The next time you’re feeling any particular emotion, it doesn't matter which one, ask yourself the following question: Who is the “I” that feels this way?
This is self-enquiry—one of the most effective and direct paths to realizing your ture self nature.
You assume this “I" that you repeat inside your mind is “you”—but, do you truly know who that "you" is?
We convince ourselves of many untrue things about ourselves by obsessing over thoughts that would otherwise just drift by, but instead we latch onto them and personalize them. We then carry these ideas around with us, refusing to put them down, repeating them over and over inside our heads until we self-indentify with them completely.
Because we allow this voice inside our heads to continually repeat its false claim—such as "I'm worthless"—such thoughts then turn into an unquestioned belief.
But we shouldn’t accept such imaginings of mind as absolute truth.
No spiritual awakening can occur without first observing your behaviours and beliefs and dissolving whatever untruths you find.
It is merely your ignorance of what is true that causes you to suffer—nothing else. What you tell yourself about yourself is not true.
Discard the false and only the truth will remain.
No matter what emotion you find yourself entangled in, take a moment to practice self-inquiry before you further wrap your sense of identity inside its limiting and overwhelming feeling.
Ask yourself: Who is the “I" that is sad? Who is the “I” that is angry? Who is the “I” that is afraid? Who is the “I” that is offended? Who is the “I” that believes it’s not good enough? Who is the “I” that is jealous? Who is the “I” that believes it’s superior?
Observe your mind and investigate the source of your I-thought.
Where does it point to? To whom does it refer? Look behind your thoughts. Look underneath your emotions. From where does the voice resound?
Do you see how it is merely the idea of “you” that feels this emotion you're experiencing? Do you see how this I-thought is not the true you?
It is only the I-thought who is upset. It is the identity you’ve created for yourself who feels this way, who is attached to certain memories, opinions, beliefs, assumptions, and expectations.
The I-thought is merely a character created by imagination who identifies itself with whatever the mind and body perceives.
This is a mistake in perception.
For example, If “I” am sad because something didn’t go as I’d hoped or planned, or perhaps someone let “me” down, then the “me” who is disgruntled is merely the expectant thought that things “should” have worked out in "my" favour, but didn't. Without there being such an assumption to attach my mind onto, “I” would not have this feeling.
In other words, it is the I-thought that is hurt—not your true self.
The imagined “self” believes it somehow owns its feelings. "This sadness is mine!", it exclaims.
But an emotion cannot be owned, it can only be experienced, just like any other perception… including your thoughts.
Your true self is not the parcel of memories and thoughts you believe yourself to be, it is the presence of inner awareness that perceives them. Your true self is unbound by any belief, it is immune to any thought, it remains unflinched by any emotion because it is your true self who is experiencing these perceptions.
You are the perceiving, not the perceived.
No thought that you can ever conceive about yourself can ever truly be yourself. Your true self is beyond any concept your mind might try and convince you of.
Your true self can only be experienced as the presence upon which all experience is made aware.
You experience emotions, but YOU are not them. You cannot be sad—you merely experience sad. And guess what? No experience lasts. So whatever negative thoughts you may neurotically beat yourself up over inside your mind, remember... this too shall pass.
You are not the voice inside your head. You are the one who perceives it. But once it's refused of your attention and belief, the imagined voice of your "self" will lessen and recede into the nothingness from where it came.
You are the "I am” that echoes inside your head, but the truth stops there—it can go no further than that. You are not “this”, and you are not "that”. You simply, are.
You are the infinite awareness whose only limits are the thoughts you choose to believe and thereby define yourself by.
Go beyond—to the unborn mind. That’s where you’ll find your true self—the silent space within where all perceptions appear, the presence of unbound knowing—your limitless presence of all-accepting awareness.