27 February 2010

Dearest Ed,
the last saturday I awoke in the morning with a clear sense of 'I am': if You remember, before this experience, I was not able to find it. 

So I was stunned and began to focus with intensity upon 'I am':

Peace, sometimes bliss, quiet mind but upon all curious experiences in which inner structures seemed to dissolve and after, sometime, an unspeakable condition without separation, without feeling of 'I am' which lasted a while and then all the process began again.
In these moments it seems there is unity with 'I am', but really there isn't 'I am'.

I meditated like this 4 days: I wanted to dissolve totally the feeling of 'I am' so to reach the 'ego death'.

Thuesday, reading your 'first awakening', I realized You are right! the feeling of 'I am' is only a feeling, not of 'I' but of 'Amness' without I!

not only that, I was identified with desire to dissolve the feeling of 'Amness' but in Truth I was witnessing everything, always, and 'Amness' is only an experience that I witness like body and mind.

I also witness and I am beyond the unspeakable condition of non separation without concepts! So, once again, I realized that all these happenings have nothing to do with me...

Now I can put attention upon 'Amness' but I know I am beyond this feeling and so I don't do it; instead in sitting meditation I, again, do nothing: all happen by itself:
silence gradually deepens (a silence without bottom, so peaceful) and sometime a strong bliss from all the body come out; I rest in myself as myself.

Every comment is welcomed...
with gratitude,


Very good Loris. Now you must become well acquainted without mistake about that resting in yourself.  

20 February 2010

From some of the remarks from people who write to you, it seems an error that some make is they read a particular book or listen to a particular teacher for a short time and overgeneralize what they read or hear. 

Papaji is probably one of the most misunderstood advaita gurus.  His primary teaching was to sit at his feet and surrender to the sage / the Self.  He never, 
never, advocated that everyone drop sadhana en masse.  He did direct some people to stop practicing pranayama or other techniques that he felt had served their purpose with those particular individuals.  To others, he recommended a wide variety of practices, in each case, based on the maturity of the student.  He prescribed everything from self inquiry, devotion and seva to painting and dancing.  He would tell one person to do one thing and another to do the exact opposite.

All good teachers personalize their message to each particular student.  Ramana was no different.  He once told a woman who had left the Catholic church to return to it and worship Christ.  She apparently followed his advice, with good results.  People who read something that Papaji or some other guru said to one individual or within a certain limited context and think that this advice applies universally are mistaken.

The best, most effective teaching is the one that will help the student in question to introvert the mind and drop all of their erroneous beliefs.  That is why it is important to have living, breathing teachers like you, Ed.  You give general guidelines and signposts to follow but also address the individual needs of each student.  This is good.  The world could benefit from fewer books lecturers and more realized teachers.


I feel before consciousness comes back, there is one kind of awareness in which nothing is felt, meaning the outside noises, the feelings, perceptions, thoughts , images etc etc nothing at all except that I am always aware, meaning I always felt I am at it. I have no idea however how time passed. Time becomes a non event. There is awareness as to my existence yet no awareness of time or the passage of it.

The awareness of existence takes place when intense joy is felt like fountains of pure joy spurting all over my body yet during that time there is no memory of where I am, nor what I am. There is no memory as to where I am meditating either in room or office or which room and in which position.  Once memory takes over fully and it takes a little time for it to fully return, so does the IAM ness return.
However the little gap between memory returning and no memory is real ME. That ME is the original state and precedes consciousness (memory).

Many times in office during afternoons as I just lie down, I very often lose memory whether I am at office or at home or whether I am lying or sitting. I have no memory for just that few moments YET something made me aware that "I remain" even without the memory of whom I am or where I am. As memory takes a firm grip I become fully conscious. With memory returning there is a self-knowing mechanism which tells me that "I exist" even without that memory. The return of memory marks the return of IAM ness again.

Many pranams,
Your Servant,Publish Post
Rajiv kapur


Yes, what most call consciousness is really just the mind. When the mind leaps forth from the resting state, all the trouble begins. I Am. The world. 

The world, the body, I Am are apparent only. As Robert said, an optical illusion.

I am glad to watch your "experiences" and understanding deepen and unfold. The neo advaitins say spiritual states come and go, and the only constant quality is ordinary mind, and by that they mean the ordinary, unawakened mind.
Dear Ed,

State of absence is really really confortable and natural. Nothing extraordinary or fancy though: no big lights, no seeing of gods, no divine bliss, no kundalini energy shaking the body... but a sense of clear repose, deep contentment, silence, less involvement, unknown certainty... Indeed it is not the absolute not-knowing but still already basic happyness is flowing, one feels like positively practicing, at last.

It is indeed pretty simple but at the same time so different from ordinary confusion of consciousness and mind does not want to give up so easily. 

I just stay there abiding into the spiritual center that seems most natural in the moment, in parallel dropping the mind, letting go of ego construct, relaxing solidity,  becoming transparent, becoming no-one, practicing a lot with joyful dedication.

I continue to deepen understanding and absorbtion but being content with what is now.

I can not thanks enough for your precious clarifications Ed! Somehow I always knew what to do, but in my vast stupidity I need Teachers to clear my billion doubts.
Now I learn to follow my inner intuition that is always going to guide me on the most effective and natural path I am sure...



19 February 2010

Some thoughts on Awareness Watching Awareness.

For some reason, many people continue writing me for more information about Langford’s technique which he calls awareness watching awareness. I have stated the reasons I don’t like this method FOR MOST practitioners. If your questions regarding my opinion are not answered below or in the practice section on the itisnotreal.com website, please write to Michael Langford for clarification. I never practiced this technique.

First, his book is nothing more than a meditation manual and a promise. The promise is if you practice this method by giving it a good chance, and he says six months is not a good chance, you will have some success.

But he never states what that success or goal is, outside of the title of the book, eternal bliss. No guideposts are listed nor experiential map. He does not state what his own experiences were, or where the practice led him. There are no email transcripts where he directs students from step to step. So to practice his method, one has to depend totally on faith on Michael to obtain some unknown goal.

At least with Ramana’s method, which Michael said he never could figure out how to practice, we have a known quantity, namely Ramana himself and the lineage he started including Robert Adams. The same for Nisargadatta.

Next, the technique itself is vague and confusing. He says you must become aware of awareness.

What does this mean? It sounds like either there are two awarenesses, or you have to split one awareness into two.

Other times he uses the phrase “aware of consciousness,” and describes “awareness” as the background of everyday consciousness.

By now, if I were a beginner, I’d be very confused, because that background could be the sense of “me” that many meditators experience as a dark-heaviness in and behind the body, it could be the void, which is the essence of consciousness and which contains everything. But it could also mean the totality of consciousness perceived or apprehended as a whole. Being aware of that totality, or being aware of the Void is the same as the Zen meditation called Shikantaza, which requires much patience.

Again, he gives few examples in real life as to what he means. This is a major, major weakness. He might in some other writings or a blog, but I have not searched more for detail from him. The book by itself is incomplete.

Also, this is hardly a beginner’s technique, in that he invented it after failing to perform self-inquiry in terms of locating an I Am sense for 27 years! That is, he had performed all sorts of self-inquiry methods including asking who am I, and also trying to find the tactile sense of I Am, and failed. One can be assured though that after 27 years of practice, he was quite sophisticated.

Now, I would agree his method has great promise, if by being aware of awareness, he meant becoming aware of consciousness as a whole AFTER one has become one with the sense of I AM and has attained unity consciousness, or after one has gone beyond I Am, and is observing the totality of that which is as an observer. However, this is near the conclusion of the path rather rather than the beginning.

The problem is the consciousness/body knot usually felt in the heart or belly (Hara), which is the seat of the ego and I Am. Unless that knot is specifically seen through, no permanent liberation can be obtained. It appears Michael was not aware of this knot or he would have immediately called it “I Am.” It is extremely forceful and attention getting, unless you have practiced too much meditation on the background, and become very familiar with the Void. Void meditation will make everything else seem inconsequential, such as the I Am, even when it is not. Voidness meditation  skips the step of isolating and following the I Am.

Comparatively, self-inquiry as outlined here, is finding the I-sense and attending to it, watching it, allowing merger with it, falling back into it, and discovering what you thought to be the I-sense actually changes over time, and the practice is to stay with that that feels like you as the subject. Cling to the I no matter how it changes.

For many the I Am appears to be the knot. For others later in their practice, the Void. For others, the witness, and also the witness of the witnessing duality. Stay with the one that feels most like you even as it changes. Then when you become clear, you can always be aware of the looker, and then rest in the looker, become the looker.

Now Michael may mean by AWA, to have the looker, look at the looker.  However, he does not state ever that you are to look for the subject. He creates a dichotomy of awareness watching awareness, but never states there is a looker, or subject, witnessing the totality of consciousness as an object.

Therefore, I find his method confusing for any but advanced meditators who can look for the looker, or more easily, as in Shikantaza, sit in quietness, sitting in silence within ones present experience, doing nothing.

But his method misses the broad road of attending to the I Am. Once the I Am sense is found, a path directly to total liberation is clearly (I should say, more clearly) laid out and is much easier to follow.

Much else of Michael's book is powerful. Read slowly, stop, ponder and then meditate on the words. Also he describes how the ego (which he also says does not exist), will constantly try to stop you from proper reading and practice. He says the more you practice the better.

This is so true. I even have people who practice 2 hours a day ask me if that isn't too much, that there might be some danger in 2 hours of daily practice.

The more you can practice the better, formal sitting and informally stopping throughout the day to get in touch with that I Am sense.  Just the sheer amount of practice engenders spiritual power, Joriki, which allows the mind to settle closer to the root consciousness.

Namaste dear Ed,

Thank you for your site - it's precious to read the dialogues here and know there are others out there on this strange path.

I hope you can help me with some long held and difficult to eradicate doubt. Please excuse me if this is long - it feels helpful to put it all down.

I was fortunate to be with Papaji (Sri Poonja) in Lucknow during the whole of 1994. I had a major scooter accident whilst there and sustained a head injury that catapulted me right out of normal consciousness. I couldn't speak and had my memory wiped for sometime. I suppose it was a classic near death experience, but it was also an epiphany. There was a feeling 'this is it'. It took a long time to integrate and function normally.

When I found out about Papaji I was 24 and doing intense training to become a yoga teacher. I left all that to go to Him. I did not have a real desire to teach, I just wanted to find 'the answers'. After contacting Papaji's teaching of 'finish sadhana, make no effort' I was sure that that would be the end of the yoga practice. However in the following years I was constantly put into situations where I wound up teaching yoga. For many years it's been my full time profession.

About 5 years ago now I had a phase of extremely disturbing phenomena I can only call kundalini - insomnia due to fiery energy coursing my spine, head-splitting migraines, hypersensitivity, dizziness, a feeling like electricity in my body. I even had a full seizure at one point. This phase of phenomena lasted about 3 years. I have had intermittent phenomena since, though right now it feels stable.

During these times I've only had recourse to the words of Papaji, Ramana and Nisargadatta, and trust that it will pass. What I most want is to continue to focus on Self and to let it do its work. My question is, is there something I'm missing? Is it enough? Will the I dissolve by itself?

Also - several factors are also making me question this profession of yoga teaching, and until now it has felt impossible to find a useful sounding board for what I've been experiencing. Because yoga has always been tied up with notions of truth for me, several times I've found the work becomes a kind of satsang. This became more or less a formal satsang a few times, where I felt a particular space open up with the students and the quality of the communication was completely different. However then it wouldn't feel true - to advise the students to practice (asana) - and to feed this whole concept of process and 'becoming'. 

Also physically, the focus on asana - which is generally what I'm expected to teach as a yoga teacher - feels like it keeps me bound and involved with the body. My body has a succession of complaints and no longer feels nourished by what I do. But if it is the service I'm here to do, then so be it... I always wanted to asked Papaji about this.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.
yours in Truth,




Has making no effort all these years resulted in anything dissolving?

Ramana never said do nothing. Nisargadatta never said do nothing. Robert never said do nothing. They all emphasized self-inquiry. This is homework. 

In fact, this is what most people do with regard to spiritual work--nothing.

I never read a Papaji book so I don't know what he advised. If he advised abiding in the self, he advised correctly, but learning how to abide in the self means learning what the self is which means digging around inside your subjectivity.

If you are meant to be a yoga teacher, perhaps that is why the feeling of Satsang arises. This has been your accidental life's work to now. If not this, then what?

True, teaching yoga does make you think about the body too much, but it also provides asana that increase mental power for meditation.

To all that you are doing now, I merely ask you as a test, to download the Nisargadatta Gita and Autobiography of a Jnani. Read the Hunting the I section or AOJ, and print out the Gita. Read it every morning, about 4-5 verses. No more. Contemplate it and then meditate on it while in Padmasana for 30 minutes. Do this every morning and report back in two weeks.


18 February 2010

Hello Ed,

I've found my true master, who is guiding me all day long.
Let's call it consciousness as what I feel or see, seems to
match the descriptions that I find in spiritual texts.

When the attention is focused on consciousness, the thoughts
loose their power and it's like I'm falling asleep but still awake.
I clearly feel this technic that I remember you named "hara" or
something like this, with this energy descending in the belly and
this feeling of becoming completly stupid.

Yet, in my experience, I find that this stupidity is in fact really
bright, alive, because the hypnotic, repetitive, and disgusting part
of the tought process falls alseep while life itself fills in the gasp.

Finally, one becomes infinitly more intelligent, loving, attentive,
quite, still, than when constantly trying to battle and fix the thoughts.

The toughts are always promising salvation, better moments, in the future, or turn back to nostalgy when the present or future are dark.

The problem is that the very thinking about past and future is putting oneself in complete darkness itself. As you said, "imaginary space".

It's like hypnosis. A compulsive energetic movement towards "I". "I this", "I that", and then when "I" get born, "others" get born, "he this", "she that", then  the world gets born, the policitcs, and so on, and so on.

In my last observations, I see the so called "Ego" as a moving energy, or, I'd rather say, energy blockages which the body is tirelessly trying to push away. Sometimes one can feel the ego in the brain, next moment in the belly, in the muscles. It's just a bad play of energy happening, even a disease seems to be like that.

Even more, I feel sometimes that my body is not limited to the visible body. I perceive energy movements outside of me, very subtle ones, particularly in front of me. And I observed that the ego energy was taking source here, outside the body. Well, maybe it's only a matter of viewpoint.

What is terrible with this mind/consciousness game, because it's nothing but a game, is that as soon as the "I" gets born, it begins to scratch and the hypnotic compulsion to fix things, "problems", appear.

Practice consists in losing this bad habit and staying quite in consciousness, beeing 200% trustfull with her, and more important than that, to see absolutly that *nothing else* can bring fullfilment in life. Nothing, no friendship, no wife or husband, no job, no status or fame. Staying in the arms of consciousness is the only fullfilment, anything else is bonus.

What is even more funny is to be more detached with day to day life. I'm still a computer engineer doing my job as good as I can, and I see how the others are involved in their story. Maybe I'm wrong about them, because it's not that easy to know how much one is involved just by watching his or her actions. I'm myself involved sometimes, but less often than before. Much less. I know my path back "home".

Thats's why I began this email by saying that I've found my true master. Not that your help is unnecessary, because it *is* to me. Who else can talk about this around me ? Nobody, you know.

Your light is much appreciated in this life.

Thank you for reading, Ed, and again for the website which is a gold mine for any thirsty human beeing,



Hi Ed. You know that experience I had last e-mail of sliding inward, feeling I had found the I am to focus on! Well, I tried repeating the experience, and I couldn't - so I had assumed I had lost it! So I was back at the drawing board, testing what I had done. You see when I would practice, to me being, was just that, not someone being, just sitting, no mind movement, whatever the experience that was left, to me was being. Now this might have been the sensation of the body. So I said to myself why don't I just move back and include this "feeling of me" that is always there. Then I remembered a few experiences I had, when I had become conscious between sleep and awakening. Then, I was the "feeling of me" the existence part was a given - I knew I was, I just didn't know who I was, no life story! So in comparison, this feeling is exactly the same as " the feeling of me" I have found through testing. It is the same same "feeling of me" before any add-ons like my name my life story etc. It is kind of embarassing, in that this "feeling of me" was right under my nose all the time! So I tested it, and compared it to the "being feeling" I used to focus on - and I found the feeling of me would give me the inner feeling (not the slipping feeling yet!), but much more of an effect than the "being feeling". Also you said the "I feeling", and the "I am feeling" of Nisargadatta were both the Ego - which is our target - right? 

I also remember, during the sliding inward, that I was oscillating back in forth between I and being (what I thought was the I am). So the "I feeling" could have been responsible for the sliding inward.

Have I finally got it with this "I feeling" ? Do you think , that what I thought was the I am was actually the body's presence and not the presence of the I. I think I got it this time Ed, I just need your confirmation. Thanks Ed.




When practicing the I Am meditation, don't jump to conclusions.

Your experiences will change over time, the more you practice and develop discrimination.

There are many false I's, like the ego, or the knot where consciousness appears attached to the body in the heart area.

So don't ask about correct phenomena or incorrect. Just stay with the feeling/sensation that feels most like you NOW, and do that all the time. 

Many "I Am" posers will arise. Stay with each until the real, unchanging subject is revealed.



This is a perfect approach "just stay with the feeling/sensation that feels most like you Now, and do that all the time, stay with each until the real , unchanging subject is revealed". 

Now I feel I have the proper approach to practice. Thanks very much Ed, this makes a great deal of sense to me now.


16 February 2010


Hello Sir!

It is very nice to hear from you!! 

I am doing well. I sit mostly at night time and probe the sense 'I Am' for 20 minutes a sitting, which is much more formal and longer in duration than my previous practice. I also try to sit in the morning however I generally have to wake up early (I work at Starbucks), but I hope to slowly incorporate a consistent formal sitting then too.  I hope to be sitting consistently both morning and evening soon.   

I have been experimenting with a pranayama technique called 'spinal breathing' for several minutes before each sitting to help relax the mind, and to build a 'head of steam' as you call it. I found the technique at the AYP.org website written by Yogani, have you heard of AYP? It has some interesting forums, and techniques.  I found it when I searched Google to see how popular 'Autobiography of a Jnani' was.  

Do you think this practice is beneficial?  I feel like I should have asked you before starting, but I was curious about pranayama, especially since Rajiv spoke often about it (I was one of the many that e-mailed him) so I thought I would try for a bit just to see what happens. So far, when doing it, I notice a deeper sense of bodily and mental relaxation going into my sittings, but I have only been doing it for maybe two weeks and am still getting the technique down.

RESPONSE: No, focus only on the I Am. The breath control comes automatically with concentration on the I Am. All pranayama practices can cause kriya type experiences which can be dangerous. Notice Rajiv advises AGAINST pranayaman practices and he had 12 years experience.

During sittings I sometimes get the impression I can 'see through' my eye-lids, like I can open and close my eyes even with them closed.  When I 'open' them I can see the outline of my body, and sometimes other shapes in the room, and when I 'close' them I see only moving darkness.  Sometimes outside of meditation, when I doze off, I observe a state where there is witnessing of thoughts, but no perception of the world.  I know I have a body, but I'm not aware of it or the world. I'm only aware of the thoughts that pertain to the world and the body Ryan Altman.  

The pressure in my third-eye area is more intense and prolonged now. Only a little attention on the area or a thought causes pressure to occur.  It mostly occurs on it's own. It happens a lot in the mornings when I ride the bus to work, or read spiritual literature or think intently on spiritual thoughts.

RESPONSE: Also, forget the Third Eye. It, along with pranayama, are kintergarten practices that cause sensations and energies that have nothing to do with awakening, except to make it take longer because you get distracted by experiences.

The other day when coming home from work I had the realization that I was unchanging.  The world and the consciousness in front was in constant flux, but 'me' at the background was steady and unchanging in it's perception of consciousness.  The question immediately came 'Who witnesses all this? These thoughts, this body?' and I 'sank' back into that background awareness.  I came home and was speaking with my Mother and it didn't feel like I was speaking, it didn't feel like I was standing there. It was all sort of just happening and I was watching, but not participating in it. The state faded soon thereafter when I became engaged in more strenuous activity around dinner time.  I think this was my first taste of the 'watcher' state.

RESPONSE: This is where you need to spend your efforts. This is right on. 


I will focus solely on the 'I Am'.  I'm sorry I strayed from your instruction. 


SIr, I can't stop chuckling.  Throughout the day things that once used to bother me now just make me laugh.  The mind manipulates perception to give the appearance that you act or feel a certain way, but it isn't so. It's just playing games with you.  What I am is always silently watching what's going on in front of me.  It really is like a movie.  I cannot say that I still do not identify with the body, thoughts, or what's going on in the 'movie' but I am becoming more aware of the way the mind functions to give the perception of a body, thoughts, etc. that belong to 'me'.  

As I result, I am beginning (at least intellectually) to identify more with consciousness as a whole.  It isn't exactly natural yet, but I've been identifying with my body for so long that it will obviously take some time before it once again becomes natural to see the totality of consciousness as 'me' rather than just the body and it's thoughts.  

Michael James' Chapter 8 has made this all even more clear, Sir, and I cannot thank you enough for pointing me towards it. I read it before but it didn't really sink in until now. I look forward to reading Chapter 9.  Thank you again for everything.

Dear Ed,

Practicing on the hara or the heart center seem very different. Heart center appears like a horizontal meeting into the sense of presence, when the hara a vertical dropping of oneself into the void. Is it better to choose one of those two centers to dive within or depending on moments attention can shift from one to the other? At the moment it is difficult to imagine that they are leading to the same goal.

Dzogchen practice is to abide in that state of presence which is the common note to any experience (even the experience of emptiness), is that the same method that you describe as abiding in the ultimate subject?

This document of yours is a beautiful gift for seekers, I cannot relate to many of Rajiv experiences though, as my experience is pretty simple: more or less crystalised sense of me, sense of presence, occasional transparence, silence and movement... 

With Gratitude



It is of no value to ask how one technique from one tradition compares to another technique in another tradition.

It just leads to increased conceptualization and is a distraction.

The Hara techniques leads to different experiences from the heart technique, but in the end, you are beyond them all.

It is like comparing push ups with sit ups, the feeling is different, but in the end, you are not the body at all. You are not the body or the experiences at all. You are trying to explore your inner world and find it is not you, and by finding what is not you, you eventually find the pure you.

Try the Hara technique, it is deeper.


To Me:

Dear Ed,

Diving into the sense of presence is really natural and blissful, when the mind is totally focused it feels like geting absorbed into sleep. This diving into the presence appears to be directed more into the heart center but I do not need to focus specifically in a center and just dive in I Am. I feel that I could in sometime just abide there and be absorbed most of the time. Let's see.  

In sitting meditation I do direct attention into the hara, like you say that's much more dramatic, I can feel even strained by the exercice. I can experience at the same time that something is attracting me down, and on the other something is preventing me to drop totally, I suppose I have to practice more and more letting go for the grip to loosen up.

It appears that my presence and actually everything experienced is surounded by silence, this silence is more or less heavy, does the mind will surrender more and more into that silence and finally the understanding will dawn that I am that?

With Gratitude as always,



You are making good progress.

Actually, being aware of the coming and going of sleep is the best you can do, as the awareness of the sleep state is of nothingness, because the body is not functioning producing conscioiusness. Therefore you are experiencing one nothingness state in deep sleep. It is not a waste of time at all. Enjoy not knowing anything. 


13 February 2010

Don't waste precious time like this student. Life is brief.

Hello Ed,

Thank you for your website Ed, the talks by Robert Adams are fascinating.

For the past two years I have been studying the teachings of Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta Maharaj and others. On the recommendation of those teachers I have attempted to practice self-inquiry. Unfortunately, I have not had the sense that these attempts at self-inquiry have meant much, the practice has only confused me and I find that I am not drawn to it, at least at this time.

Instead I am interested in "opening the third eye", according to you the result being the illumination of inner space and eventually an awarness of the "clear light of the void". I am interested in part because of past meditation experiences (doing anapanasati) in which inner flashes of light and clarity occured to me. I have already tried practicing focusing my attention on the light behind the "third eye" since reading about this on your website. Afterwards I felt pleasantly expanded and clearer.

My question is about what this process of opening the third eye means exactly. As I take it from your website, discovering the void is important in the path to realization, after peering into the void the practice of self-inquiry is needed to find the ultimate witness of the void and all consciousness.

What is the void exactly? Is it okay to postpone inquiry until this point on the path or should I still make attempts at doing it right now also? And what preliminary experiences should I expect in practicing opening the third eye?

On a side note, before going to sleep, I have begun to listen to chanting (OM) by your recommendation. It is quite relaxing, thank you.



The void has many guises. Sometimes people describe it as darkness.

But by void, I mean you always feel everything is surrounded and contained in an empty mental space that is self-illumined. The void is an element of consciousness that extends everywhere. But the void is as unreal as everyday consciousness. What you want to know is that which perceives both the void and the world.

To find THAT which perceives the world, you need to go backwards and retreat into the sense of I-ness.

Attached is the Nisargadatta Gita. Download it, print it out and read it every morning for a bit. Ponder the words, meditate on the I Amness.

Read chapter eight of the attached book the Path of Sri Ramana.

Don't get too distracted by the void. Do it, but self enquiry is far more powerful if you do it right.


Thank you Ed for your timely reply,

I will try to do what you advise but the problem with self-inquiry is that I have found no satisfaction in it, there is no intuitive sense that it is a meaningful practice. Of course, I may just have been practicing it incorrectly and probably was but is it common for beginners to be discouraged with self-inquiry? How do I know I'm making progress with it?



Yes, because they do not know how to practice it.

They think it a simple repetition of questioning, "Who Am I?," or they can't get ahold of a sense of I Am. Some maybe are not ready for it because they don't want to look inside themseleves.

Self inquiry consistes of reading the right things, pondering, introspection, and meditation, maybe for many years. It is the only method I practiced. The Third Eye opened because of it.

If you want to learn how to concentrate on a candle flame, you can learn how to do that one pointedly in a week, but you'll never get anything out of it.

Self-inquiry is like a life of psychotherapy, attention, focus, and thinking precision. It is high level difficult stuff.


From K.

The "I am" is the primary thought that precedes all conceptual thinking. So, it makes sense that Ramana said the "I am" is the first to wake up out of sleep and then the world follows.

Following that logic, is it correct that the "I am" is the very last thought before drifting into sleep? If so, it would make sense to me.


Makes sense. I never thought about it.

From K.

Perhaps self-inquiry can be practiced by going to the edge of sleep and abiding in that state with a mind keen in identifying the "I am".


That is very difficult to do.

It is better to immerse oneself i the feeling I Am when fully awake because you can do that anytime, not just the moments before and after sleep.

From K.

There is a feeling mostly associated with the chest, torso and arms that is constant throughout the day, the mind rests in that when thinking is quieted and nearing sleep, this must be the feeling "I am"?

Ramana said with a little practice self-inquiry can be done even in the midst of activity, Annamalai swami who was a devotee of Ramana's and considered enlightened in his own right said self-inquiry must be done constantly or it does not work. Working almost any job requires almost uninterrupted thinking, I don't see how inquiry could be practiced in the midst of work rather just when sitting and meditating?

Thanks. K.


I am is the feeling that you exist. It is also called a sense of presence. But it is also the one who witnesses. Maybe that is how you experience I Am, but it doesn't sound like it.

You read too much and form too many opinions on too slim a basis.

Just read the Gita and let nature take its course.

Meditation for the sake of meditation WILL PRODUCE NO USEFUL RESULT WHATSOEVER.


From K.


I have been reading the Gita and meditating these past few days but I cannot seem to be able to get at this "I am" sense. I have been trying to do this for just over two years now ever since I was touched learning about the life of Sri Ramana Maharshi, so its not like I'm squirming like an impatient child. There simply does not seem to be a thought "I". Sure, I know I exist and it is easy enought to examine that fact but that knowing or feeling is amorphous and can't be pin-pointed. If the point is mental quietness there are various ways to get at this I don't understand what makes self-inquiry so special. It seems futile to me.




Yes, the knowing and feeling I Am cannot be pinpointed. It is amophous and it is different from the thought I. This is what to focus on. Try "falling backwards" into the feeling, as if it were a background.

That you cannot perceive an I thought is astounding because it is only a thought like any other, except all other thoughts are connected to it.

If you cannot perceive the I thought, you are unlikely to be able to perceive any thought. Is this true?

The Void is just another phenomena, like anything in existence.


From K.

I've got it now. It took me just a few moments imagining falling backward. I suppose it was just to obvious for me to get right away.

The I seems to be both a thought and a bodily sensation.


Yes focus on the sensation, and also try to fall backwards into the sensation. Play with it. Get to know it.


From K.

Hello Ed,

Contemplating the I yesterday I was struck by an urge in the form of a query: what does it mean to observe/be aware? The inner question focused my efforts in investigating the I from casually noticing to deep meditation and enjoyment. I understand even more why Sri Ramana advised his devotees to ask themselves who am I, there is a potent emotional force in wanting to know what it means to exist.

My question to you however, is more mundane and one you must get asked a lot. Why is it that so many seek after self-realization or enlightenment and fail, even after spending many decades meditating? Could it be simply that those many nameless failed meditators never turned away from inner and outer objects toward the subject? Also, why are there those such as Osho, who are considered realized (Osho even by Adams apparently) and yet lack basic integrity? Another example being this Adi Da character. The first personage I associated non-dualism with was (besides the buddha) Ramana Maharshi who was a great example of kindness, patience, honesty and humility. I find it hard to believe such immoral characters could have been realized. These may seem like petty questions to you but I am sincerely curious.




This is a complicated subject that would take about 30 pages to explain. I recomend reading Michael James Happiness and the Art of Being (which is attached to this email)-attached.

Sometimes just small changes in a way a person practices self inquiry can make a huge difference. So you have to play around with it.

A true guru really has little involvement with the world and he would usually be indifferent to what is happening around him, from chaos to sweetness. The point is, don't judge, because any judgment is based on a conventional viewpoint, and a truly enlightened being will piss everyone off because they are beyond convention.


From K.

Hi Mr. Muzika,

I wonder what importance you place on absorption states or samadhis?

Michael James says that self-inquiry, practiced correctly, should bring about a state of thoughtless clear self-conscious awareness. In other words samadhi.

Which leads the question that given the fact that samadhi or absorption can be gained through, say, focusing on the breath rather than the I sense of what great importance is the I sense if samadhi is the goal?

You have suggested that I play with the I sense, which must mean observe it in relation to thought and the body. You wrote in your previous email to me that sometimes small changes in the way self-inquiry is practiced can make a huge difference. So, I'm guessing you don't place much importance in the thoughtless state called samadhi.




Don't you see you are raising all kinds of irrelevant-to-enlightenment questions?

They are good questions in their own right, but you have an endless amount of them, which means you are doing far more thinking than using the mind to discover your true nature and awaken.

Are you really interested in awakening?


From K.

Hi Ed,

 I'm dead-set on awakening.

I don't really care about any of the questions I asked you in my last e-mail, you replied quickly before and I was taking advantage of that, basically, for my entertainment.

Sorry, I shouldn't waste your time, I read your blog and see that you help a lot of serious people. I apologize and I hope you take me seriously when I say I'm dead-set on awakening. You don't know how happy your website has made me.

I have been meditating more and I've come to what I think is a better understanding of self-inquiry.

I can notice the I-sense passively in association with my body and I can concentrate on the feeling. Noticing passively, the I-sense feels basically concentrated in a straight line from the top of my head to my groin area in the front of my body. When I notice it I have a thought of it like white, or light, if you will. Noticing the I-sense passively I notice how it relates to thinking which imposes itself on it and mixes with it, so to speak. I can "fall backward" and allow the I-sense to come in more clearly throughout the body, like whiteness taking over.

I spend more time concentrating on the feeling because it is much more enjoyable. When I do this I don't really experience the I-sense in association with the body, I experience it as simply awareness as opposed to thought. Like a mirror, a constant reflection with temporary bits of thought like dust obscuring it. There is a very satisfying sense of clarity at certain moments concentrating on the I-sense deeply like this. I know this self-awareness is the feeling that is returned to between periods of being lost in thought and is actually constant, with thought moving about, again, mixing with it, so to speak.

Intuitively, I have also started meditating on the perception of the body itself, as if to make my perception of my body disappear. A sense of hollowness, mainly in my abdomen, has been developing and it feels right to make it increase throughout the body. I feel that if I could meditate an entire day on this feeling I could make it go away, at least temporarily, though I might be deluded in that thought. I experience this hollowness as darkness or blackness, in contrast to the white line of the I-sense, which again, goes in a straight line from the top of my head to my groin area in the front of my body. I have found myself unable to experience my body in as many ways as before, if that makes any sense to you. Also, I'm afraid to meditate too long this way because it creates an uncomfortable sensation at the bottom of my spine and odd feelings of inner movement.

I also spend about ten or fifteen minutes a day meditating on the third eye as you recommend, because of the interesting effects you said this would produce.

Does any of this mean anything to you? Am i making any sense here?

As a pointless side question, if you're willing to humor me, I was wondering if sakti can be transferred through a photograph. I've seen a picture of you, Ramana and as it happens UG Krishnamurti, with the same odd effect. This sounds strange but could you meditate on a photograph like this to an effect?




(Comment: I guess I did not respond to this. I can't find one. But I certainly did not encourage him to practice any Third Eye meditation. I encouraged him only to practice attending to the I Am sense.)

From K.

Hi Ed,

You have written on your website that the "awareness watching awareness" description of self-inquiry by Michael Langford on his website is actually Shikantaza and not self-inquiry. It seems to me that "awareness watching awareness" is a valid description of self-inquiry or self-remembering to put it another way. Self-inquiry is being aware your sense of self or "I AM" sense in whatever false manifestation in which it appears, is it not? Being aware of being, a being who is having thoughts, yes?

The only difference I can make out is that Langford says to try to ignore the body completely, though the I am often seems to associate itself with the body in some way, usually in the heart center.

I don't want to be practicing Shikantaza thinking I'm practicing self-inquiry. If you could answer this question I would be very grateful.



If you are set on practicing AWA go ahead.

I told you my opinion about AWA. It is written in this blog and on the itisnotreal website. If it appeals to you I am not going to repeat myself again and again and try to argue you out of it.  You are big enough to make your own decisions.

Look, you know what I am about. You can read the Autobiography of a Jnani, the Nisargadatta Gita, and Sadhu Om's direction of practicing self-inquiry. This is all that I am about.  If you don't want to practice this way, please don't bother writing. I feel an obligation to respond to questions, but yours are endless and keep missing the point.

From K.

I had no intention of arguing with you, I am genuinely a little confused is all. If you want me to stop e-mailing you questions all you had to do was say so politely. I admit I was a bit rude before in wasting your time a little but I wasn't purposely trying to annoy you or argue with you. You're a big boy you can hit the delete button. I have no idea how you got the impression that I wanted to go back and forth arguing with you. Discussing topics like these obscurity in meaning is bound to happen. Anyway, how hard is a polite snub? Not at all.

I never thanked you for the autobiography, the nisargadatta gita, happiness and the art of being and the path of sri ramana part 1, so I want to thank you now.