Inward Versus “Asward”

by L. Ron Gardner on May 17, 2014

There are two fundamental approaches to directly apprehending Reality—the “inward approach” and what I call the “asward approach.” In this blog post I will focus on the inward approach.

The direct inward approach, epitomized by Ramana Maharshi’s Self-enquiry, is based on inverting one’s attention to find the Self within. This approach seeks to find the true, or transcendental, “I,” by questioning, and obviating, “I” thoughts as they arise. For example, if the thought “I want to eat” arises while one is meditating, one enquires: “Who am I?” This tends to vanish that thought as well as concomitant ones that stem from it. When “I” thoughts are obviated by an advanced, initiated disciple, he experiences Shakti being sucked into the Hridayam (or Heart-center), the “Seat of the Self” located two digits to the right of the center of his chest.

When the thought-obstructing Shakti is sucked into the Hridayam, the advanced disciple, or jnani, experiences Jnana Samadhi--exclusive absorption in the Self apart from phenomena. At some point, Jnana Samadhi is felt as a subtle contraction, and the jnani then lets go of all effort and for a time abides in an approximate form of Sahaj (or natural and effortless) Samadhi. When Jnana Samadhi morphs into a reasonable facsimile of Sahaj Samadhi, the jnani, for a time, experiences himself as being the Heart, or Self, rather than as a yogi abiding in It.

When the Heart-Center knot is cut, the Shakti (or Force-Current) between the Hridayam and the Sahasrar (or Crown), called Amrita Nadi (Immortal Channnel), unobstructedly radiates as a pillar of Light, and the now Self-Realized Jnani unbrokenly abides in Sahaj Samadhi and knows Himself as Siva-Shakti.

In my next blog post, I will consider the “asward approach” to Self-Realization.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Viennabuddha August 9, 2014 at 4:16 pm

Dear Ron, OM Teacher,

you have recently reviewed Jes Bertelsen’s “Essence of Mind”. There Bertelsen discusses the concept of bi-directional consciousness, one’s individual consciousness simultaneously turned inward and outward; for the outward direction he recommends neutral observation, non-focusing, non-verbalization.

Please could you clarify that concept: Is it “inward”, “asward”, both or outside these categories? Is an inward path combined with letting a part of one’s unqualified awareness on empty space still “inward”?

Thank you and Namaste!


L. Ron Gardner August 9, 2014 at 9:51 pm

Viennabuddha, if one is practicing Dzogchen, the Great Perfection, the Essence of Mind, then one’s Mind is simply Present to what arises. One’s mind is not turned inward. Within the Context of being Present, what is “within” spontaneously reveals itself, and it is neither accepted or rejected, thus “voiding” it. The “asana” of being Present is the asana of “aswardness.”

Empty space is not God; it is just an object. You can be present to your body as a whole, which produces the feelings of merging with and coinciding with the body. No matter what you are present to, it is a sheath. Divine Union takes place when your conscious Presence unites with the Blissing/Blissing sheath — the Sambhogaya, or Anugraha Shakti, or Holy Spirit. This “produces,” or unveils Being, Cit-Ananada.


Viennabuddha August 10, 2014 at 2:29 am

Dear Ron, OM Teacher,

having absorbed your teaching and Dzogchen teachings, I seem I “got it” concerning the asward path. I feel a strong pressure around the frontal lobes of my brain when I practice Divine Meditation, so Anugraha Shakti will, sooner or later, start to enlighten me. I think, thanks to your patient and benevolent guidance, I have a good understanding of Divine Meditation and start to experience how it works.

I meant if it makes sense to additionally invert a part of one’s individual awareness (only a part, not turning 100% of the searchlight inward!), so that the inward and the asward path are practiced simultaneously?! Is my meditaion experience valid that by following the “asward” direction, a deepening of one’s individual awareness/presence takes place, it seems to automatically plunge deeper into itself?

The more, the result of both paths is obviously the same. I lack the experience necessary to understand or know, how the workings of the Anugraha Shakti takes place when exclusively following the inward path. Is it totally the same?

Thank you so much and Namaste!


L. Ron Gardner August 12, 2014 at 7:59 am

Viennabuddha, when one practices the “Inward Path” of Self-enquiry, the Anugraha Shakti is the same Shakti as in the “Assward Path.” One’s attention, however, is inverted, rather than directly present to the Whole.


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