How to Practice Enquiry
Many people have been practicing the enquiry: Who am I? Who am I? They do this for one week, and after one week, they go out and question everybody they see on the road, “Who are you? Who am I?” And nothing happens.
So this not the way of enquiry. It needs some qualifications. You must be very well qualified and then you need to ask this question only once. You need not repeat it anytime. Repetition and the mind goes into a routine, you see. So don’t make it a habit of repeating this enquiry at all, otherwise, mind gets accustomed to it and then it becomes a routine. It will lose its value.
You must take care with what is to be done. There are some initial preparations for this enquiry. First, you have to search, if possible, for someone who knows and has found the result of this enquiry. Try to find that person. If you can’t, then there are some qualifications. Restrain the outgoing tendency of the mind to cling to the sense pleasures — otherwise, it’s no use. You are spending the energy of the mind, which you have to use, in the wrong direction. To go inward, the same energy is spent as to go outward. This energy has to be checked and then you have the qualification of discernment and you have to discriminate between the real and the unreal. You have to choose what is real and not what is unreal.
So I believe the only reality in the world is your own Self. I introduce you to one reality. Nothing else is real. Everything is temporary from gods to a worm. From creator to any animal. All are appearing, disappearing and not permanent. Your Self alone is real. So, first of all, this is the foundation of enquiry which has to be built on a rocky foundation, not sandy. So real or unreal? Decide it.
Next, where is your mind going? If it is bent outside, you can’t conduct this enquiry. Your mind is going out somewhere for pleasures. Mind always seeking the pleasures of the past. Mind is past. This enquiry is very present. Very present. When you say, “Who am I?” It’s not past, neither is it future. So first is discernment and then check the mind’s clinging to pleasures. Then karma means activities. Certain activities are not good. Some are very essential and we can undertake those activities. But those activities which we can do without, are better avoided. So these things are absolutely necessary for enquiry. This is the basis.