To find the Truth, turn inwards, attend to the subject that you are. Only then is it seen that ‘all is Truth’, ‘all is One’, ‘This is it already’, ‘there is no inner or outer’, ‘all is liberation’, and that any division or separation is just an illusion.
However, without turning inward first, it ends up being the ego-mind proclaiming ‘there is no inner/outer’ or ‘all is one’, etc.
How to tell the difference? How to know if you have genuinely seen truth or if the ego-mind is still in control?
Well if you are still suffering, that means it is a mere proclamation of the ego-mind. Even if there is some kind of genuine insight there, it is the ego-mind’s insight.
If you are still suffering, it means ego-mind-thought is still in control. It means you are still operating predominantly on the superficial level of thought.
If you are still suffering, that means you have not succeeded in venturing inwards, turning within.
THINKING AND RATIONALISING
Perhaps you have rationalised away the ‘turn within’ teachings as being dualistic and ego-perpetuating? If so, logical as that sounds, it is actually the ego-thought-mind that has concluded this, and in doing so it preserves itself and suffering and confusion continues.
EGO-MIND DOES NOT WANT TO END
The ego-mind, thinking itself to be a real entity, does not want to turn within and end itself. It therefore finds numerous ways to not turn within and instead occupy itself with various gross and subtle objects (thoughts, feelings, sensations, imaginings, body, mind and worldly objects).
The ego-mind has come up with teachings such as ‘the ego-mind does not need to end’ or ‘there is no need to practice as all is already one’ or ‘this is already THAT’ and rationalises its position in order to defend itself and prevent its inevitable demise.
HOW THE EGO-MIND PERPETUATES ITSELF
Preoccupation with objects (defined anything that is perceived, or anything that arises in consciousness) perpetuates the ego-mind-ignorance-suffering. This is why these objects are collectively termed Maya – it is for the purposes of the teaching. True Self or Self is also a concept for the purposes of the teaching.
I’ll repeat that: preoccupation with objects perpetuates the ego-mind-ignorance-suffering.
The teaching’s aim is to turn within, to turn away from Maya towards Self. Only then is Maya also seen to be Self/One. Otherwise it is just the clever ego-intellect perpetuating both itself and the resultant suffering is the ego’s hallmark.
Think to yourself – why do all the true and effective traditional teachings state we must turn within? Why do all the great sages state we must turn within? Why did Ramana Maharshi teach self-enquiry? Why did Shankara, that great exponent of non-duality, tell us to attend to the Self? Why did Buddha stress meditation and turning towards the deathless?
Did these great souls not realise that though this teaching appears dualistic (to the ego-mind!!), it actually works? Why else did these teachings continue to thrive for thousands of years?
THE FATE OF MOST SEEKERS
My own experience is that most seekers, while they may find superficial and temporary relief from other paths/teachings or so-called non-teachings, they go round and round and continue to suffer and remain confused (note that alternating confusion and clarity is actually just more confusion) until they turn within, away from Maya-objects-illusion, towards the Subject-Self-Truth-Divine.
THE TRUE TEACHER
The True Teacher is within. All other teachers and teachings are Maya.
The true external teacher/teaching is also Maya, but it’s relative value is that it encourages you, by various methods, to turn within (that is to be uninvolved with various objects) and attend to the Subject-Self.
With respect to liberation, the false external teacher, even if they are honest and genuine, the false external teacher encourages attending to and involvement with objects and so maya-ego-suffering is perpetuated.
BE CARING AND KIND!
It is important to look after the body-mind, be an ethical person and discharge your social duties during this process. ie. be good! be kind! be responsible! look after your body-mind! look after other body-minds! minimise harm and negativity (ahimsa!)
THE PROBLEM WITH OTHER WAYS
There are many ways to this, but they all culminate or end up in this simple practice of inward Self-Attention or Self-Abidance or BEING devoid of objects. Why not take the short-cut and go straight there to the final practice?
All other practices rely on the ‘me’, the separate entity to carry out the practice, and eventually the question must be asked ‘who am i?’ or ‘what is the entity that is carrying out the practice?’. Only self-enquiry doesn’t admit of the separate ‘me’ in the first instance. You are That already! So abide as that and stop attending to objects, and be That Pure Invisible Formless Subjectivity that you already are!
THE ADVISED PRESCRIPTION
So my advice:
(1) relax, be still;
(2) do not take yourself to be the body-mind. Know you are pure consciousness/awareness. Take the body-mind-world to be a dream-like illusion.
(3) happily and lovingly attend to (turn your attention to) the Subject-Self and let go of/turn away from objects
(4) abide as the Self, subjectivity/consciousness devoid of objects: ie. BE what you truly are until ego-mind-suffering is no more.
For a more in-depth understanding of the essential teaching see here: The Path of Sri Ramana