What is Self-Inquiry?
At some point, either after a cluster of grief, tragedy, existential confusion, or a near death experience, some of us begin to explore the nature of and have questions about life or reality. Occasionally this process of inquiring deeply within our being occurs as an epiphany. You may hear a phrase or resonate with a teaching or hear someone else mention the process of self-inquiry and simply notice you are curious about this practice.
We begin to ponder the deeper interior questions such as “what is the mind and how does it exert such a powerful influence over my life?” It almost seems apparent most people absorb every fact and suggestion from teachers, parents, society, religion, and science as being a complete and obvious truth. But is it?
There are a few pilgrims who are motivated enough to inquire more deeply into what we’ve been told we are, and thus soon begin questioning the concrete concepts of self-identity and all the concepts of relativity that Einstein pointed towards. Indeed, quantum physicists have been asking these deeper questions for more than a hundred years. And for good reason. Science is now uncovering how much we still do not know about what we are. Or do we, and we’ve just overlooked the obvious which is hidden in plain sight?
The process of realizing you may be more than you believe yourself to be may be startling and leave one questioning everything accumulated in the vast recesses of the intellect and mind. Self-inquiry is the ancient subtractive process of questioning the nature of the thought “I am a separate being, with a separate consciousness.” The perennial wisdom of Jesus the Christ, the Buddha, Lao, Tsu, Rumi and many others points directly to the ineffable, invisible, intelligent omnipresence or reality that every spiritual tradition calls the Absolute. What if the personal self does not exist after all?
Welcome to the thorny process of self-inquiry, exploring for yourself, by yourself, what is true and valid with only your first-hand experience. All else is story.