Ok, so one more post on self-enquiry before I get to the nice story :) So it seems apparent that there are two practical aspects to this self-enquiry; the first being focusing awareness on this sense of individual 'I-ness', and the second as effortlessly abiding as expansive clear awareness.
What I have been reporting on in the last two blog posts has related to the first aspect. That is focusing awareness on the feeling-sense of 'I-ness' which we tacitly take to be real and which is said to be the basis of all our identification as an individual 'me'. It seems that this feeling-sense of 'me' has it's roots in unconscious identification with the 'I' thought. It is said to not be real but continues to have an existence until such times as we bring awareness into it where upon it begins to lose it's hold and eventually disappears.
What is then said to be left is the light of the True Self; the True 'I Am' whereupon all duality and separation cease to exist (it was only ever an illusionary appearance anyway we are told). Ramana Maharishi wasn't all the time intently focused on the individual sense of 'me-ness'. No, for him it was long gone and he lived naturally in expansive clear awareness devoid of separation.
So the second practical aspect of self-enquiry is this abiding as expansive clear awareness. The word 'practical' implies something to do but this is more of a non-doing. An effortless resting in presence which in itself catalyses further expansion. I would hazard an estimation that to the extent that we are free from the bondage of unconscious identification with 'me' is the extent to which our awareness is naturally able to expand in effortless being.
Andrew has contributed some useful comments describing this second aspect of self-enquiry which I reproduce here :
“Being present AS You (Pure Awareness)” versus “focusing awareness ON you (individual sense of me-ness)”.
So the book title, "Relax into clear seeing" is accurate. I was taught a helpful method - continually renewing the following: "I intend to be present" No trying, just renew the intention then drop it. It is non-intellectual and quite helpful. There is no diving per se, but there is a stopping of seeking and a relaxing into what is here and now. Then the sense of Is-ness becomes apparent.
In a similar vein, instead of straining our eyes to see something, let the light fall upon your eyes. Instead of listening to hear something, let the sound effortlessly enter your ear. This encourages innocence, innocent non-verbal perception, effortlessness, non-grasping of the senses.
So these two aspects seem to be different and I will draw a tentative conclusion that as long as they seem to be different then one would be well advised to cultivate both. Regularly giving exclusive attention to investigating with awareness this 'thing which feels like me', and the rest of the time, whether active or inactive, resting, in as much as we are able, in this expansive clear awareness.
I will hazard a guess that over time the distinction between the two aspects falls away until even the focusing of attention upon the increasingly subtle sense of 'me-ness' is occuring within expanded clear awareness.
Ultimately too, the sense of 'me-ness' will completely dissolve and then...... and then...... and then we'll just have to wait and experience it for ourselves but for sure something good will happen.
The above discussion is something I've been trying to get clear on for some time and what has been said seems to make sense at least for me. The practice begins with the effort of focusing attention on and isolating the feeling-sense of 'me-ness' and expands into effortless being in the pure unencumbered awareness that we already are.