22 Mar


Self-Enquiry Meditation Technique and Research Study

Your self-realisation is the highest service you can render the world. The degree of freedom and concentration from unwanted thoughts and on a single idea respectively are the measures to gauge spiritual progress.—Sri Ramana Maharishi

The technique we are discussing is Self-Enquiry; ”Who am I?” which was introduced by Advaita sage Sri Ramana Maharishi who belong to the 20th century. Self-enquiry is also known as Atma vichara. Zen practice a technique known as Zen koans.

It’s a unique technique due to is interrogative method by which the mind enters a state of void and with wisdom (negating “neti neti” when it tends to explain) if it’s not superimposed, the ultimate reality, the truth, Atman emerges; the wisdom of “I AM “is certain, the “I AM THIS” is not. Hence one realises that he is not the body, feelings, thoughts, etc. The analogy of the rope as a serpent, spider and spider withdrawing into its web, waves and the ocean are usually used to explain the nature of self and our worldly illusions.

Research and study:-

• In a study regarding the effects of self –enquiry on mood states of 34 participants was analysed. Results showed that through self-enquiry there was a significant decrease in five negative moods; anxiousness, nervousness, unworthiness, an ill-tempered and considerable increase in positivity, feeling energetic and let go attitude compared to control group.

• Analyses based on quantitative data from POMS mood inventory, results showed a change of particular mood and change in mood subscale on the POMS following self-enquiry practice and findings are that there was a decrease in depression-dejection subscale and increase in vigour subscale alone is noted.

• A study by Goleman, 1991 help understand that self-enquiry technique may be useful as single session psychotherapy for most people which is associated with a decrease in anxiety, anger and depression, stating that a client’s motivation is typically high during the first session.

• Self-enquiry maybe an essential mechanism in deconstructive meditations due to its role in facilitating insights.

• Through the phenomenological method, the structure of the experiences and fundamental themes of 8 practitioners from southern California of koan practice and their psychological perspective of the experiences were analysed. The analysis aimed to help students transform their conscious awareness of the world, and Zen students described their skills when working with koans.

Benefits of self-enquiry technique:-

“The Neurology of awareness and self” by Hanson & Mendius ,2007 discussed the effect of consciousness and awareness on the brain and nervous system as a sense of separation between the organism and world, identification with body, anxiety concerning survival, a constant search for stability ,the pursuit of pleasure and avoidance of pain. Non-dual practices are designed to emphasise the importance of releasing attempts to control, direct, or alter the mind in any way, to maintain awareness of different aspects of the experience.

Self-enquiry is an awareness of the awareness itself. The seeker is who is in search of Himself.

 “Words are pointers; Truth is the fruit of earnest action. Words show the direction merely pointing the way”---Nisargadatta Maharaj

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