By Sabbir Muslim
This indispensable tool has the capacity to reveal to you the most profound and deepest mysteries of the universe. It unmasks the hitherto hidden.
In 2003, I started to see the spiritual teacher Mooji. I was granted a private session with Mooji and he used this technique, which brought about a life changing white light experience followed by intense love and joy.
The tool of self-enquiry peels away the layers of the ego by asking the question: “Who am I?”
The answers can evoke deep realisations.
The aim is to experience ever more subtle levels of consciousness as you let go of the more gross levels of habitual identification with the ego.
A question to consider is: “Can I be something that passes or is the true self forever present?”, this concept is at the core of many mystical teachings and the Christian belief of everlasting life.
If there is an absence of thoughts, feelings, sensations, images and even memories, does consciousness and the self still exist? Or as many fear, do we disappear, die, become boring or a big zero?
The paradox, and some consider the ultimate double bind, is that the deeper layers of the true self cannot be found by trying to understand or think about them. As soon as we become aware of the witnessing field then by re-identifying with our thoughts, the subtle field of consciousness seems to disappear.
How self-enquiry might proceed is to ask yourself: “Who am I?” to which you might reply, “I am my thoughts.”
Then ask: “Who is it that is aware of these thoughts? What is here, and has always been here, that is not my absorption in my thoughts? Has there ever been a time in my life when I was pure presence and there were no thoughts?”
It is useful to remember that even justification and rationalisation are only thoughts that we can let go. For instance, in asking, “Who am I?” you may have the response, “This is too difficult.” This is just another thought to let go. You may believe, “I can’t do this because my childhood was too traumatic,” and again realise this is also a thought and let it go.
There is no thought of which you need be afraid or which you cannot let go.
It may come as a surprise to discover you are a witnessing field or a subtle awareness of presence in which phenomena like speech and movement spontaneously occur in freedom. This is a subtle state, which exists both with thoughts and without them.
To elaborate further, imagine walking inside a cathedral and the magnificent architecture and atmosphere send your mind into a stunned stillness with no thoughts. You are completely absorbed in the experience. Then reflect that there is a ‘you’ or a field of pure presence independent of thought.
This ‘thoughtless self’ is the more pure and true ‘you’ rather than the ‘you’ of the constantly changing thought field. In other words, you are not your thoughts. When you realise your existence and peace is forever present and does not require a dependency on thinking, a great expansion of consciousness and happiness occurs.
Once you are able for a period of time to consistently be the presence which is not your thoughts, the next more subtle discovery is to ask the question, “What is it that is both aware of the appearance and disappearance of the witnessing field?” The answer is: a field of consciousness. As previously stated, it takes practice to discover this advanced and subtle experience.
In the gross levels we believe we are our thoughts and body. Then we discover there is a truer, stable self, which exists independent of thoughts or body. Knowing this timeless eternal self lays the foundation for eternal peace.
Use the question ‘Who am I?’ as a contemplative meditation to discover what you are. ‘Are you your thoughts? Is there something that is more the real you?’
Additional questions you can use for your practice:
‘What is here that observes all thoughts come and go but is not any of the thoughts?’
‘What is here and has always been here watching the coming and going of thoughts, feelings, sensations, memories, time and all passing phenomena?’
‘Have there been times in your life when you experienced great love, peace and less thinking and your life was a synchronous flow?
About the Author: Sabbir Muslim is an author, spiritual coach and speaker who helps people connect with their true self for an authentic life.
His book Bulletproof Peace, 30 Spiritual Secrets of Peace and Happiness is available on Amazon.