Ramana's technique

Allan Curry acurry at UVIC.CA
Thu Oct 23 14:19:57 CDT 1997


Nanda writes (quoting Arvind Sharma on Ramana's technique...):

>    In the early stages of practice attention to the feeling
>    'I' is a mental activity which takes the form of a
>    thought or a perception. As the practice develops the
>    thought 'I' gives way to a subjectively experienced
>    feeling of 'I', and when this feeling ceases to connect
>    and identify with thoughts and objects it completely
>    vanishes. What remains is an experience of being in
>    which the sense of individuality has temporarily ceased
>    to operate. The experience may be intermittent at first
>    but with repeated practice it becomes easier and easier
>    to reach and maintain. When self-enquiry reaches this
>    level there is an effortless awareness of being in which
>    individual effort is no longer possible since the 'I'
>    who makes the effort has temporarily ceased to exist.
>    It's not Self-Realization since the 'I' thought
>    periodically reasserts itself but it's the highest level
>    of practice. Repeated experience of this state of being
>    weakens and destroys the mental tendencies which cause
>    the 'I' thought to rise and when their hold has been
>    sufficiently weakened, the power of the Self destroys
>    the residual tendencies so completely that the 'I'
>    thought never rises again. This is the final and
>    irreversible state of Self-Realization."

    I think this is about the best thing I've ever read on
    Advaita-L. Thank you very much for posting it. It
    clarifies the difference between the I-thought (ego) and
    the Self and it also speaks directly to my deepest
    doubt. Like many of you, "my" practice includes the
    temporary or intermittent ceasing to exist of any such
    owner or person. During these interludes (which occur
    daily and sometimes in all three states of
    consciousness) there is *never* a doubt that the "the
    sense of individuality" has for the moment disappeared,
    but what drove me crazy about this was the fact that the
    "the sense of individuality" could ever return! How
    could it have *really* vanished completely if it could
    subsequently return? "Therefore", said a viscious
    samskara, "it couldn't have really been what it seemed
    to be. It must be the wrong practice, or maybe you're
    crazy, or..."

    Arvind Sharma is exactly right about it becoming easier
    and easier to reach and maintain this experience with
    repeated practice. That it is the right practice and
    that there is a final end to the reappearance of the
    "I-thought" gives me greater confidence and hope.
    So what if it takes a few more years (or lives!) ?

    One of the things that seems to keep this ego alive is
    an over emphasis on intellectual analysis and one of the
    things that seems to undermine this ego is devotion to
    God. It is very enjoyable to contemplate God being the
    Self which is present when the illusory "sense of
    individuality" is absent. It is very enjoyable for this
    "sense of individuality" to offer itself to that
    consuming flame which is so close behind it. It is
    actually so enjoyable I find it's becoming less of a
    problem to have the "sense of individuality" returning
    because isn't it like a child running back to the top of a
    water slide just to throw themselves over the edge again
    and again. Do you think this pseudo-bhakti approach is a
    good idea?  :-)


- Allan Curry

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