The underlying motivation for everything that we do as human beings is the ongoing search for happiness or completeness. This being said, people have innumerable ideas of what it might be that could make them happy or make them complete. Even seemingly terrible deeds done and crimes commited are performed with the idea that there will be some semblance of happiness or satisfaction accrued for the one performing the actions. The secret then to actually succeeding in this – the greatest search of all time – is truly knowing what it is that has the power to make us as human beings happy and complete.
To make a long story short, there is NOTHING external to ourselves that has the power to really make us complete or happy once and for all. There is no amount of money, material possessions or excellent relationships that can lead us to eternal peace. Although many of us know this intellectually, the intellectual understanding of such truth is merely the first step in what is, for most people, a herculean task: turning the mind within until it dissolves into its true nature. The mind must be turned within consistently until it essentially collapses upon itself and dissolves into the absolute reality, on which it is merely a superimposition. The mind must be redirected every moment of every day and night until it eats itself like the ancient symbol of the Ouroboros: the snake eating itself. It is only when spiritual practice has been carried out meticulously and perfected that the mind will collapse in upon itself like a supernova: a star that has run out of energy. It is this culmination of spiritual practice that is known as enlightenment, Self Realization etc. It is the moment in which the individual ego/ mind is annhilated completely, leaving only the true absolute perfection of our One nature. This Self Realization is the end game of all spiritual pursuit.
So the question must present itself at this point: what is the most direct path to Self Realization? For each person the details and the path will be slightly different. Each of us is a unique construction of ideas, emotions, tendencies and genetic predispositions and therefore, the deconstruction of this false self will be somewhat different for each of us. Althought the details will differ for each of us, the most direct path for bringing about this deconstruction is what is commonly termed “Self Enquiry”. Self Enquiry has most recently been popularized by the great sage Ramana Maharshi in the 20th century in India. Most all of the works written by and about Ramana Maharshi deal with the subject of Self Enquiry in one way or another. Another great book about the process of Self Enquiry written in recent times is Trancending the Elegant Charade by Michael T. Ness (Aperion Books 2011)http://jnanamargasociety.com/transcending-the-elegant-charade/. This article is too brief to allow me to go into detail about Self Enquiry, so in addition to the above references, I will only give a small account of the process. In short, Self Enquiry is the practice of constantly turning your mind around to face itself by asking the question “Who am I?”, “To whom is this experience occurring?”, or another such similar enquiry. What ever the particular question might be, the goal is to consistently witness your individual mind and ego as it relates to the material world and all of the transitions of life and life experience. Again the end goal being to see past the illusory, temporary ego/mind to the true reality, the Absolute Reality of existence.
Terry M. Chen is a licensed acupuncturist who specializes in pain management, orthopedic acupuncture, mental/ emotional wellness and meditation. Mr. Chen is also a devotee of Ramana Maharshi and a practitioner of Self Enquiry.