Advaita Self Inquiry Meditation TechniqueI am not the imaginary I, the ego, my name
I am not the temporary I, my body or my mind
I am the everlasting Life force, behind all living beings
I am the source of Universal Love and Happiness
Aham Brahamasmi - I am Brahman
Advaita Self Inquiry Meditation - Simple Stress and Anxiety relief Meditation Technique for Beginners
Advaita Self Inquiry Meditation is a 5000 year old Meditation technique, explained in the teachings of Sri Adi Sankara, Sri Ramana Maharshi and Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj and in the spiritual texts Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and Yoga Vasistha. Practice of the Meditation Technique even for ten minutes daily will help reduce your stress and anxiety and help you better focus on the task at hand.
Advaita Self Inquiry Meditation is superior to other types of Meditation as it results in permanent transformation and helps you manage your emotional vulnerabilities like anger, stress and anxiety through out the day and is not something that you benefit only during the short period of meditation. The meditation technique brings empathy and compassion towards all living beings.
In Advaita Self Inquiry Meditation you begin the meditation with a simple question,
'Who am I?'
The goal of the three stages of Advaita meditation technique is to go beyond your 'Body' (Stage One) and 'your Mind that generates thoughts' (Stage Two) and stay in the Meditative Stage of 'Thoughtless Mind' or 'Breath Awareness' called Consciousness (Stage Three).
Each time you slip from Stage Three to Stage Two or Stage One, follow the technique to progress to the 'Meditative Stage - Stage Three'. Try to stay in 'Stage Three' atleast for a few minutes initially. Slowly with daily practice you can stay in 'Stage Three' for 15-20 minutes and more.
Read through the instructions below : Stage One to Stage Three. When you are ready, sit in a comfortable posture, close your eyes and inquire within and try to move from Stage One to Stage Three and stay in Stage Three as long as possible.
Stage One : You are not the Body
Start by asking yourself a simple question, 'Who am I?'
Am i the body? Is my body permanent? What happens to my body after death? Your body is not permanent as it goes through the stages of birth, adulthood, old age and disintegrates after death. So you are not the body.
If I am not the body, then 'Who am I'?
Stage Two : You are not the Mind with all its thoughts
Am I the mind, that generates the thoughts or desires?
When a thought or desire arises during meditation ask a question, To whom do the thoughts or desires come for?
The answer to the question is that, all thoughts or desires come to serve 'I, the ego, your name' the imagination of who you are. I, the ego is the first imaginary thought, created by the mind and all other subsequent thoughts, come to serve the first imaginary thought 'I, the ego, your name' the imagination of who you are.
When you say in meditation, there is no 'I, ego, your name' your thoughts or desires have no one to serve and they immediately die. The moment you say this, all thoughts that arise during meditation disappears. Each time a thought arises, keep saying this to get rid of the thought.
Imagine your 'I, the ego, your name' as an imaginary bubble that you have created and all other thoughts that arise are bubbles that attach to the imaginary bubble 'I, the ego'. When the bubble 'I, the ego, your name' bursts, all other thought bubbles that come to serve 'I, the ego, your name' also burst and disppear. You are left in a state of thoughtless calm mind.
If you are not the mind, with all its thoughts then 'Who am I'?
Stage Three : Stay in the thoughtless Meditative state of Breath-Awareness or Consciouness
You are not the body, that disintegrates after death. You are not the mind, that generates thoughts to serve 'I, the ego, your name' the imagination of who are. If you are not the Body or the Mind, then who are you?
The breath awareness or the life force that swells in your heart in a state of thoughtlessness is Consciousness or God Awareness. Your fascination with the body and mind had hidden this from you. Consciousness is all that is. You are nothing but Consciousness. Stay in the Meditative State as long as you can.If you are Consciousness then all the living beings around you are also Consciouness. Universal Love and Compassion is your true nature.
For the intellect to realize one's true nature and be in a Meditative state of 'Consciousness' or 'God awareness' is a way to achieve permanent happiness in life. Feel the breath awareness in your heart and closing your eyes look between your eyes in the forehead. Stay in the thoughtless Meditative state, in a state of Consciousness or God Awareness. This is the most peaceful place in the whole world.
Mantra to repeat in Stage 3: 'Aham Brahmasmi' or 'I am Brahman, the Consciousness'
Practice the Three Stage Advaita Meditation technique daily. A few minutes of practice is superior and more effective than reading hundreds of books on the subject.
Abide in the Self. God Bless.
END OF SELF INQUIRY ADVAITA VEDANTA MEDITATION TECHNIQUE
Advaita Vedanta Philosophy - The Philosphy of Non Duality
I am not the imaginary I, the ego, my name
I am not the temporary I, my body or my mind
I am the everlasting Life force, behind all living beings
I am the source of Universal Love and Happiness
Aham Brahamasmi - I am Brahman
Realizing the state of 'Consciousness' or 'Brahman' or 'Holy Spirit' or 'Buddha' or 'God Awareness' is the main theme of the Advaita Vedanta Philosophy, which follows the Gyana or the intellectual path to God realization in the Hindu religion. 'I, the ego, your name' and its experience of the world is considered as an ignorance or a veil (Maya) to one realizing one's true nature, that is Consciousness, a state of permanent happiness. Until the veil is removed, 'I, the ego' experiences sorrow in an endless cycle of desires and experiences temporary happiness.
The Three paths to Consciousness or 'God awareness'
Multiple paths are shown in Hinduism to help a person focus on an entity outside his 'I, the ego, your ego'. All the three paths reach the same goal of realizing Consciousness. Some paths take more time for an individual than others to realize Conciousness and it depends on the level of intellectual maturity and the sincerity towards the goal, that the person has. The three different paths are;
Karma Yoga - The path of focused work - Focused work performed for the sake of work alone without letting 'I, the ego' take ownership of the work or experience the fruits of the work is called Karma yoga.
We have worked in projects in which we were so involved or focused on the work, that we forgot 'I, the ego' as the doer of the work and were not aware of the people around us or realize the time fly by and produced great work as a result. Being stressed or anxious about work, where 'I, the ego' is the one that is stressed or anxious does not necessarily make the work any better.
Bhakti Yoga - The path of devotion - Devotion to God and worshipping a phenomenon outside your 'I, the ego' is called Bhakti Yoga. In all religions whether it is worshipping a person, ideas in a book, idol or holy spirit, the common factor is the workship of an entity outside 'I, the ego'. Hinduism considers all religions as different versions of the same truth and as different paths that lead to the same goal of realizing Consciousness.
Jyana Yoga - The path of intellectual inquiry - The intellectual inquiry used to realize Consciousness is called Jyana Yoga. Of all paths this is the most direct path of realizing 'Conciousness' or 'God Awareness'. Calming the mind and realizing Consciousness can be realizied right here, right now and does not take years of transformation as required by the other paths like Karma Yoga or Bhakti Yoga. The other paths are recommended for people whose intellect is not mature enough for intense intellectual inquiry like young kids for whom the 'Path of Devotion' is prescribed. Advaita Vedanta Meditation technique falls under the path of intellectual inquiry.
The Upanishads were the earliest books that documented the Advaita Vedanta Philosophy. They were written in Sanskrit and the knowledge in the books were further restricted to a particular class of people by a system of teacher to student initiation (Guru Sishya Parampara). Multiple treatises or interpretations to the Upanishads were written by Sri Adi Sankara and his guru Sri Gaudapada. Sri Ramana Maharshi and others have spoken about Advaita in a simple way that a layman not well versed in Sanksrit can also understand. Also English and other language translations of Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita have taken the Advaita message in Upanishads to a larger world audience.
Advaita Vedanta Philosophy says that there is no Duality, or an existence of a separate 'I, the ego, your ego' outside the state of 'Consciousness' experienced in Meditation. Experience of the world and the desire of material objects to serve 'I, the ego' is an endless cycle of sorrow, which can be broken by an intellectual inquiry of 'Who am I?' and arriving at a conclusion that the 'Non Duality' or the state of 'Consciousness' or God Awareness is all that exists.
All beings have a 'Will to live' and strive for happiness. In search of happiness the 'Will to live', generates thoughts or desires like attraction to opposite sex, seeking material objects, wealth etc to serve 'I, the ego'. But happiness experienced when a desire is met is never permanent. 'I, the ego' again experiences sorrow and seeks out another desire in a never ending cycle.
This is similar to a 'hamster in a wheel' where each step that a hamster takes, it thinks that it will get it out of the cycle, but each step leads to another in a never ending cycle. Similarly each thought or desire towards material objects, lust etc when realized will experience temporary happiness, then sorrow and seek out another thought or desire in a never ending cycle. In a way we humans are no different than a 'hamster in a wheel'.
Seeking happiness in the material world and getting caught in the endless cycle of desires and experiencing sorrow is the same conclusion arrived by Buddha, Sages in Upanishads and by western philosophers like Schopenhauer.
Mind is like a vibrating drum that is constantly beating to serve temporary pleasures to 'I, the ego'. Mind serves temporary pleasures to 'I, the ego' through the nine gates or sense organs (two eyes, two nostrils, one mouth, two ears, one sexual organ and one urethra). Ego is like a kid seeking new toys in a toy shop. It moves from one temporary happiness to another and is never satisfied. As long as the mind is continuously serving temporary pleasures to 'I, the ego' , it is never free to realize the Breath awareness or Prana or Consciousness or Brahman in one's heart. The mind is enslaved to 'I, the ego'.
How does one release the mind from being a slave to 'I, the ego'?
Sages like Buddha, Ramana and Adi Sankara have watched the temporary pleasures being served from the nine gates or sensual organs and have denied 'I, the ego' from enjoying the temporary pleasures. Being celebate, begging for food and living a monk-like lifesyle were steps that were deliberately taken by them to deny, 'I, the ego' of its pleasures.
Only when the beating of the mind slows down, either by denying 'I, the ego' of its temporary pleasures and by developing focus as in meditation can the mind realize the breath awareness or Consciousness or Brahman.
The solution that Advaita Philosophy provides to break out of this cycle of desires towards material objects, also called 'Maya' is to inquire or meditate within oneself with a question, 'Who am I? To whom does the thoughts or the desires come for?'. The inquiry provides the answer that all desires come to serve 'I, the ego' the imagination of who you are.
When you say 'I, the ego' does not exist, the thoughts of desires that arise have no one to serve and they immediately die.
This state of thoughtlessness experienced in Advaita Meditation and the breath awareness that swells in your heart is called 'Brahman' or 'Consciousness' or 'Buddha' or 'God awareness'. If you are Consciousness then all the beings around you are also Consciousness. Consciousness is all that is. Be free and be eternally Happy. Practice Non-violence and Compassion towards all living beings.
Now having realized Consciousness, continue your work for the sake of work alone focused in a state of trance. Do not allow 'I, the ego' to take ownership or enjoy the fruits of the work performed but let 'I, the Consciousness' take ownership of the work performed. This is called 'Karma Yoga'.
Stay in the present. Do not regret about the past or worry about the future. Stay in the present in Consciousness. Consciousness is all that is. Be free and be eternally happy.
In summary Advaita Philosophy says, 'Kill your ego, realize Consciousness and get to work'.
Knowing your 'I, the ego'
'I, the ego' is the little devil that acts as a veil to one realizing Consciousness or 'God Awareness'. I, the ego, your name - the imagination of who you are, is the pleasure seeker that directs the mind to generate thoughts to serve itself pleasures from material objects through the body's eyes, nose, mouth, ears and sexual organs. When you stop feeding the little devil, 'I, the ego', When you start denying 'I, the ego' of its worldly pleasures, the ignorange is destroyed, the veil slowly lifts to reveal Consciousness or God Awareness.
But as long as you keep feeding the little devil 'I, the ego' of its worldly pleasures, the cycle of sorrow (Desire - temporary happiness - Sorrow - Desire) continues. To deny 'I, the ego' of its pleasures by giving up worldly possessions is what the Hindu Sages, the Christian Monks and Buddhist monks have done with their lives. This is starving the little devil, 'I, the ego' of its pleasures and making it weak and eventually vanish.
I, the ego is like a parasite that uses the body (eyes, nose, ears, mouth and sexual organs) and the mind to serve itself temporary pleasures. In this process, I, the ego keeps the body, mind preoccupied with temporary pleasures and prevents the mind from looking inward and realizing one's Consciousness. I, the ego is a veil/Maya or a lid and prevents the mind from realizing Conciousness by looking inward in a state of Meditation.
All thoughts or desires come to serve 'I, the ego' the imagination of who you are. I, the ego, your name is the first imaginary thought created by the mind and all other thoughts come to serve the first imaginary thought 'I, the ego'. When there is no 'I, ego' your thoughts or desires have no one to serve and they immediately die. This state of thoughtlessness is the goal of all meditation techniques.
Imagine your 'I, the ego' as an imaginary bubble that you have created and all other thoughts that arise are bubbles that attach to the imaginary bubble 'I, the ego'. When the bubble 'I, the ego' bursts all other thought bubbles that come to serve 'I, the ego' also burst. You are then left with a state of thoughtless meditative mind, in a state of Consciousness or God Awareness.
You are nothing but Consciousness. Consciousness is all that is. Consciousness is the place of Permanent happiness. Be free and be eternally happy. God Bless.
What is the purpose of life according to Advaita Vedanta Philosophy?
“Let the mind, body continue its duty in its full efficiency with out I, the ego hijacking the mind, body to serve it desires. Do your focused duty in a state of trance, without expecting results – Karma Yoga. If you are a Scientist earnestly focus on your research. If you are a student, earnestly focus on your studies.”
The basic purpose of life of all living organisms is satisfying the hunger, needed for the cellular activity that comes in regular intervals of time. The next priorities are safety from predators and the desire to procreate. Well-developed sense of sight, smell, hearing, mouth and reproductive organs are present to aid the basic purpose of life.
Each cellular organisms is given a definite period of time, beyond which the cellular organism dies a natural death by cellular damage. The death can be expedited by predators or bad lifestyle habits.
One thing common to all living organisms is life itself. Only in the presence of a life force do all other cellular activities continue. This realization of the truth that you are nothing but the life force itself is what Advaita Philosophy tries to bring about.
Just like a teacher tries to bring silence in a classroom to make the student attentive to a subject he/she is teaching. Meditation is just a focus session to make one realize the truth that one is nothing but a life force and all his bodily and mental activity takes place because of it and in the absence of a life force all bodily and mental activity stops.
When the basis needs of life are met, I, the ego an imagined thought of who are you are, sits as a parasite and uses your mind (to serve desire) using your body (eyes, nose, mouth, ear and sexual organs) to seek happiness. When I, the ego gets what it needs from an external object it relishes in temporary happiness and moves on to the next desire. When the desire is not realized it feels sorry. I, the ego feels Angry when the external object does not behave the way it wants to. Anger, Happiness, Sadness, Anxiety, Fear and all other emotional feelings come to serve your imagination of I, the ego.
Now how is Advaita Philosophy helpful in my day today life? Advaita Philosophy is a great psychological tool to help one deal with the emotional rollercoasters of life. Advaita Philosophy realized in Advaita Meditation, makes one realize that one is not limited by his imagined I, the name the ego but he is the life force itself, in which the mind, body functions.
When one realizes that he/she is life force itself, then he/she is in a state of absolute bliss or happiness. All the emotional rollercoasters of life, desires, pain and suffering belong to the imagined I, the ego and not to one's true nature - the Life force or Consciousness or state of God Awareness.
Is Advaita Meditation escapism? Do you want to choose your imagination of I, the ego, your name or the escapism of Advaita Meditation, your identity with the Life force that gives you absolute peace?
You, your dog and your pet fish are all multi cellular organisms and have a life force that is common to all. All of you have a fixed life span, we strive to satisfy our hunger, pay our mortgages to protect from predators and procreate. So you thinking that you are better than your dog, fish is your ego and just a thought. It is also foolish to think that a material object is going to give you happiness, when in reality you are in a desire hamster wheel.
The intelligent thing to do would be to realize that you are the Life force itself or Consciousness and find permanent peace and get out of the hamster wheel of desires and be free from the emotional roller coasters of life.
Let the mind, body continue its duty in its full efficiency with out I, the ego hijacking the mind, body to serve it desires. If you are doctor then practice medicine diligently. If you are a student, focus on your studies diligently. If you are business man, focus on your business. If you are a Scientist, focus on your research. The Mind, Body is independently capable of acting efficiently for self-preservation till its end of life is reached. It is I, the ego that prevents the mind, body from realizing its full potential.
Regular Meditation will help you bring back to your core identity of Life force and get you out of the desire roller coaster created by your imagined I, the ego.
Self-realization by practicing Advaita Meditation is a natural process of Evolution:
The realization that you are the Life force or Consciousness is the natural progress of evolution of a living being with a developed brain like humans. When one is a lower level organism striving for your basic needs of life consumes your life.
As humans we have access to food without directly producing it, have a safe place of living and created sufficient free time to practice self-inquiry, inquiry about Who we truly are?, inquiry into our true nature.
The Self-realization of a few humans that they are nothing but the Life force itself is not a strange occurrence but a due course of evolution of an intelligent human. Universal Love, Empathy and practice of Non Violence is a natural byproduct of Self-Realization. You want a helping hand to other multi cellular organisms to find absolute peace and bliss by realizing their true nature as a Life force or Consciousness and not suffer emotionally and physically by trying to satisfy the desires of I, the ego.
Is the Life force or Consciousness or God Benevolent? If there is a Benevolent God, why is there Pain, Suffering and Hunger in the world?
Advaita Philosophy like we discussed earlier is a helpful psychological tool to help one move away from the limited, I, the ego, the name identity and identify oneself with the Life force or Consciousness or breath awareness or God Awareness realized in Advaita Meditation. This helps one get out of the desire hamster wheel and the emotional rollercoaster of life and find absolute peace and bliss in a state of identity with the Life force or Consciousness in which all body, mind activity happens.
In the presence of Life force, cellular bodies exist as viruses, bacteria, insects, dogs, cats, humans etc. Every second thousands of living organisms die, chickens eat insects, humans eat chickens, and humans die in homicides or accidents. Each mind, body is provided with organs for self-preservation. But with our limited mind we can only observe and identify that in the presence of life force there is spontaneous existence of life force and when the life force departs all living beings die.
But feelings of love and empathy towards living beings happen naturally in our hearts with or without us following Advaita Philosophy and more so in Advaita Meditation. So we can realize that goodness is a byproduct of the life force.
So as a physically challenged person, person facing emotional turmoil and as a veteran back from a war, Advaita Philosophy will help one find permanent Peace and Bliss and an opportunity to look outside one’s limitation.
Hinduism has the Karma theory, where you get good things in this life if you had performed good deeds in your previous lives and will get bad things in this life if you have done bad things in your previous life. Evolution from lower level to higher level beings happens with good deeds. So the only option you have is to perform good deeds in this life with the hope of reaping good things in your next life.
Again this is just a human made theory that conveniently answers a question - Is the Life force or God benevolent? Again our limited minds can no longer conclude if there are past and future lives, if evolution progresses with good deeds or if God is Benevolent.
But one thing is for sure, identifying with the Life force or Consciousness with the help of Advaita Meditation is a practical psychological tool to deal with emotional turmoil we face in our everyday life.
Advanced Advaita - Self -Realization by understanding the illusion created by the Mind
The tendency to inquire within, and ask Who am I? is a stage of progressive evolution triggered by your inner truth or Consciousness or Lifeforce. For some it comes naturally, for other stressful events or unhappiness leads them to seeking happiness.
In Advaita Meditation, you have practiced Self-Inquirty to realize that you are not the body that has a limited time span and disintegrates with death. You are not the thought I, the ego, your name that puts you in a hamster wheel of desires and you are not the mind. You realize in meditation you are the breath awareness in your heart, the life force, the Consciousness or the God Awareness that is eternal in existence. If you are Consciousness then the person or the animal you see is also nothing but Consciouness or Lifeforce.
The Consciousness or Lifeforce or Brahman is not dual, that is in you and the person you see, but is one entity, the reason we call it as Advaita or Non-Duality. It is like the air in pots, does the air belong to a pot or is the air one continuous entity?
Now, we get to the advanced stages of Advaita Philosophy. When Sri Adi Sankara says, " The Universe is unreal, the Brahman alone is real" what does he mean?
The perception of mind, by which it creates separation, Time and Space is the real culprit that prevents you from realizing your true nature of Life force or Consciousness or God Awareness. Once you get out of the mind illusion, you are realized.
You and a person you see, the mind tells you, both of you are different and you have different forms and names. This is a perception and may not be real from a separate point of view. When you see the population in a foreign country you are not exposed to, see a bunch of dogs of the same pedigree your mind cannot effectively differentiate. So the differentation of living beings as name and form is an illusion of the mind for its desire cycle to work.
Space and time is again an illusion of the mind. You do not see the space between atoms in a water or gas. Your world is a point of view from your perception, it is like walking with a torch in a gallery.The momemt you break away from the illusions of the mind, and realize that you and the person you see are one, you are beyond separation,time and space. You are the absolute witness, the lifeforce, the eternal God Awareness you are realized.
There is no another separate entity to desire or hate. You and the other person are all part of one Universal Love called Consciousness or God Awareness or Brahman.
So what do you do then with your body, mind during your period of living?
Stay with Consciouness by constant self-inquiry in the waking state. Practice focus - on your studies, on your work without expectation of any results. Practice Non-Violence. Spread the word of Consciouness and practice Non-Violence to help stressed out people entangled in the hamster wheel of desires to realize Consciouness or God Awareness and find eternal peace and happiness.
Abide in the Self. God Bless.
ReferencesYou can read a few pages from spiritual books daily prior to starting your meditation practice. It helps reinforce your identity with the Self or Consciouness.
1. Who am I - Sri Ramana Maharshi. (and other works of Sri Ramana Maharshi)
2. I am that - Sri Nissargadatta Maharaj
3. Mundaka Upanishad
4. Mandukya Upanishad
5. The Principal Upanishads - Swami Nikhilananda
6. Bhagavad Gita
7. Works of German Philosopher - Schopenhauer
8. Upadesa Sahasri - Adi Sankara (and other works of Sri Ramana Maharshi)
9. Viveka Choodamani - Adi Sankara
10. Yoga Vasistha - Swami Jyotirmayananda yrf.org