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Deep Self Investigation

Discovering your true nature as awareness

Introduction

 

The conventional view of oneself is that you are a person: a separate, limited, body/mind entity among many others. This is not a problem, as we will discuss later. However, it is also simply not true. This view is part of a dream about life and you. What is actually going on, and what you actually are, is something much different. But to know what you are, you must wake up from the dream and the dream character you play.

The term “awakening,” as used in this book, basically refers to two things. The first is the recognition that you are not a separate person residing in, or as, a body and mind. The second is to realize that your true nature is actually awareness. This nature is like a living, conscious, energetic sea that moves freely around, through and as all things. You actually are this living awareness, present here and now, as this experience. 

Reading, reflecting on, and working with what is written in this book should invoke glimpses and shifts in perspective, allowing a parting of the veil that obscures the reality of your existence as living awareness. As new understanding develops, the conditioned thinking that supports “the story of you” will begin to dissolve and become obsolete, as if it were about a fantasy character (which is a fairly accurate description of you as a person). Gradually, and sometimes suddenly, periods of awakening reveal that the world is not what you thought it was. 

You may believe you want what awakening seems to offer, but how can you know what awakening is or what it has to offer if you have no prior experience to draw upon? There are just secondhand, often-vague descriptions, which are filtered through the mind to invent a vision of what awakening might look like. These visions will not carry you to awakening. What will guide you is an impulse, a magnetic pull toward knowing something that is literally beyond you. If you find yourself repeatedly returning to questions like, Who am I? or How do I know the truth?, then this impulse is active in you.

It appears that most people in this dream life do not feel the pull strongly enough to act on it. But in some cases, this compelling influence will not leave us alone. Often activated by a glimpse of an awakened perspective, unseen forces will coax and nudge us to persistently look beyond the human experience. In my late teens, I found that this question began to pull at me consistently, and soon became a force that I could not deny. This drove me to look for other ways of understanding what I really am, what this life is, and how existence works. While the process to recognize my true identity was complete after awakening about 10 years ago, the deepening recognition of how existence “works” continues still.

Deep Self Investigation (DSI) presents a clear framework for the process of self-inquiry that can lead to awakening. It appears that for thousands of years, many spiritual traditions and philosophical disciplines have included some form of self-inquiry. I was exposed to a number of these through literature and encounters with teachers. Over many years of working with various approaches, I eventually modified them into what I present in this book. The practice of DSI is the process of investigating and questioning the “sense” of being a separate self, what you refer to in thought as “I” or “me," as well as becoming familiar with what is beyond this I-sense. 

Even if you have practiced self-investigation, that sense of separate existence can still feel strong and convincing. You may believe that awakening is a lofty state far beyond the reach of our mundane existence. I will attempt to demystify the idea that awakening is some transcendental, divine, blissful condition beyond the life we know. I will continually point out that ultimate awareness is available to you here and now. This awareness through which you know the world, and even these words now, is complete as it is. Yet, saying that awareness is available and part of your everyday experience does not mean that you can easily and permanently establish the knowing of it. In my experience, awakening required me to persistently direct attention to the sense of “I” (the false identity) in order to change or dissolve beliefs accumulated over a lifetime.

This is not a self-help book. It is not aimed at improving your life. Knowing the truth will improve many aspects of “your life,” but not in the way you might expect. This will become clear as you read on. I will share some of the story of how I came to know what I know. In Part One, I’ll introduce you to some helpful ideas and the foundation for doing self-investigation, and describe specific methods for practicing DSI. In Part Two, I present my perspectives on life after awakening and explore how this realization continues to deepen. Part Three features examples of student dialogues, writings about their work with DSI, and a few brief student biographies.

Come join me in an exploration through and beyond the limits of the dream.

 

Cost

We believe that awakening, recognition of your true identity or nature as awareness, is your "birthright."  In a very real sense, it is what you already are.  Because of this, we offer our assistance in the form of training materials, one on one meetings, group meetings and periodic retreats at very low or no cost.  You are always welcome to donate a modest amount to support ongoing work here, however, the focus of our work will always be aimed at assisting anyone deeply drawn to the awakening process.