Francis Answers - 196 - How to practice self-inquiry.

Francis Lucille

Location: Maryland

Hello: I am not sure how to practice Atma Vichara or Self Enquiry. Do I keep asking myself the question “Who Am I” or “What am I” everytime I lose the I-I conciousness?

Do that every time you believe to have strong evidence that you are a limited consciousness, or a body-mind, simply by looking at the evidence you have, be it on the conceptual level or on the feeling level.

Do I practice this technique in meditation in the morning and the evening or do I try to practice all the time?

When I practice a little while, I feel peace, but this only lasts a short time. Do I practice the “What Am I” like a mantra or just when I experience more of body comciousness or Ego conciousness?

Practice only when you feel dissatisfaction, a sense of lack or of misery. If you are at peace, don’t try to fix it.

Does this practice help attain extinction of the ego?

Yes. It is the first step. It has to be continued until you truly think and feel that you don’t know that consciousness is limited to or by your mind-body.

I am afraid not to practice spiritual discipline because the discipline usually makes me want to experience conciousness at a more intense level. I know Ramakrishna said a devotee's desire to experience God or truth should be as intense as a man who has his head held underwater desiring to breathe air. Doesnt the desire to experience truth grow with the practice of spiritual discipline?

Yes, it does, but only in so far as the practice leads to glimpses of our Reality. These glimpses are the real “desire boosters”. Don’t think of your inquiry as a practice such as japa, but as an investigation. You don’t need to repeat “what am I?”, “what am I?”, “what am I?” like a parrot, but rather to be genuinely interested in finding out your real self, just as a detective is using all means at his disposal to find a criminal, which he does without waisting his time constantly repeating “who did it?”

I feel very glad to have found your guidance and like you very much. Walter Newell

Nice. Love,