There is a deeper consciousness inside everyone, hidden beneath layers of thoughts, feelings and desires.
This consciousness is like a strong bulb of light, hidden by covers upon covers of thoughts, feelings, desires, worries and fears. The purpose of self-inquiry meditation is to remove the covers, and let this bulb of light – this consciousness, shine unhindered.
After removing the covers, your consciousness and awareness of yourself will expand, and you would begin to experience more and more moments of happiness, bliss and inner peace in your life.
The process of removing the covers hiding your inner consciousness is like taking off the colored glasses, which distort the vision, and starting to see things as they really are.
When you remove the covers that hide your vision, you start to see life and reality as it is, without filters, leading you to greater understanding of yourself and of life and of the world.
What are the covers that you need to remove?
These are worries, fears, negative thoughts, futile thoughts, limiting thoughts, and your attachment to meaningless matters and negative habits and situations.
How do you remove them so you can see and think clearly, and become aware of the powerful, happy and unlimited consciousness within you?
How do you remove the covers hiding your deeper consciousness – your essence? You do this by removing the layers upon layers of thoughts, beliefs, feelings and desires hiding your true self, just like removing a pair of colored glasses with distorting lenses.
The process of removing the covers is called self-inquiry. It has been made available to the public through the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi, who lived in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Below, you will find a simplified version of how to follow the process of self-inquiry meditation.
How to Practice Self-Inquiry Meditation – Guidance and Instructions
Below, you will find a few simple steps to follow, which will help you peel and remove the obstacles that hide the light of your inner consciousness. This is a simple and uncomplicated process, but you need to repeat it often, at least once a day, to get results.
Unlike other processes, self-inquiry takes you in a straight line toward your goal.
While practicing this meditation, do not analyze each thought, worry and fear. You will learn to detach yourself from them, and not allow them to occupy your awareness.
1. Find a place where you can be alone and undisturbed for at least ten minutes.
2. Sit down comfortably and relax your body. Pay attention to each tensed muscle and relax it. Do so for a few moments.
3. Calmly, watch your thoughts as they come and go. All you need to do is to be aware of your thoughts, but refrain from identifying with them, getting involved with them, following them, or becoming immersed in them.
4. As each thought enters your mind and tries to claim your attention, ask yourself to whom does this thought belong and who is thinking it. You need to do so with every thought that enters your mind.
After some time, you will begin to realize that most of the thoughts come from the outside, and you do not actually need to think them.
5. Do not analyze the thoughts or think about them. Just ask the above-mentioned questions without even using words. The answer to these questions needs to come through your intuition and insight, not through mental discussion.
6. This process would be easier, if you treat each thought with detachment and lack of interest, as if watching a boring movie. You should also be careful not to follow the thoughts that enter your mind.
7. You will discover that you repeatedly forget these instructions and go after your thoughts, and you should repeatedly bring back your attention to this meditation. Your strongest ally here is your perseverance.
If you continue with this meditation for some time, you will discover that you can detach yourself from your worries and restless thinking. This will allow you to be aware of the deep and wide consciousness within you, which was hidden until now.
The important point to remember while practicing the self-inquiry meditation is to detach yourself from your thoughts. Maintaining this attitude, would give you power over your thoughts and desires, and enable you to silence your mind.
The ability to silence your thoughts would lead to inner peace, inner awakening, and becoming conscious of your “True Self” – “Inner Awareness”.
This self-inquiry meditation would gradually remove whatever covers your Inner Self, and let it shine unhindered by any covers. It will be like removing all the stuff that is covering a strong bulb of light, and allowing its light shine brightly.
“The degree of freedom from unwanted thoughts and the degree of concentration on a single thought are the measures to gauge spiritual progress.”
– Ramana Maharshi
In time, if you repeat the self-inquiry meditation every day, you will discover that your mind is becoming quieter, sharper, less restless, and producing fewer useless and meaningless thoughts and worries.
You will also discover that the compulsion to think and follow every thought is beginning to wane. You will also find out that you are starting to experience the sweet taste of inner peace in your everyday life, during work, at home, in comfortable situations and in difficult situations.
“The consciousness in you and the consciousness in me, apparently two, really one, seek unity and that is love.”
– Nisargadatta Maharaj
“By the practice of meditation, you will find that you are carrying within your heart a portable paradise.”
– Paramahansa Yogananda
If you liked reading this article, and wish to gain inner peace and control of your mind and thoughts, and allow the light of your inner consciousness shine through, I highly recommend reading and practicing the advice and exercises in the following books: