For those who are interested in the teaching and practice of Yoga or Buddhism, the main similar practice is about self-inquiry, to inquire the truth of individual being existence by contemplating upon “Who am I?” where most people interpreting as “Knowing who we really are, or who is the real ‘I’.”
Because of the literal meaning of the words being used in the question of “Who am I?” regardless of being translated into whatever languages, the mind takes it as there is a permanent self-existence (of who I really am) undergoing the process of reincarnation of being born in countless different life existence/transformation existing as different individual being under different names and forms, and I am trying to filter and drop off all kinds of imperfect momentary identity of different names and forms in order to uncover and reconnect with my real identity of who I really am, where many minds believe and desire that “who I really am” or “the real I” is something ‘spiritual’, ‘pure’ and ‘perfect’ that is imperishable, indestructible, unchangeable, permanent, absolute and infinite, with some kind of ‘transcendental superpower’ where all kinds of ‘miracles’ happen under my command/wish, having all my desired imaginations/wishes come true where everything will be exactly the way as I wish, with absolute unlimited freedom to be whatever I want to be, being with those who I want to be with, go wherever I want to go and do whatever I want to do, where there’s no limitation of hunger, thirst, old age, weakness, injury, sickness, death or suffering, but only desirable pleasant enjoyment.
And hence, the mind is ‘stuck’, couldn’t go beyond what it thinks it knows, where the mind is unable to transcend the selfless modification of the mind perceiving all kinds of names and forms of a worldly life existence, couldn’t go beyond the idea of ‘I’ where the mind thinks and believes ‘I’ exists as an individual being hoping/desiring to have better transformation in better world, hindering the mind from self-realization, to realize selflessness, or ‘I’lessness, or egolessness, to be free from the ego, or the idea of I of the existence of an individual being existing and experiencing (different) life existence or impermanent transformation.
Self-inquiry is more about contemplation upon “What is this ‘I’ that ‘I’ think and believe as an individual being existing and experiencing a worldly life existence that is comprised of all kinds of duality, where (I think) I experience desirable and undesirable experiences, where (I think) I feel happy/satisfied and unhappy/dissatisfied, where (I think) I try to learn many things to be able to survive and satisfy my desire of craving and aversion, to find and achieve the meaning of my life existence, to set goals/directions for my life, where (I think) I was born, where (I think) I live a life, where (I think) I have many different kinds of happy/unhappy relationship with different individual beings, where (I think) I enjoy and suffer, where (I think) I will die, and where (I think) I will be transforming into another name and form either in the same world or in a different world according to the good/bad deeds that I have been doing and accumulating.”
If the mind replaces the inquiry of “Who am I?” with “What is this ‘I’ that ‘I’ think is ‘me’ or ‘myself’, whom ‘I’ think and believe is existing as an individual being experiencing this life existence of happiness and unhappiness, who is doing all these thinking, who performs actions and enjoying the fruit of actions?” then this will allow the mind to ‘look at’ or investigate ‘itself’ from a different perspective, sort of like a (non-existent) third party to investigate/inquire the modification of the mind, or what the ignorant egoistic mind thinks and believes is the existence of an individual being perceiving/experiencing this and that, and without attachment and identification towards the selfless and impermanent modification of the mind perceiving names and forms of a worldly life existence, and be able to eliminate the ego/the idea of ‘I’ and egoism, where the mind can be free from the idea of ‘I’ and egoism, and absorbed into Silence/Samadhi (The annihilation of the modification of mind), transcending names and forms, births and deaths, actions and the fruit of actions, enjoyment and suffering.
There’s no ‘I’ am selfless, or I am performing selfless actions. There’s no ‘I’ am selfish or unselfish. There’s no ‘I’ am good or bad. There’s no ‘I’ am transforming into this or that. There’s no ‘I’ am enjoying or suffering.
The mind (or the thinking faculty as part of the function of this physical body,) is functioning and perceiving all kinds of names and forms in this present moment, restlessly acting and reacting, generating actions that bring along pleasant/unpleasant consequences of actions, and that’s all. The modification of the mind, or the thought currents, or the thought activities, ceaselessly arising and passing away selflessly, countless births and deaths happening, in this present moment. Neither it’s ‘I’ nor there’s ‘I’. There’s neither past nor future. There’s neither performer of actions nor the enjoyer of the fruit of actions.
Contemplate upon the teaching of “The world of names and forms is the by-product of the modification of mind. There is no perception of the world or life existence (in Silence/Samadhi/Annihilation of the modification of mind)” along with the process of performing self-inquiry.
Fearlessness and desirelessness are ‘the two sides of a coin’. Similarly, selflessness/oneness/non-separateness/attributelessness/namelessness/formlessness/birthlessness/deathlessness and fearlessness/desirelessness are ‘the two sides of a coin’.
As long as there is still the ego, or the idea of ‘I’ exists along with the modification of the mind, there’s ceaseless births and deaths (in this present), there’s an ‘individual being’ existing and experiencing the world of a worldly life existence being satisfied or dissatisfied with this or that, there’s egoism of attachment/identification/craving and aversion/judgment/comparison/expectation, there’s survival instinct, there’s separateness, there’s desire and fear, there’s possessiveness and protectiveness, there’s ceaseless actions and the fruit of actions, which gives rise to endless births and deaths (in this present) within the modification of the mind.
As Swami Sivananda mentioned in his teachings, “Kill the mind,” or in another term, “Annihilate the modification of the mind,” if the mind thinks the word ‘Kill’ is inappropriately used as the mind believes it’s representing the quality of violence, non-compassionate, unkind, unloving, negative, bad and wrong. This is nothing to do with ‘killing’, ‘changing’, ‘controlling’, ‘over-powering’, ‘influencing’, ‘uplifting’ or ‘inspiring’ other minds. It’s about this mind silencing its own modification, attaining Silence/Samadhi.