Jonathan Foust

March 14, 2009

Who are you REALLY?

Filed under: Dharma, Video — jonathanfoust @ 11:27 am

Ramana Maharshi claimed you could unveil your true nature by constantly dwelling on the question, “Who Am I?”

The practice of self-inquiry has been a doorway to insight for eons.  The more we look, according to both science and Buddhism, the more we into the nature of things.

One of the cornerstones in Buddhist practice, which many say is the single-most profound contribution of the Buddha, is the concept of anatta, or ‘no-self.’

This is a gnarly thing to try to wrap our brains around because to fully grasp it, we have to go beyond the linear, rationale mind.  As I understand it, to dwell on the philosophy of ‘no self’ is pretty much a waste of time and was actively discouraged by the Buddha.  The practice, though, can lead to profound insights into the nature of self.

The following clip is from a program exploring the illusion of the human self.  The first portion explores a bit about memory and self.  At about 4:33, Eckhardt Tolle speaks on the topic in his interview with Oprah last year.  I find his western perspective quite refreshing.

If you’re interested, I’ll be leading a daylong retreat of inquiry into the question “What Am I?” in May.



  1. Jonathan – What does “Embedding disabled by request” mean? It appears to mean that I cannot access Eckhardt Tolle’s wisdom on self/no self. Meanwhile, if I give up working on my own “self,” won’t the world trample me? Looking forward to your comments on Monday…

    Comment by Mary — March 14, 2009 @ 1:29 pm

    • Yikes! I’ll have to look into this. As they say, no ‘self, no world.’ Exactly WHO said that is another question!

      Comment by jonathanfoust — March 14, 2009 @ 3:27 pm

  2. I can’t figure out the deal with Eckert Tolle. His writing strikes me as arrogant and sensationalist — “we are entering a new phase of consciousness!” I have to put his books down after reading two pages because the style is so guru-like and repulsive. How are people reading him? From what I know of him, I agree with a lot of his ideas because I’m into mindfulness meditation, but I have trouble reading and listening to him because of the “I will reveal the universe to you” presentation. Do you think I’m missing something?

    Comment by G — March 16, 2009 @ 9:31 pm

    • You make a good point. Eckhardt is a real character. Have you read The Power of Now? That is his most clear and cogent piece, I think. Much of what I enjoy about him is just how quirky he is. His latest work strikes many people as over-reaching. The Power of Now was SUCH a positive jolt to the culture. I think there’s always a risk in a second book and trying to match the impact of that initial message.

      Comment by jonathanfoust — March 16, 2009 @ 10:51 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: