Sri Ramana Maharishi recommended self-inquiry as the most direct way to Self-Awareness and liberation. There is also another way, which is not as well known, but it is referred to by a few mystics usually as unitive mysticism. The idea is that ultimate reality can be experienced through subjective experience. In other words, it is possible for two people to get liberated together.
Inspired by two modern day masters, AH Almaas and Cynthia Bourgeault, my husband and I began diving into the idea of awakening together a few years ago. It does mean awakening out of the patterns that tend to cause people to bicker, but it invites us to explore conscious love. This can really take a couple without touching into states of indescribable ecstatic union. This sort of unity is along the lines of what mystics refer to as the crucible of love. Once we work through our personality issues what is left is a lot of cosmic space and that is where the couple inquiry gets to be really interesting. What we practice is two fragrances sharing space, or even two waves becoming one wave. Might as well give it a whirl.
A couple turns and faces one another either on chairs or pillows, which ever is more comfortable. Keeping a timer handy, we bow to the mystery within each other, and then set a timer for 10-15 minutes (actually we often do half an hour to an hour each, but that is advanced). One person holds silence with a neutral, loving and open attitude, the second person has that time to share what is going on for them. It can be anything from how they are tired of doing dishes, to a cosmic light experience, or simply the current experience of being in a body. After the set time, there can be five minutes to simply ask a few clarifying questions, then the couple switches roles. There is no fixing, guiding, leading or directing. What we find is that we begin to become increasingly aware that there is a subtle intelligence that leads when we simply surrender into the moment.
We can also select specific questions to inquire into such as: “Tell me where you are in your Realization,” or “What makes you feel really alive,” or “How do you experience yourself right now,” or “Have you longed for intimacy”? Sometimes people want to wallow around in feeling like a blob or victim, and we just make space for that too, because it tends to open into something much more interesting. The main idea is to simply stay curious…
The practice is simple, and yet the shift in perception is dramatic. The focus becomes rather fun and exciting because we are learning what it is like to awaken in life together. Suddenly we realize that we had been swopping out partners simply because we hadn’t yet discovered how to inquire into the mystery of the other. Once we get curious about our inner worlds and how we can space cruise through dimensions together, then all of a sudden relationship becomes really exciting. You tend to want to be with your special other who can cruise with you, merge with you, disappear with you, and come back into this reality with you parting as separate waves. Plus it makes all of life more interesting, even doing dishes and taking the kids to school, because you turn around and look at them… and wow! There is a galaxy forming right there in front of your eyes! A crystal light body with total intelligence struggling with homework that only partly fits with its paradigm. And we can all laugh about it, make a meal and enjoy what it is to share a meal with people who like different food yet share the same table.
This practice sounds romantic yet it requires a great deal of courage, for when we truly experience unity our sense of self melts and we temporarily lose our sense of autonomy. Having a meditation and yoga practice is very beneficial, so that you know that you can come back to yourself. We can practice merging as a wave, folding in on one another, and then folding back out to normal functional autonomy. The main idea is to embrace the concept that two people can come together with the purpose of knowing greater levels of love, perhaps beyond our wildest imagination!