Location: Shanghai, CN
Hello, Francis. I am stuck. I have been following Ramana Maharshi’s teachings of self inquiry, and, at first, I was amazed by how quickly I was able to let go of thoughts. There was one instance in which I experienced being part of something so grand, but then it disappeared. Although it was brief, it was enough to fill me with such elation. I knew it was real, that this oneness existed, that all this here that I’d been living through up to this point didn’t matter. That none of this mattered, and I wanted to laugh because it was so clear, how much I couldn’t see that all made sense, and how much most of us can’t see…Laugh because I was happy. So happy. I’m sorry because I can’t adequately describe how I felt, and it was so brief. However, here I am now stuck, when asking myself, “Who am I?” I don’t believe I’m trying to recreate that same experience I had before, but I’m just in open space searching with not even a hint of what I experienced that evening. In fact, I felt I didn’t want meditate or do anything remotely spiritual for a bit. I think subconsciously I was trying to protect myself from being disappointed that what I experienced was a hoax played on me by my own mind. Like self sabotage. I find myself unable to get beyond the belief that consciousness beyond the “I” is also just a part of the brain. That there is nothing else beyond the brain, that when we die, that’s it. There is no connection or awareness or spirit after that. I try to examine what was there before the physical brain, but fail miserably. I am sorry because my explanation of what I’m experiencing is less than eloquent, but when I go into that part of the inquiry, the ground beneath me disappears and I return to doubting and fearing that there is nothing beyond the what we perceive, that there is no oneness, no bliss, no all connecting consciousness. Please help me. I don’t know what to do to get beyond this, or how to penetrate this obstacle. My mind isn’t returning to thoughts, but just stops and I seem to fall back into nothing. I don’t mean the nothing where there is just consciousness, but emptiness with no grand realization. There’s nothing. It feels like I’ve been trying to get into the funhouse at some amusement park and waited in line so long, only to enter the door that leads me directly to the back exit, and I never make it into the actual funhouse. Like it’s all a big joke. It’s so frustrating. I know the Maharshi would say to examine from where these doubts arise, and I have, but here I am, again, at the back exit. Please help.
Three suggestions that can help with your unsticking:
Instead of asking “who am I?”, try for a change to find the evidence, if any, that consciousness is limited in time or space, at least up until you are absolutely convinced that there is none. This is achievable on your own.
In order to go beyond the belief that awareness is limited because it is a by product of a limited brain, convince yourself first that your real identity is the ultimate reality, whatever that is, of this consciousness which is perceiving these words right now. Either this consciousness is its own reality, or the brain is its reality. If we assume the latter to be the case, we have to ask the next question: what is the ultimate, the “real” reality of the brain? It will become clear that the brain is not its own reality, and that the reality of the brain must be the reality of the universe and of the other brains. It will be clear by then that the reality of consciousness is the ultimate reality of all things. Our real I is the reality of all things. That’s it, no need to go further. Stay there.
Allow for this understanding to gently sink deeper and deeper into all the realms of your human experience, to permeate all the thoughts of your mind and all the cells of your body.