Many years ago, I had an interesting Darshan with Amma (one of many). She gave me my hug, and then pulled me up to face Her. With a questioning look, she said "I???" I got up and walked back to my seat with that question in my head..."I???" That was my initiation into inquiry. And even though serious inquiry wouldn't happen until many years later, I had already asked myself the question. I had already felt into the "I."
One of the most powerful ways to access potent inquiry is to be in the world, or in a relationship of some kind. Maybe even both. Because this sense of "I" arises so much when we are engaged with others, and with life in general. Spiritual Inquiry isn't using some technique to find a more comfortable experience, or to get rid of feelings of separation. It is to see "WHO" it is that needs these things. Because if we are using inquiry to get out of our experience, there is "someone" that is trying to get out.
I know, I know. You've heard it before. But have you ever really taken this seriously? I mean, have you every felt into the sense of "I?" Have you ever felt into what it is that is so afraid? What it is that needs to feel secure? What it is that feels separate? The person that demands to be heard? That needs to be right? What is that? Feeling separate, or afraid, or insecure isn't the problem here. These are just a few of infinite ways that ego disguises itself, yet they are also huge clues to where awareness is within the disguise. Our surface awareness will naturally go to the obvious stuff- the stuff that is easiest to perceive- the appearances. But real inquiry can penetrate much deeper than that...into the felt-sense of "I." Our devotion to the Divine Field, which I speak of continuously, is the means to expose this felt-sense of "I." As we open to the Field, it is possible to become more aware of the "I."
The sense of "I" is completely allowed- there is nothing wrong with it- yet deep within it, consciousness is opening up to itself- to the Field. This is how consciousness begins to transcend the personal. So when we get really honest, and we are conscious of our personal needs, our blames, our fears- that defining boundary of the "me or I" gets very clear. But now that we are open from inside, through our devotion to the Field, we can feel it strongly. And this is when we do inquiry. This is when we question this "I." This is how that felt sense of "I" softens and loosens.
I find myself in interesting situations all the time. I seem to attract them. And everything that comes my way is another doorway into seeing the illusory of separation. And every time I investigate, there is only one thing that makes separation feel real. It is the density of "I." But when I share this sense with the Field, those boundaries of separation fade. The consciousness within the "I" sheds its cloak of the disguise of that moment. And that disguise is whatever I am believing in that moment.
As Amma says..."I????" What is that? What is it really? If consciousness is everywhere...maybe we can begin looking in the least obvious places.