Self Inquiry is a personal journey that requires a “customized” approach for the exercises to be successful. For this reason, we don’t recommend copy-pasting any list that you randomly found over the internet.
Every individual has DIFFERENT wiring, preferences, and personalities; therefore, they must create their “own” list of questions for this exercise to work.
We understand that this task is overly complicated and time-consuming, but no worries. We have created an easy list of questions, which will help you build your list to work with it today.
Before moving forward with your custom-made Self-Inquiry, it is beneficial to define which type of Inquiry you are practicing. This way, you will begin to understand deeper your interests and inclinations.
The reason for this is that you might “LIKE” the idea of pursuing many things; however, that does not mean you are GENUINELY INTERESTED in pursuing it.
Objectively, Self-Inquiry divides into two categories: External Self-Inquiry and Internal Self-Inquiry.
External Self-Inquiry refers to an “outer” self-observation; this type of Self-Inquiry focuses on working on an individual’s body-mind, with the attempt to modify the person’s image.
Internal Self-Inquiry refers to an “inner” self-observation, where the individual examines the “root” or source of thinking, intending to reveal our true identity, dissolving the sense of the illusory ego, and having as a result Peace of Mind. This type of Self-Inquiry links to self-knowledge, the exploration of your “own” nature, and questions that focus on discovering who you are.
Creating Your List For External Self-inquiry (Outer Exploration)
In this Inquiry category, all questions should point towards an “outer” exploration; if the goal of your question intends going prior or beyond your EGO, meaning “altering” your body-mind “image” (psychological and physical), then make sure to refer to the guide below titled “Internal Self-Inquiry.“
- Grab a notebook or find something where you can write and take notes.
- Ask yourself, “What is the “thing” you’re inclined towards inquiring”?
- Write your answer down. E.g., my health, my relationship, my finances? Etc.
- Visualize the best version of yourself, the one that you know you could be but for whatever reason, you haven’t been able to develop.
- Think about it, as if you are seeing the movie of your “own” life, so of course, in this story, you are the hero who gets its “act” together and manages to have a happy life!
- Now imagine that this moment of your life is the part of the movie where your character is facing adversity. This adversity is the Inquiry that you want to work on right now (a better relationship, getting in shape, finding a better job, etc.)
- Ask yourself: What would the character in the movie (the BEST capable version of you) do in this situation? Answer it and write it down.
- Now, Do THAT!
Rinse and repeat until you’ve completed creating your desired list.
If you successfully finished the exercise above, you can work on any aspect of your life that you find GENUINELY INTERESTED.
Remember that not everything we think we want for ourselves is really something we genuinely desire. We might “LIKE” the idea but end up realizing that we’re either not passionate about it, LACK interest and motivation, or it’s simply incompatible with us. Make sure to have this clear beforehand.
Creating Your List For Internal Self-inquiry (Inner Exploration)
In this category of Inquiry, all questions should point towards an “inner” exploration; if the goal of your question intends to work on modifying your EGO, meaning body-mind “image” (psychological and physical), then refer to the guide above named “External Self-Inquiry.“
- Grab a notebook or find something where you’re able to write on and take notes.
- Ask yourself, “what is the “thing” which you’re inclined towards inquiring“?
- Write your answer down in the form of a question. E.g.: what is my real identity? Who am I? What is my true nature? What am I? etc.
- Ask yourself, “who is asking this question, who wants to know“?Write your answer down. E.g.: You might say your name, or Me, I, myself, etc.
- Ask yourself, “who is this “fill here with your above answer.”?
- Write your answer down. E.g.: “I am” (repeat question #2 until you fully understand that the ONLY correct answer is “I am.”
- Ask yourself, “who is this “I am”? “Write your answer down. E.g.: “I” (repeat question #3 until you fully understand that the ONLY correct answer is “I.”
If you successfully finished the exercise above, then you came to understand that the root of all Inquiry leads to this “I,” you can now begin to go deeper into this exploration.
The following are some of the most effective pointers that could facilitate your experience throughout any Self Inquiry Investigation.
- Notice that in EVERY single Self-Inquiry exercise, there’s NO personal entity to be found. Any apparent “owner” of action is illusory, and any other possible hidden controlling agent is also inexistent.
- Realize that the above understanding indicates that if there is no captain on the ship, the ship’s direction and destiny belong to the Ocean. We can call this ever-present ocean “consciousness” or “awareness.”
- This “ship” represents your body-mind. Your body and mind are just “tools.” They both come and go. Thought appears and disappears into and out of your awareness (you can witness this right now; look at your mind and see how thoughts come and go, but you remain here and aware of them).
- The perception of your body appears during the day and disappears at night into and out of your awareness (you can verify this tonight when you go to sleep, notice that even though your body is asleep, “you” (awareness) are awake and aware of your dreams.
- The same phenomenon happens while your body is in a deep sleep without dreams; “you” (awareness) are still awake, but there’s simply NOTHING to be aware of.
- Realize that AWARENESS is always present when the body-mind activities are in motion or pause (during deep sleep or the body’s death); there’s simply NOTHING to be aware of! Recognize that “THIS” that ever-present AWARENESS, is who YOU are.
“Deep Sleep Is Not the Absence of Awareness, It Is the Awareness of Absence”Rupert Spira
Now that you have explored the necessary understanding, you can go ahead and try any Self-Inquiry exercise that you find compatible with your “own” style and language.
The Dark Night Of Self-inquiry
There is a grey area of Self-Inquiry; this happens when a question seems to be egoistic (External Self-Inquiry). Still, in reality, it has a “pull” towards an Internal exploration (Internal Self-Inquiry). Common examples for this are questions like:
“What is my purpose?” or “what is the meaning of life?”
Both of these questions seem to have an Egoistic “movement.” Because “purpose” and “meaning” belong to the imaginary identity of who we think we are. So, we might prematurely categorize them where they don’t belong.
We can call this the “Dark Night of Self-Inquiry” because it’s a state where the ego has had enough of its nonsense and is questioning itself “things” or subjects that it cannot answer. It’s as if something within you activated an EGO self-destructive device, the timer is ticking, the EGO is terrified, and you will feel it.
The way to discover which of the two categories they fall in depends on you. Try answering the question without inquiring too much; give your best answer and write it down. Leave it alone for a day. The next morning go and read what you wrote.
If you “feel” that it makes sense, then this belongs to the “External Self-Inquiry” category. However, if it doesn’t make any sense, if it reads like BS, or you feel this inner fire of dissatisfaction, then, by all means, KNOW FOR SURE, it belongs to the “Internal Self-Inquiry” category.
Try these 5 Minute Meditation Exercises inspired by methods & teaching from Nisargadatta Maharaj, Ramana Maharshi, Adyashanti, Ram Dass, Neem Karoli Baba, and many other truthful and honest teachers.