Self inquiry is the questioning, investigating, and deeply exploring the nature of the belief “I am a separate being, with a separate awareness and consciousness.” Though the word “nonduality” may not yet be mainstream, a nondual philosophy or perspective is thousands of years old.
Questions arise…. “Who or what am I? What is the brain/mind and how does it exert such a powerful influence over life? What is consciousness, it is personal, conceptual?” Are we separate selves with a separate consciousness in a world of subjects and objects?
The inquiry process appears to rattle or jolt the human brain/mind into looking at itself…examining all that was read, heard, or witnessed. Nondual inquiry highlights and exposes every perceived and cherished concept, idea, belief, and fact, including the concept of being a separate self in a discreet and tangible world of subjects and objects.
Believe it or not, there are a few pilgrims so deeply motivated to examine their beliefs, concepts, and assumptions about being a personal or separate identity, that they go to great lengths to find other nonduality seekers and pilgrims on the pathless path to commiserate with, support, and learn from.
When I learned of such a group of nonduality seekers in my area I immediately felt better and not quite so lost and alone in my search for Truth. And while the number of worldwide nonduality seekers may be small, the numbers are growing thanks to the world wide web.
Many are now discovering these powerful teachings which turn our perspectives and assumptions and beliefs upside down, just as Jesus the Christ shared with His paradoxical and seemingly impossible parables and teachings.
Indeed, NonDual Christianity is alive and well thanks to the Mystics who have passed along their teachings to us and today to a few contemporary Christian Mystics like Cynthia Bourgeault, Ph.D., and James Finley, Ph.D. who are sharing the Good News of Jesus…personal suffering is optional.
Below are a few of the most common, and most difficult, nondual inquiry questions…
- Who or what am I?
- Am I living or being lived?
- Am I thinking or am I being thought?
- Can I know my next thought?
- Where, exactly, do thoughts originate?
- Where was I before I was born?
- How do I know I was born?
- How can there be time and space if now is infinitely unfolding now, now, now?
- Who, what, and where is the witness/watcher of consciousness?
- Can a thought or a string of thoughts, do or be anything?
- The thought, “I see”… what is seeing? What sees?
- Are seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling, all sensing, occurring as consciousness?
- Is consciousness personal?
Only you can go within (self-inquiry) and search the brain/mind for all the beliefs and concepts you hold so near and dear to your personal identity. Any beliefs you hold will surely keep you lost within a personal self and insuring your continual belief that you are a separate being living within a world of exterior subjects and objects.
Nonduality teachers, sages, and awakened writers can only point towards what you already are – here – now – beyond the relative brain/mind’s projections. As with all appearances, inquiry simply arises spontaneously and uncaused and is claimed as an individual experience by an illusory separate self.
Be warned, self inquiry is for deeply serious pilgrims. If you are not interested or ready to dismantle the personal self and question all you know including all ideas, concepts, and facts about you, family, society, history, government, relationships, time, space, culture, race, sex, science, and religion…everything and anything that you think or believe or hold as true or truth.
Once the invisible threads seeming to bind you and reality together are seen and explored, and when time and space are seen as the beliefs and concepts they are, it will be obvious there was never a personal self, only a vaporous projection of an ineffable, indivisible, uncaused, spontaneously appearing nothingness projecting itself as a dreamy illusion of Itself as Itself.
Actually you are God, all appearances are God pretending to play within an illusory duality to experience the dance between self and other but we have mistakenly claimed as a personal identity in a tangible and lasting world of subjects and objects living in within time and space.