Transcribed from a talk on November 20, 2011
Recognize that the thoughts are a hindrance – to that stillness, to that silence that you have perceived. Hold on to that silence; help it to arise. Fill your entire being with that happiness, that joy, of your beingness. Now slowly open your eyes. Very slowly, open your eyes. Maintain that stillness, that poise, that serenity, and just look. Just look around yourself; do not translate what the mind is perceiving; just look! Do not look at any object, nor look for any object. Just simple looking. Aren’t you perceiving that same stillness, when you close your eyes?
The simple act of looking, just simple looking – whether you look within, or you look without – it is the act of looking, which forms the foundation of Self Inquiry which I am going to talk about today. Do not deviate from that silence even now – stay there. Do not interpret my words; just listen. Let the silence itself speak to you. What do you see? What do you feel when you hear? In the various happenings of seeing and hearing you will perceive this centre – the centre of stillness and silence.
You see this entire thing (the room), the furniture (within the room), the beautiful pictures and between all those objects that you see, and between the words that you hear coming from me, there is this awareness, the space connecting to all these objects. Even if you close your eyes, there is this space within. And if you open your eyes, the same space is available to you, even now! All you have to do is recognize that this state of still awareness is there for you, right here, right now. So can you feel this silence? Can you feel the space? If you look outside the window, there are buildings, there are those cars; yet the space is still there. Everything is taking place within that space which we call as the present awareness. So how come I lost this beautiful thing which always is? That’s because the mind is always interested in something else. It’s out to entertain you. And it entertains you with so many stories – he did that, she did this, I have to do this or that. And because the mind entertains you, you have lost focus of what is available to you at this moment.
The beauty of present awareness, or what we call the Now or the Present, you have lost completely, because you are so interested in what the mind perceives in this space. It is so easy to get to the silence, because it is so easily available. And what great practice have you done? Nothing! All you have done is stop the mind that time and recognize that there is awareness which is present to me, here and now. That’s all. All you have done is connect with that stillness, with that silence which you are already. So in your initial practice, what you have to do is that every time the mind goes into some kind of stories, some kind of labeling, we just stop it from doing so. We make it stop and rather visit that awareness and then we keep visiting it at regular intervals.
Now as I said, you don’t have to look for it; nor do you have to look at it. You have to SIMPLY LOOK! The moment you look, that awareness is available to you; that stillness is available to you; that silence is available to you. Right? That is the difference between Self Inquiry and all other practices. Because in all other practices like Yoga, Mantra and everything, there is this nadi shuddhi, the chakra balancing, and there are various yama and niyama that you have to follow. But in Inquiry, the moment you practice, there is this result. You practice, and there is result! It is almost immediate. Almost immediate!
Stop the movement of the mind, look attentively, do not look at an object – just look in the totality, and it’s there! As you say, “Right here, right now.” Initially, you will have to stop it – stop the mind from moving into stories, into labeling, into judging. Later on, you don’t have to visit that silence, that awareness. You don’t have to visit; IT will visit you. The moment the mind goes into some story, that awareness will come first. It is an – “Ah! The mind is going into some story… wait! Ah, I’m judging someone… wait!” So, the awareness comes first, before the story.
Of course, you cannot stop the mind from making the movements forever, but the awareness will be there at hand. You will recognize that the stories are taking place. And that is a very interesting point; that awareness will be at the very origin of thought. The moment that thought arises, the awareness will be there first. You may still go with the thought, but now with complete awareness. So, the identification has been broken, because the identification with awareness is first, rather than the identification with the story. So your identification with the stillness will remain, while the story will continue the way it has to continue. Is it clear?
So beginning from today, the first step that you all have to do, is recognize that stillness; recognize that present state of awareness, which is independent of all the
stories, and all the labels that are taking place; very much independent and impersonal. Later on, you will see how that awareness takes charge of you – it just encompasses everything, it pervades everywhere, and you will feel that this is it. This Now, this Here, this present state of Awareness, is all that there is. Because it’s so comforting, it is so peaceful. The mind will be less interested in stories after that; it will be more interested in being in that silence. It will automatically come into that present state. The Presence will invite you, “Come…come and be with me.” You don’t have to go and look for it – the Presence itself will invite you.
For many people, this is the start of Self Inquiry. It means that this is the foundation to be in the present state. Such a recognition is very important to go deeper. I have always said about embracing the Now, the Present, like all the other Masters have also done. The teachers, they have always stressed the importance of the Now – and we must be in it as much as possible; try and bring this present awareness in you life – as much as you can. Then it will become very effortless; you will see, that the present is all that there is.
Many people, those who have practiced advanced Inquiry and Advaita, have told me the same thing, that they feel – this is the end too; that they don’t need to do anything more. They feel they are enlightened and awakened. Because it is so fulfilling, it’s so whole. “That’s it! What else can there be? “What else can there be apart from this oneness? Why do I need to look anymore deeper? Because this seems like my true home.” But it is not so. It only appears to be you home. You have to look deeper than this. The NOW is only the first step.