This teaching represents ruthless truth telling, ruthless vigilance, and the ruthless resolve—the intense effort essential for the effortless realization of the eternal happiness of your being.
The teaching of Ramana Maharshi is not about knowledge or what you know. It is not even really about understanding. It is much more simple. In fact, it is so simple this teaching can be rejected by the idea that you know what it is, but this overlooks the depth this teaching represents that simply cannot be known. The mountain path of Ramana Maharshi is best described as a way of life devoted to the simplicity of pure being.
Who wants enlightenment or freedom? Who is this who that wants lasting happiness or nirvana? The greatest stumbling block to freedom is thinking you know or understand what you have read about freedom or enlightenment. The ego never makes it to the mountain top. You will never enlightened. What does it mean to be enlightened? What is freedom really?
Beyond the four states of consciousness—awake, asleep, deep sleep—there is Turiya or pure consciousness. Beyond Turiya there is Sunyata--the 5th dimension of enlightenment where no words exist. This is powerful spiritual knowledge, but in order for this to have any value you must apply the question 'Who Am I?' all the time wherever you are. This is the spark that ignites a sacred fire within you.
The work of self-inquiry—the essential moment to moment inquiry—is the key to ending all forms of suffering. Over time this will become automatic—a constant inquiry. If you actually apply this very simple teaching every day you will be astounded by the overwhelming natural happiness of your being.
New Year's resolutions tend to be about the things that change, but what never changes? Until you stop and start doing the work of self-inquiry there is no possibility of breaking free of suffering.
The poetry of Rumi is satsang. His poetry points to the living freedom of the Heart.
The natural tendency of mind is to focus on your problems, and strategize, plan, struggle, and fight to get rid of what you don't want and keep what you have. This is nature of Samsara—the great ocean of suffering—the great illusion of this world—the karmic wheel of birth and death. How can you cross this great ocean? How can you permanently put an end to all of your problems? How can you experience lasting happiness?
The supreme illusion is the very deep feeling that you are your body. This feeling or sense that you are the doer is the root cause of all forms of suffering. Seeing through this illusion is the radical shift that frees you immediately from all forms of suffering.
If you want freedom there has to be a willingness to dive so deep that the diver is lost and only the diver remains. What does that mean? How exactly to you break free of the limitations of mind and ego?
The Dharma of Stop is the essence of the teaching of Ramana Maharshi. The moment you stop following, believing, interpreting your thoughts is the moment you can discover the source of all thoughts. The dharma of stop cuts through the root cause of all your suffering; the deep belief that you are your body.
Inquiry is powerful when it is fresh. If your inquiry becomes a formula or a method to get rid of what you don't want or if you already know the "right answer" then your inquiry is dead. The fresh aliveness of inquiry lives in not knowing. Its only true purpose is to burn through the egoic identification with your body to reveal the living happiness that you are—the causeless joy of pure being.
We tend to think of karma as good or bad, but karma has nothing to do with moksha or liberation. Karma is simply the predestine actions of the body contained within the genetics and DNA of your physical form. All fear, anxiety, stress, worry and many other forms of suffering are caused by your deep identification with the physical form. The moment you discover the causeless joy within you that is free of the body, it is possible to live an ordinary life free of the body and its predestine actions—as the constant bliss of pure being—a deep relaxation as your life take its own natural course.
Fear and doubt are two sides of the same coin. Both fear and doubt are associated with a story that lives in your genetic mind. If you want to mature in your awakening it is essential see through this story and intimately meet both fear and doubt. It is the death of the doubter and the death of the one who is afraid —the willingness to die before you die —that ultimately sets you free from the suffering nature of mind.
Siva is the eternal now that you are. To be free in the midst of the struggles of everyday life the challenge is always to see through the illusion of you and discover ever more deeply the freedom of You. It is the radical annihilation of the feeling that you are the doer—an intimate discovery of the source of the one who is seeking freedom.
The burning desire of freedom is the great call of the heart. To answer this deep call requires the fierce desire of freedom to break free of the ironclad trap of the genetic mind and ego. This fierce resolve of freedom is the end of postponement and the beginning of discovering directly, intimately, the freedom you are. It is the willingness to die to any idea of you and remain ruthlessly vigilant as the pure presence of being. What does this mean exactly? And how does desire set you free?
Real freedom requires a certain amount of courage to face what you are avoiding. It requires the courage to face the great demon of death and requires an intimate examination of what is really going on inside of you.
Neti Neti is an ancient spiritual practice. It is an inquiry that enables you to see through anything the mind says you are. The Neti Neti of Now ends the spiritual search for enlightenment and cuts through the false hope that the teacher or guru will miraculously fix your life circumstances. It is a simple stop that reveals your eternal nature, which is free of any role, any circumstance, or movement of mind to fix or change—the radical teaching of Ramana Maharshi.
The deep feeling that there is something wrong with you seems like it has no origin or that it has simply been with you your entire life, but the feeling of worthlessness or self-hatred can be traced back to the trauma of the birth process. But the moment you shine the light of your consciousness onto the shadow child there is a natural shift from the blame of immaturity to the responsibility of maturity.
Attention is the single word that describes the teaching of Ramana Maharshi. If you stop and ask yourself the question, 'where is my attention?' you can begin to notice what you are giving your attention to—you can begin to the source of the attention.