EXPERIENCES AND COMMENTS
In January of 2004 after two years of practicing awareness watching awareness, the illusion of the ego ended. Gone forever, never to return.
What remained is Infinite-eternal-awareness-bliss-love aware only of Infinite-eternal-awareness-bliss-love. Five words that point to that which is one and does not change.
The practice instructions for the Awareness Watching Awareness method can be read at this link: AWA Instructions
What follows is a report of what happened during those two years of practice:
A quote by Sri Muruganar from Garland of Guru's (Sri Ramana Maharshi's) Sayings:
1038. "Awareness is not a quality of the Self. The Self is without qualities. Awareness is not an action of the Self. The Self does nothing. The Self, our Being, IS Awareness."
A quote by Sri Ramana Maharshi from Day by Day with Bhagavan:
"You are awareness. Awareness is another name for you. All that you have to do is to give up being aware of other things; that is, of the not-Self. If one gives up being aware of them, then pure awareness alone remains, and that is the Self."
Self Awareness is: Awareness of Awareness.
This discovery, translated into practice as awareness watching awareness, was a great blessing for me.
I was trying to find a clear easy way of understanding and practicing Sri Ramana Maharshi's and Sri Nisargadatta's instructions regarding focusing the attention on I or I AM.
The awareness watching awareness discovery solved everything.
I wrote about the details of what lead up to that, including practice instructions here: AWA Discovery
That discovery was back in December of 2001. The following is a brief report on the progression of the actual practice of awareness watching awareness:
In the beginning of the practice, Sri Muruganar's quotes regarding refraining from looking at thought, the body, the world etc., and instead turning the awareness towards awareness watching awareness were helpful.
Because the habit of looking outward is so strong, reading these practice instructions and then actually practicing them was helpful:
There were other things that were helpful to read such as descriptions of liberation which helped increase the desire for liberation and quotes by Sri Ramana Maharshi, Sri Annamalai Swami, Sri Muruganar and Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj that encouraged intense, constant, continuous practice.
I won't list all those links here, they can all be found on this page: Five Sages
As the practiced progressed there was far less reading.
Very rapidly the practice simplifies and it is just awareness watching awareness.
In the beginning it took a lot of effort to turn the attention away from thought, the body, the world, etc., towards awareness watching awareness, due to the long habit of looking outward.
Awareness watching awareness is not just keeping quiet. One can keep quiet and still be looking outward.
There are not two awarenesses, one watching the other. Awareness watching awareness is only one awareness watching itself.
Awareness watching awareness is the perfect practice.
It instantly becomes awareness of awareness
which instantly becomes abiding as awareness,
which instantly becomes being awareness.
Or one might say:
awareness watching awareness
is really awareness of awareness
which is really abiding as awareness
which is really being awareness.
I prefer to shut the eyes. Because the habit of abiding as awareness is there, upon shutting the eyes, there it is.
Just awareness by itself.
As the practice progresses, it becomes simpler.
One just abides as awareness.
No thought, no body, no world, no universe.
As Sri Ramana describes it in Talk 17:
Questioner: "Does Maharshi enter the nirvikalpa samadhi?"
Sri Ramana: "If the eyes are closed, it is nirvikalpa; if open, it is (though differentiated, still in absolute repose) savikalpa. The ever-present state is the natural state sahaja."
If the attention is turned inward away from the body, thought, world, universe, etc. and towards awareness watching awareness it does not take long to realize that I am that awareness that lives forever.
Thinking will not help. One has to feel the eternal life within, for the fear of ending the human known to disappear. Awareness watching awareness makes one aware of that feeling after only a little practice.
Having felt that eternal life within, one wants only that, and the desire for an imaginary bodily existence that is really a kind of death and not life at all, disappears.
Or as Sri Ramana described it:
"So I am the spirit transcending the body. The body dies but the Spirit transcending it cannot be touched by death. That means I am the deathless Spirit."
"All this was not dull thought; it flashed through me vividly as living truth which I perceived directly..."
It begins just as a subtle feeling, then rapidly it emerges as the Reality.
That subtle feeling can be felt after only a little time spent turning within towards awareness watching awareness. Maybe from the very first time one attempts it, or maybe after a few attempts.
Because of the long habit of looking outward and calling a dream reality, it is good to continue to look inward long after one's first glimpse-feeling-awareness of what one really is.
Knowing who one really is, is to remain without any sorrow, suffering, disease or death.
Thus one trades in this limited imagination for Infinite-Eternal-Being-Awareness-Bliss-Love-Peace and those are not seven, that is just one.
The solution to the fear of losing the known (imagining oneself to be a body living in a world) is just to turn inward, to cease looking outward at a world, body and thought and towards awareness watching awareness.
The ending of the fear comes with the experience. Some experience comes very quickly. One begins to feel the eternal life within. As that feeling grows, the worry about losing what one formerly called life, which was not life at all, disappears.
If one just starts turning inward towards awareness watching awareness, there is nothing one need think about.
One falls in love with empty awareness, and discovers I am empty awareness, then "I am" disappears and one remains as: being-awareness.
That being-awareness is eternal life.
Just see the beauty of it!
There is no thought, no body, no world and no universe in that awareness.
Although empty of all these, it is full.
The practice took some time.
However the end of the ego happened in just an instant.
The above is the progress report.
Here is a brief commentary:
Due to the fear of ending the known, almost no human wishes to end the human known.
In almost all humans the desire to preserve the ego illusion is trillions of times greater than the desire to end the ego illusion.
This includes those humans who study, think about and discuss spiritual topics.
Therefore, having a means to end the ego illusion which is extremely quick rapid and Direct, really does not matter, until the desire for liberation is awakened.
Pretending that it has been awakened when it has not been awakened, while the fear of ending the known is still there, does not help to awaken it.
Self honesty does help.
There are thousands of relevant quotes by Sri Ramana Maharshi, Sri Muruganar, Sri Sadhu Om, Sri Annamalai Swami and Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj and I will continue to add them to the Direct Path Links Directory [Five Sages page].
Awareness watching awareness was taught by Ramana Maharshi, Sri Muruganar, Sri Sadhu Om , Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj and Sri Annamalai Swami.
Ceasing to think about such quotes, and instead taking one at a time, and not moving from it until it has been put into practice, is a powerful key.
One might read such a quote many times with no effect, because the extremely intense desire for liberation has not yet been awakened.
After the extremely intense desire for liberation awakens, then when one reads the very same quote, instead of thinking about it, or discussing it, one puts it into practice.
Putting it into practice, there are no more questions, not even questions on spiritual topics.
In the practice of awareness watching awareness, no questions arise.
A previous experience:
The last 4 or 5 months have been the most rapid change in consciousness that ‘I’ have ever experienced. Like a river of insight everyday sweeping away all the old views including most of the old spiritual views.
The desire for liberation became the extremely intense desire for liberation in a quantum leap.
The awakening of the extremely intense desire for liberation is such a blessing!
It takes care of everything.
It brings everything one needs (spiritually),
it removes all doubt and it answers all spiritual questions
so that there are no more questions.
It brings great honesty, clarity and insight.
It brings one to intense practice.
It dissolves all obstacles.
It is like surrendering to liberation and the core Direct Path Teachings.
One’s whole life is surrendered.
I can’t read spiritual teachings with detours. If I try, after just a few sentences I can see the detours and I put the book down quickly, just like one would withdraw one’s hand quickly from a hot stove. This represents quite a change in consciousness. The intellectual approach is now ended, gone forever, dead.
One of the amazing things about this new river of insight is that first there is the insight, then later a quote will be discovered. In other words “I” see something, have a profound insight, then later I see that a sage has seen what I have seen.
I can see that almost all spiritual paths are detours and distractions, nothing more, and I can see why they are distractions and detours, nothing more.
Then later I came across the quote by Lao Tzu and see that Lao Tzu has also seen this:
“Not all spiritual paths lead to the Harmonious Oneness.
Indeed, most are detours and distractions, nothing more.”
– Lao Tzu, Hua Hu Ching
Sri Ramana Maharshi stated it like this:
“The intricate maze of philosophy of different schools is said to clarify matters and reveal the Truth. But in fact they create confusion where no confusion need exist. Why should confusion be created and then explained away? Ah! Fortunate is the man who does not involve himself in this maze! I was indeed fortunate that I never took to it. Had I taken to it, I would probably be nowhere - always in confusion. My former tendencies directly took me to the inquiry ‘Who am I?’. It was indeed fortunate.”
Regarding spiritual teachings, a demand for no detours and delays has arisen. The core Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi, Sri Annamalai Swami, Sri Muruganar, Sri Sadhu Om and Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj survived this sweep, but almost every other spiritual path did not.
Even what are called the teachings of those five Direct Path Sages, are filled with detours. The detours come from answers to questions which are a reflection of the thoughts of spiritually immature questioners. This is another example of having the clear insight first, then later discovering that some sage has also seen what I have seen.
Here is a quote by Sri Muruganar from the Garland of Guru’s (Sri Ramana Maharshi’s) Sayings:
1106. The sage’s pure mind which beholds as a mere witness the whole world is like a mirror which reflects the foolish thoughts of those who come before him, and these thoughts are then mistaken to be his.
Those distractions and detours must be removed from the Teachings in order to reveal the Direct Path. On the Direct Path Links Directory [Five Sages page] only the core Teachings are found, with all the distractions, detours and reflections of the thoughts of those questioners who were spiritually immature removed.
There are a few core teachings that can help to turn the mind inward and I have placed them on the Direct Path Links Directory. Teachings which describe the love-bliss of liberation are helpful to increase the desire for liberation. There are teachings that help motivate one towards practice. There are teachings that describe the Direct Path Practice. There are teachings about how to turn inward and teachings about honesty, exposing the false and dropping the false. All of these core teachings can be helpful and have been placed on the Direct Path Links Directory.
However, what are usually called spiritual teachings, as Lao Tzu pointed out, are distractions and detours, nothing more. The intense desire for freedom allows one to see that and before the intense desire for freedom awakens, that fact remains hidden by the ego.
The Direct Path, the Direct Practice, goes by various names such as: Self-inquiry, Self-abidance, Self-attention, Awareness watching Awareness focusing the mind on “I am”, seeing the seer, knowing the knower, “Who am I?”, finding the source of consciousness, turning attention away from the world, body and thought, towards attention attending to attention.
There is a mistaken notion that only those who are ripe are ready to practice the Direct Path. This is used by the ego as an excuse to avoid the Direct Path Practice.
The ego is unreal and its ripeness or unripeness is also unreal. One need not take a lot of time becoming ripe.
Anyone who is willing to do the Direct Path Practice is ripe for it. For those who are not willing all that is needed is to decide to give it a try and then follow through with the decision.
I have seen all this clearly and this is another example of having the insight first and later discovering that a sage has also seen this. The following is a quote by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj from “I AM THAT”:
Questioner: “In the beginning we may have to pray and meditate for some time before we are ready for self-inquiry.”
Nisargadatta: “If you believe so, go on. To me, all delay is a waste of time. You can skip all the preparation and go directly for the ultimate search within. Of all the Yogas it is the simplest and the shortest.”
Almost all humans may have some very weak desire for liberation. However, it is very rare that the extremely intense desire for liberation is awakened. It is also very rare in those humans who are on a spiritual path and rare even in those humans who are on what is often considered to be the Direct Path. Therefore almost everyone ignores these insights found in the quotes above.
I am going to write those quotes again here. Please read them very slowly and open your mind to the possibility that they reveal something extraordinary:
“Not all spiritual paths lead to the Harmonious Oneness. Indeed, most are detours and distractions, nothing more.” – Lao Tzu, Hua Hu Ching.
“The intricate maze of philosophy of different schools is said to clarify matters and reveal the Truth. But in fact they create confusion where no confusion need exist. Why should confusion be created and then explained away? Ah! Fortunate is the man who does not involve himself in this maze! I was indeed fortunate that I never took to it. Had I taken to it, I would probably be nowhere - always in confusion. My former tendencies directly took me to the inquiry ‘Who am I?’. It was indeed fortunate.” – Sri Ramana Maharshi
Questioner: “In the beginning we may have to pray and meditate for some time before
we are ready for self-inquiry.”
Nisargadatta: “If you believe so, go on. To me, all delay is a waste of time. You can skip all the preparation and go directly for the ultimate search within. Of all the Yogas it is the simplest and the shortest.”
1106. “The sage’s pure mind which beholds as a mere witness the whole world is like a mirror which reflects the foolish thoughts of those who come before him, and these thoughts are then mistaken to be his.”
The above is brief and someday I may create a separate page to go into much more detail as to how this great change took place, what lead up to it, including a more detailed description of why the indirect paths are distractions and detours, nothing more.
However, what allows one to see all that is the awakening of the intense desire for freedom. The foundation pages on the Direct Path Links Directory were created for the purpose of showing how to awaken the intense desire for liberation. However you manage to do it, whatever you can do to make your desire for liberation take a quantum leap is well worth doing.
The awakening of the intense desire for freedom will insist on only the Direct Path because it insists that one take no detours.
The awakening of the intense desire for freedom is what sustains intense, constant, continuous, practice.
The awakening of the intense desire for freedom exposes the ego-lies, falsehood and preservation strategies and removes them.
The awakening of the intense desire for freedom removes all obstacles.
The awakening of the extremely intense desire for liberation is therefore, the key of keys.
The Direct Path Links Directory is the precious Jewel. Why it is the precious Jewel, you can get some sense of from reading the above.
You can read instructions on the practice here: AWA Instructions
There will be a few more additions and changes to the Direct Path Links Directory in 2004.
Since this is the Experience page, I thought you might enjoy reading the following.
A few weeks ago I had a dream. In the dream Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj was teaching me how to practice feeling the ‘I Am’.
Nisargardatta only made a brief appearance in the beginning of the dream. The dream lasted a long time and consisted only of practicing feeling ‘I am’ and learning a different way to practice it. Although there were a few verbal instructions or thought instructions, mostly the instruction was non verbal. In other words, a practice had been initiated in the dream and the corrections were made automatically in the practice in the form of feeling-attention.
The practice is difficult to describe. It is like feeling ‘I am’ in the chest. However, it is not really a matter of anything physical, that is more just a place for focusing the feeling and awareness.
One of the main points in the instruction is to not expect any experience and not to allow any experience to arise. With feeling, one does not allow any experience to arise, so that there is nothing, just stillness. It is the rejection of any experience with feeling, while feeling the ‘I am’.
The reason is that any experience would be something new. One feels very subtly what already is, and not something new. What feels without any motion.
One feels feeling that which is still and allows no other feeling or experience.
I woke up from the dream. Later I went back to sleep and the new practice began again.
A few days ago I read the following from the book “I am That”:
“Those who practice the sadhana (spiritual practice) of focusing their minds on ‘I am’ may feel related to others who have followed the same spiritual practice and succeeded. They may decide to verbalize their sense of kinship by calling themselves Navnaths.”
“If you accept a Navnath Sampradaya teacher as your Guru, you join his Sampradeya. Usually you receive a token of his grace – a look, a touch, or a word, sometimes a vivid dream or a strong remembrance. Sometimes the only sign of grace is a significant and rapid change in character and behavior.”
Those of you who know me might wonder how the above would be possible since Sri Ramana Maharshi has always been my Guru.
There is only one Guru. That is the Infinite Self-Awareness within.
In the dream humans call the ‘waking state’ or in the dream humans call the ‘dream state’ there may be the appearance of a sage who appears to have a body.
As Sri Ramana Maharshi and Sri Nisargadatta have pointed out, such appearance of a body is only an illusion, a dream just as the world and the universe is only an illusion, a dream.
However, as Sri Nisargadatta has pointed out, the sage is a dream that can wake you up, and it is the teachings of the sage that are important and not the person of the guru.
When one talks about the type of sage that appears to have or did appear to have a body, then you can say that Sri Ramana Maharshi, Sri Muruganar, Sri Sadhu Om, Sri Annamalai Swami and Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj are all my teachers.
However, they are all one and that One does not have a body, it is the Self-Awareness within.
There is no need of going here and there to see some supposed sage or Guru or teacher. Their teachings can be found in books. What is important is to practice those teachings.
To physically go to see some supposed sage is to follow an indirect path. To go deep within one’s consciousness to discover the inner teacher is to follow the direct path.
If the intense desire for freedom is awakened, all that one needs spiritually will be brought to you. If there is any need for Sri Ramana Maharshi, or Sri Muruganar, Sri Sadhu Om, Sri Annamalai Swami or Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj to come to you, they will come to you.
The fact that they are no longer in a body does not matter. They never were in a body in Reality. However, there is usually no need for any such appearance.
The teachings are there, they can be practiced, the inner teacher can be discovered, and the inner teacher is Infinite-Awareness and it has no form, no body, etc.
In the dream described above, the appearance of Nisargadatta in the dream was very brief. Because the appearance of Nisargadatta in the dream was not what was important. The teaching was what was important.
Awareness watching awareness is still the primary means to Self-Abidance; however, as a way of saying thank you, ‘I’ spend a little time everyday practicing the method that was taught in the dream as described above.
I usually end what I write with the words ‘take care’. What I mean by ‘take care’ is: pay attention, be honest with yourself, slow down, be careful, be aware, challenge your beliefs and assumptions, put an end to the ego illusion, practice the Direct Path constantly, continuously, intensely, and do all that with love!