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Wavy Surface
  • Omercan Sakar

Everybody knows, but it is forgotten. Self Inquiry: Who am I?

In the journey of self-inquiry and spiritual awakening, there exists a paradoxical truth that often eludes our conscious awareness: everybody knows, but it is forgotten. This profound concept lies at the heart of the teachings of Ramana Maharshi and the path of self-inquiry.

For centuries, sages, mystics, and spiritual teachers have illuminated the path to enlightenment, pointing towards the inherent truth that resides within each and every one of us. This truth is not something to be acquired or attained; rather, it is the very essence of our being, the substratum of our existence that remains ever-present, regardless of our awareness of it.

Ramana Maharshi, the revered sage of Arunachala, eloquently expressed this timeless wisdom through his teachings on self-inquiry and non-duality. He emphasized the simple yet profound truth that the ultimate reality, the pure awareness or consciousness, is not something to be sought outside of oneself but is already present within.

In the depth of our being, beyond the fluctuating waves of thoughts, emotions, and experiences, lies the silent witness, the eternal Self, the essence of who we truly are. This Self is not bound by time, space, or circumstances; it is the unchanging presence that pervades all of existence.

So why, then, do we often find ourselves feeling disconnected from this inherent truth, lost in the maze of worldly distractions and illusions? The answer lies in the veils of ignorance that cloud our perception, the forgetfulness of our true nature.

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From the moment we are born into this world, we are conditioned by society, culture, and the egoic mind to identify with the transient aspects of our existence, the body, the mind, and the roles we play in the drama of life. In the process, we lose touch with the timeless essence that lies beyond these superficial layers of identity.Yet, despite the illusion of separation, there remains an innate knowingness deep within us, a subtle whisper of truth that reverberates in the silence of our being. This knowingness is not based on intellectual knowledge or conceptual understanding; rather, it is a direct recognition of our essential nature—the Self that is beyond all dualities and distinctions.

In the words of Ramana Maharshi, "Realization is nothing to be gained afresh; it is already there. All that is necessary is to get rid of the thought 'I have not realized.'" This profound statement encapsulates the essence of the spiritual journey to unlearn, to let go of all that obscures the truth, and to abide in the effortless presence of pure awareness.

The practice of self-inquiry, as taught by Ramana Maharshi, serves as a powerful tool for dispelling the illusion of separation and rediscovering our true nature. By earnestly questioning "Who am I?" and turning our attention inward, we pierce through the layers of conditioning and arrive at the direct experience of the Self, the eternal, unchanging reality that is the essence of our being.

In this process of self-discovery, we come to realize that enlightenment is not a distant goal to be achieved in some distant future, but a timeless reality that is ever-present, here and now. It is the recognition of what has always been, yet has been overlooked in the busyness of life. So, as we embark on the journey of self-inquiry and spiritual awakening, let us remember the forgotten truth, that everybody knows, deep within the recesses of their being, the eternal Self that transcends all limitations. And let us reawaken to this truth, reclaiming our birthright as expressions of the divine, radiant with the light of pure awareness.

who am i

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