G'day mates. All is well here. This morning I went to another Satsang with Arunachala Ramana, the Texan Big-Gun of Consciousness. I like him very much and as much as I like the others I have met here too (Mooji, Werner, Gaia etc.), Big Tex is high up on my favourites list.
His bi-weekly Satsang starts with an hour of silent sitting followed by an hour of Q&A. Then after an intermission we take chai (sweet indian spiced tea) out on the patio and have another informal hour of Q&A and sitting quietly together. All in the very peaceful setting of the AHAM ashram well away from the bustle of town. The 20min cycle there in the morning is very peaceful and pleasant and one passes many orange clad renunciants and monkeys along the way who are quietly going about their morning business along the shady tree lined mountain road.
There is not much doubt in my mind that Big Tex is consciously residing in the presence of pure consciousness (the Self) and is able to express very clearly and freely from there. Somehow he is not drawing the big crowds like Mooji which means that it is a much more personal and intimate setting where one can interact freely.
Big Tex is only here for another week, before returning to his North Carolina Ashram, and then it seems that Werner will be the only regular Satsang gathering in town (twice weekly) as he is living here year round. There may be the odd visiting teacher but basically the high season is drawing to a close as the heat starts to build and the Westerners start to thin out (I am fine with the heat so far). There is also a Indian Lady Saint here called Siva-Sakhti who gives silent blessings here twice a day; I have been there many times and she reminds me of Yoda as she is so tiny, self-possessed, silent, slow moving and graceful. One can imagine her showing another side if she had to get her light-saber out and put pay to some bad guys!
And of course there is Ramana Ashram and the Mountain itself which are constant beacon lights of Consciousness. Being here is like being in a powerful force field which is drawing all the beings back to awareness of the primordial Self. Big Tex reckons that Arunachala is the planets primary power place of Consciousness which draws more Self-Realised Beings to it than any other place on earth, and that is a view supported by the Indian scriptues and Ramana Maharishi himself.
The thing is this; at the root of our own sense of identity is this 'I' thought. Before 'I am this' or 'I am that' or 'you' or 'that' can arise they are all in reference to this primary idea of 'I'. The approach of Self-Enquiry is simply looking within and becoming aware of this 'I' thought at the subtle level of the mind. Under the steady patient gaze of awareness, and disallowed from spawning progeny, this 'I' thought eventually dissolves and gives way to the experience of the True 'I', the 'Self', which is ever at peace and non-changing. Repeated application over time cultivates steadiness in this natural way of Being.
Self-Enquiry is not the only way. Also held to be effective is direct association with Self-Realised Beings, and attuning one-self to their vibration by repeated subtle remembrance of them (name and form) with devotion; whether near or far, or whether the Sage is still in the body or not.
The Mountain is One; the pathways to the top are many and varied
All rivers lose their names when they merge with the Ocean