Book: The Discerning Clear Gaze of Yoga
Chapter: Meditation on the Sense of I-am-ness
In the fifth chapter, Meditation on the Sense of I-am-ness, I delve into the theory and practice of yoga focused on the sense of self. I propose a meditation model in which the sense of I-am-ness becomes the object of meditation. It is based on the idea drawn from the work of psychologist Richard Schwartz that the sense of I-am-ness assumes various characters and roles to which it attaches and identifies to varying degrees. These characters, each constituted of a bundle of habitual tendencies and causes that can lead to various forms of distress, have the potential to resurface in the mind and dominate it within an instant, whether in daily life or during meditation. The meditation process involves maintaining a converging inner gaze through a continuous process of ever-regressing self-observation. In this process the characters the sense of I-am-ness assumes that may 'hijack' the focus of our awareness are continuously identified and acknowledged in an inner dialogue and encouraged to step away from the front of the mind’s stage and take a place behind the scenes, reconciling them. This until the mind exhausts itself by which the meditative process becomes irrelevant, ultimately leading to a clear and contentless mind. This emptiness creates mental space for the arising of discerning insight, understanding that "I am not who I think I am; I am not the source of awareness".