you ask all these questions? Do the practices and find out for yourself!”.

So self abidance is basically having awareness absorbed in the present moment as you go about your day, rather than thinking, judging and labelling isn’t it? This ability has certainly expanded since I started meditating. I used to notice when I had been reactive, now I notice when I feel I want to react, and am able to choose. (You’d then probably encourage me to ask “who is it that is observing the reaction? Or who wants to react?)




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Christi

United Kingdom
4332 Posts

Posted - Aug 22 2023 :  03:42:48 AM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Drystone,

Ramana was a very good teacher. So, reflecting on his teachings is very worthwhile. I am hoping to visit his ashram in December this year in Tamil Nadu.

There are various stages to Self-Inquiry practice. "Having awareness absorbed in the present moment as you go about your day, rather than thinking, judging and labelling" is what I would call Mindfulness Practice. Coming to the point where you realise that you can choose how to respond to any given event is the stage of discrimination, or "viveka" in Sanskrit. These are both important stages. Pure abiding in the Self is a stage beyond these two practices. It is the stage of vairagya. It is the stage where we know ourself to be pure awareness, and see directly that everything exists within That, not separate from That.

Questioning practices, such as "who is aware of this?", can be very useful too. Each stage will lead on directly and automatically to the next, so the starting point is not so important. It is really only important to start where you feel comfortable and then let everything flow naturally from there, in its own time.


Christi
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Drystone

United Kingdom
31 Posts

Posted - Aug 24 2023 :  6:48:14 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks Christi,

Yes I am really getting a lot out of reading Ramanas teachings. I also enjoy dr sangay Raghav’s satsangs based on his teachings on you tube, they are very useful.

I guess sometimes I have moments of confusion along the way, really because of the terminology for all these different experiences of self and where they all relate to each other. One minute you are reading that samadhi is simply the space between thoughts, the next you are reading about what sounds more like deep experiences of cosmic consciousness, it’s very confusing sometimes. But I think I feel like I know where I am now, patiently continuing with my practices with the understanding that things will be made evident with direct experience in time.

I’m very much looking forward to meeting you in Devon next May, I hope your trip to India goes well.

Thanks so much for your help!

All the best!

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Christi

United Kingdom
4332 Posts

Posted - Aug 25 2023 :  01:58:14 AM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Dryston,

Samadhi is a potentially confusing term, because it can refer to a range of different states. Some of these have names, such as "laya samadhi", or savikapla samadhi, nirvikalpa samadhi, sabija samadhi, sahaja samadhi and so on. Understanding the different types of samadhi is not important. The key thing is that in all forms of samadhi, the mind is coming into a state of equilibrium, or balance, and the self is coming to the foreground.

We will be looking more deeply at samdhi during the Devon retreat next May, as samadhi forms the basis for samyama practice, and the deeper samadhi is, the more effective samyama becomes. But, the easiest way to think about samadhi is to ask yourself the question: "am I at peace?", "am I content?", "is my mind still?", "do I treat all things equally?". If the answer to these questions is "yes", then you are approaching samadhi, and the more times the answer is "yes", the deeper your samadhi will become. This can help to take the mystery out of samadhi.


Christi
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Drystone

United Kingdom
31 Posts

Posted - Aug 25 2023 :  08:35:46 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Christi,

Thankyou for the clarification.

Is the deepening experience of samadhi what people also refer to as ‘absorption’?
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Christi

United Kingdom
4332 Posts

Posted - Aug 25 2023 :  09:01:43 AM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Drystone,

Yes, absorption in the true nature of reality, or in the true nature of the Self. Another term used in English is enstasy.


Christi
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