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Ramana Maharshi and AYP (Audio)
September 23, 2009
New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the archive, as previous
lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why
Q: I think there is a major point being missed in meditation approaches.
Ramana Maharshi always said that the most powerful practice is to seek out
the thought/feeling of "I."
Meditation is more of an
object/subject practice. Yes, it stills the mind, but then when meditation
is finished, guess who comes back to the forefront? The ego/mind.
constantly looking for the source of "I" even in the midst of work, play,
and even sleep, the "I" will sink down into the heart, disappear, and leave
The constant seeking out of the "I" and ignoring
everything else is the most powerful practice and is what has always been
said by Ramana, Nisargadatta, Advaita Vedanta, Yoga Vasistha, and countless
As a result of this, you will come to automatic and permanent
stillness of mind and constant meditation will become the only state.
A: Do you think the technique for refining the I-thought is not an
Non-duality teachers so often dismiss
meditation as an object/subject practice, while tying their students up in
endless loops of mental gymnastics, and call it "self-inquiry." Often it is
an object/object (mind/mind) practice, which is worse. That's not real
There is an important point being missed all right. The
process of self-inquiry (inquiring the "I") you are describing cannot be
undertaken with any degree of success until the witness quality is already
present. We cannot transcend the witness in self-inquiry until we have the
abiding stillness to do it in.
True meditation is not about object
and subject and never the twain shall meet. It is about refining object into
subject in every sitting, until only subject remains (stillness). This is
how the abiding witness is cultivated.
The process of refining the
I-thought (object) in stillness is actually meditation from the beginning.
It is what Ramana Maharshi taught, and it is an excellent practice for those
who are ready for it.
The difference between Ramana's practice and
AYP deep meditation is that it has a "meaning component," i.e., the concepts
of "I" and "inquiring" into to who or what that is. The Ramana practice is
attempting to do several things at the same time:
- Cultivating stillness through meditation on the I-thought.
- Inquiring into to who or what that "I" is, all the way to its
- Attempting to do that all day long in the midst of daily activity.
It is a bit much to take on for those who do not already have a
significant spiritual background, for those who are not already "ripe" (See
AYP breaks this same process up
into digestible components, which can be incorporated into the daily routine
one step at a time:
- Cultivation of abiding inner silence in deep meditation with a
mantra having no meaning, in two short daily sessions. It is much more
efficient than attempting to use an object with meaning all day long.
Reminder: This is no more an object/subject practice than using the
I-thought in the Ramana technique. Actually less so, because meaning is
not included. (See Lesson 13)
- Developing skill in samyama, which is the ability to release
intentions and inquiries (meaning) in stillness, both in structured
practice and as one may be inclined during the day. This integrates all
thinking and activity in stillness, enabling all of life to be
experienced as "stillness in action." (See Lesson 150)
- Incorporating structured self-inquiry into samyama practice with a
sutra such as: "I-Thought - Who am I?" Equivalents can be derived, but
it is important to settle on one for
structured practice, so the inquiry can be "baked in." This has a
profound effect on #4. (See Lesson 351)
- Inquiring during the day,
as one may be inclined, based on a strong foundation
of abiding inner silence (witness) and deep
self-inquiry, cultivated in structured practice.
Also see Lesson 350,
covering a range of self-inquiry methods for
transcending the witness. The approach
will depend on the inclinations of the
and the degree of abiding witness
Maharshi and Nisargadatta Maharaj were well aware of the importance of
"ripeness," and were supportive of practitioners undertaking whatever means
necessary to become ripe. Many of their
followers have not been nearly as understanding,
and that is why the field of non-dual self-inquiry has remained esoteric and
problematic. There is no need for this. Only an understanding of the means
for becoming ripe should be added. Then non-dual self-inquiry will become a
rich field of realization for everyone.
None of this need alter
anything you are doing now, assuming you are already ripe and happily
dissolving the "I" in the heart of non-duality. This lesson is offered for
everyone else. Ultimately, it is not about our own experience. It is about
facilitating the process for
others in the most effective
AYP is mainly concerned with helping all
people become ripe. Once that is being accomplished, the harvest is
inevitable. Jnana/advaita is a good harvesting tool.
The guru is in you.
Related Lessons Topic Path
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