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You Can’t Feel the “I AM”
Govinda: Dear James, I think I know Ramana’s method well. I just can’t catch the feeling of “I AM.”
Could you point out which chapters/pages in your book talk about the central practices? Or could you give out a brief summary of the practices you recommend so that the readers can have a road map when reading?
James: You cannot get a “feeling” of “I AM.” It is beyond experience. You can only know that you are the “I AM.” This means that you can only know that you are okay no matter what you feel. “I AM” means that “I am whole and complete,” that “I do not need any experience to make me complete.” This is why Ramana says that only by knowledge (that you are whole and complete) can you get liberation.
The practices you can do are carefully described in my book – karma yoga, bhakti yoga, jnana yoga, meditation and the yoga of the three gunas. They purify your mind so that you can understand the statement, “I am whole and complete, non-dual, actionless, ever-present, ordinary awareness.” There is nothing to feel or experience. Read the second chapter of my book again – you missed the point. There is only something to understand.
Govinda: Thank so much for your pointer!
One more question. You said the experience of the self is not enlightenment. But when the self and the ego switch position, isn’t this an experience too?
James: Yes. The “switch,” however, is brought about by understanding that the ego is actually the self. It is important to know that this “switch” does not miraculously alter your karma or your basic perception of objects. It permanently changes your relationship to your karma and objects. Many people believe that they are suddenly going to start experiencing endless bliss and be in some exceptional state, etc. This is not true.
~ All the best, James