- How can I be absolutely sure that I am doing the self-enquiry/self-abidance/awareness watching awareness practice right? For me the best ‘practice’ to date is a mix of sitting still, being silent, being aware of ordinary awareness, “do not think about being, you are” (Ramana Maharshi). There is not one way and a sure way supposes external validation which by definition is relative. Therefore the ‘sure’ way is that of Faith, silence, stillness, abidance along the way. Correct?
Here is what I suggest as a self enquiry and abidance practice: find whatever experiential evidence there seems to be, either at the level of thoughts, or of feelings, or of sense perceptions, that confirms that your ordinary consciousness, meaning that which is perceiving these words right now, is limited in any fashion or form, either in space or time. If you carefully examine such evidence, you will soon convince yourself beyond the shadow of a doubt that it doesn’t support at all the limited or confined consciousness theory. That will leave you in a state of not knowing who you are. Abide in this state until you notice that you have again begun to think, feel, perceive, or act from the perspective of being a limited consciousness. At this point, resume the same investigation, which should be much shorter this time, and lead to the same state of not knowing. Abide in this state for as long as it lasts. And so on, and so on. At some point, as you stabilize in this state of not knowing, the light of your own presence, the “I-I” of which Ramana Maharshi speaks in his talks, will reveal itself in his limitlessness and immortality, beyond all doubts. The guidance of a teacher is however in most cases necessary to initiate and facilitate the process, failing which you may find yourself giving up after a few first attempts, or shifting to a different type of practice..
- How can I be absolutely sure that what I have identified as Awareness is that which is referred to by books?
How do you know that you are conscious? Do you know it because you have read it in books, or do you know it from direct experience? And if you know it from direct experience, do you have any doubts about being conscious? This seemingly ordinary consciousness or awareness is precisely THE awareness all the sages talk about. It knows itself by itself, even in ignorance. The only difference is that in ignorance we believe it to be limited, whereas in wisdom we know it for what it truly is.
- Same answer to previous question, correct? - How can I be absolutely sure that the mind is not tricking me?
Do you seriously believe that consciousness is not real, that it is just a trick of the mind? Is it not your experience that consciousness is always real, never a trick, even when that which is experienced by consciousness is an illusion, as is the case in the dream state?