The core practice is that of Self-Enquiry, "I Am" or "Who Am I". They all draw attention back to the I. Here I offer excerpts from Nisargadatta and Aziz Kristof on the fundamental practice of "I Am".

Click here to jump to the Aziz quotes

Nisargadatta Maharaj Practice of "I Am" given by Nisargadatta Maharaj
"focus your mind on 'I am', which is pure and simple being." - Nisargadatta

"I simply followed (my teacher's) instruction which was to focus the mind on pure being 'I am', and stay in it. I used to sit for hours together, with nothing but the 'I am' in my mind and soon peace and joy and a deep all-embracing love became my normal state. In it all disappeared -- myself, my Guru, the life I lived, the world around me. Only peace remained and unfathomable silence." - Nisargadatta

"My Guru ordered me to attend to the sense 'I am' and to give attention to nothing else. I just obeyed. I did not follow any particular course of breathing, or meditation, or study of scriptures. Whatever happened, I would turn away my attention from it and remain with the sense 'I am', it may look too simple, even crude." - Nisargadatta

"...establish a constant contact with your self, be with yourself all the time. Into self-awareness all blessings flow. Begin as a centre of observation, deliberate cognizance, and grow into a centre of love in action." - Nisargadatta

"Refuse all thoughts except one: the thought 'I am'. The mind will rebel in the beginning, but with patience and perseverance it will yield and keep quiet. Once you are quiet, things will begin to happen spontaneously and quite naturally, without any interference on your part." - Nisargadatta

"Give up all questions except one: 'Who am I'? After all, the only fact you are sure of is that you are. The 'I am' is certain. The 'I am this' is not." - Nisargadatta

"Just be aware that you are and remain aware." - Nisargadatta

"All I can say truly is: 'I am', all else is inference. But the inference has become a habit. Destroy all habits of thinking and seeing. The sense 'I am' is the manifestation of a deeper cause, which you may call Self, God, Reality or by any other name." - Nisargadatta

"How do you go about finding anything? By keeping your mind and heart on it. Interest there must be and steady remembrance. To remember what needs to be remembered is the secret of success." - Nisargadatta

"You must watch yourself continuously - particularly your mind - moment by moment, missing nothing. This witnessing is essential for the separation of the self from the not-self." - Nisargadatta

"Just keep in mind the feeling 'I am', merge in it, till your mind and feeling become one. By repeated attempts you will stumble on the right balance of attention and affection and your mind will be firmly established in the thought-feeling 'I am'." - Nisargadatta

"Our usual attitude is of 'I am this'. Separate consistently and perseveringly the 'I am' from 'this' or 'that', and try to feel what is means to be, just to be, without being 'this' or 'that'." - Nisargadatta

"To know the world you forget the self - to know the self you forget the world." - Nisargadatta

"The three states are only varieties of the dream state. Treating everything as a dream liberates. As long as you give reality to dreams, you are their slave." - Nisargadatta

"You begin by letting thoughts flow and watching them. The very observation slows down the mind till it stops altogether. Once the mind is quiet, keep it quiet. Don't get bored with peace, be in it, go deeper into it. (When asked how to meditate)" - Nisargadatta

"Behave as if you were pure awareness, bodiless and mindless, spaceless and timeless, beyond 'where' and 'when' and 'how'. Dwell on it, this of it, learn to accept its reality." - Nisargadatta

"Give all your attention to the question: 'What is it that makes me conscious?', until your mind becomes the question itself and cannot think of anything else." - Nisargadatta

Aziz Kristof Practice of "I Am" defined by Aziz Kristof
"The mechanical mind totally overpowers the psyche, not allowing one to experience either the Being or the Heart. In this state, one is totally identified with psychological events, thoughts and emotions. Because there is no center, every thought and emotion creates a separate Me, an identified Me" - Aziz

"The sense of Me is functioning merely as a self-conscious mechanism within the mind, so it can become self-attentive to its own psychological-mental activity. The excessive identification with the Me in motion, and the unawakened awareness of Me in itself, are the symptoms of what is called ignorance." - Aziz

"To transcend the unconscious mind, one must develop the Attention aspect of Me that is nothing but the direct, bare self-conscious recognition of oneself. When one pulls the attention from the place of being immersed in thinking back to oneself, one shifts to the state of self-attention. This experience is instantaneous, direct and has the flavor of the impersonal. In the process of cultivation, of bringing oneself constantly to the state of self-attention, gradually one arrives at the point of stabilization in this state, which is the goal of all seekers." - Aziz

"That which transcends the mind is the aspect of I Am called Attention. Attention is the present and conscious quality of our mind. It is that which is attentive to thoughts, feelings and surroundings. It goes beyond daydreaming and allows us to be aware within the thinking process. It is only this attention that makes us conscious and present, nothing else." - Aziz

"One learns how to turn the focus of attention to the attention itself. Then one is able to experience this attention in itself, as separated from mental object." - Aziz

"Attention, when it is attentive to itself, instantaneously steps out of the mind into the dimension of the Now." - Aziz

"The deepest purpose of our question ("Who Am I") is not to get to some place or to promote a doubt, but to create inside of our being a profound stop, which is the zero point of our consciousness." - Aziz

"As far as transformation is concerned, the awareness of the breath is very important. Particularly, mindfulness combined with slow and deep breathing to the belly can have a very strong impact on the mind and the transmutation of energy. Unless the energy of our being is balanced and transformed, to reach any of the inner states is practically impossible." - Aziz

"When the I Am blossoms in the middle of our being, we can be fairly content. At least we have some ground under our feet. No longer are we groping in the darkness searching for miraculous Enlightenment." - Aziz

"One makes a conscious attempt not to be identified with thinking. One tries to be aware of the arising of thoughts. Apart from observing the thoughts with a sense of distance, one is looking for the One who is aware. One tries to observe the observer, so to speak. This very attempt turns attention back to itself and should give rise to the state of self-attention." - Aziz

"Listen to the call from the Self. The I AM is calling you, so you can discover your original form. The I AM is pulling you to itself by the gravity of evolution, but you have to co-operate." - Aziz

"The way you experience yourself is your only reality. It is precisely this experience of yourself we are deepening. If you are in a state of forgetfulness, completely identified with the mind, you don't really exist. The way you experience yourself is just a mess. There is nothing stable inside, nothing you can rely upon. There is just the fluctuation of thoughts, emotions and energy. This type of existing is called suffering. You are not suffering because of your desires or attachments. The primal reason you are suffering is because of the way you experience yourself, your own isness." - Aziz

"Everyone wants to escape from the mind; everyone wants to disidentify with the mind, but where to go? To go beyond the mind does not mean to stop the mind but to find a new location within your existence. This new location is called I Am. From the viewpoint of I Am, it does not matter if you think or not think. Here, you are beyond thinking by your very presence. So how do we create this inner refuge, this inner solidity? By developing attention and by deepening the energy within Being." - Aziz

"Now repeat a thought like the mantra: 'I Am.' Very slowly, in a very focussed and contemplative way, 'I Am,' with full awareness. The moment you finish saying 'I Am,' before you say the next 'I Am,' feel what remains. This that remains is I Am, which is not a thought but your own presence behind the thought. So after saying 'I Am,' stop for a while. Feel your own presence, that which remains and again say 'I Am.' The one who is aware of the mantra 'I Am' is awareness. The one who remains when you are not saying anymore 'I Am', is awareness itself. Simply recognise this fact that the pure light of awareness is beyond thinking." - Aziz

"The mind has a few layers. The more gross layer of the mind is the 'inner dialogue' or the constant thinking. We call it the 'subconscious Me,' the subconscious mind. On top of the subconscious mind occurs the movement of conscious intelligence, which is the ego. Intelligence represents the positive ego. The one who discovers oneself, the one who gives birth to understanding." - Aziz

"Gently open your eyes, half-open, half closed. Looking just in front of yourself, on the floor, one meter in front of yourself. Through your eyes, consciousness is looking. Consciousness is making the floor visible and your mind using its memory, translates the picture into a name and form. Consciousness is looking outside through the eyes. And what you attempt to do is to recognise this very consciousness, by pulling energy back inside your head. Your head is like a camera, it makes things visible, but it is not aware of itself. You are aware of everything but your own head! Where is your head? Can you become aware of your head?"- Aziz

"Now you are facing your own mind which is the main problem. And it is about the time to face it! Isn't it? You are observing the mind with the utmost focus. You are becoming conscious of the fact that this observing is coming from a certain place. It is not merely the mind aware of its activity. There is a certain place from which you observe. That which is observing is the subtle mind; it is your intelligence. But what is this very attention behind the observing intelligence. Where are you located in this observation? Where is your sense of Me? Look inside and find out!" - Aziz

"You are re-locating your sense of Me – from being lost in the mind to the state of I Am. When this experience is stabilised, you will never lose it; it remains irrespective of your life situation. Spiritual expansion aims not at a temporary relief of the mind but at the permanent state beyond the mind." - Aziz

"With this full acceptance, we are breathing. We are absolutely attentive. As if the fire was surrounding you and you are going to die any moment. In this way, you attentively sit on the edge of life and death. Only with this attitude will you transcend unconsciousness, otherwise you fall asleep. Just being, breathing, remaining fully present… Let it all be as it is." - Aziz

"When you are unconscious, each thought, each emotion creates your sense of identity. In this way, you are made from the movement of the mind. Now, you are learning something fundamental – how to exist before the mind. You are learning how to be present before a thought arises on the screen of consciousness." - Aziz

"What you need to renounce is forgetfulness! You need to be dedicated from moment to moment to the task of remembering the Self; this is the only true renunciation." - Aziz

"Be playful in the outer, not taking it too seriously but remember the Self! Do not lose yourself in the outer. Retain your dignity." - Aziz

"In order to give birth to I Am, one has to cut through the unconscious or rather subconscious spontaneity. This need to separate oneself from the outer in order to regain the inner, is a natural part of the awakening process. That is the price which you need to pay. In order to transcend the mind and awaken to the Real Me, an enormous amount of energy has to be engaged and directed inside. Before a child is born, he has to incubate in the womb. You are in the process of incubating your Soul. " - Aziz

"In the ego-state, there is a constant oscillation between object and subject. Information from the outer comes back to the sense of Me; there is a quick self-referral and translation of this information and consciousness goes back to the objective reality." - Aziz

"Who is looking at the thoughts? You must look at the one who is looking in order to cut through the endless gymnastics of the mind. When you look at thoughts, you still refer to the outer, to that which you are not. You create some distance but this distance has no real strength and no quality of a centre. You can calm the mind down but not in a real way, for you have no way to become that calmness. To conquer the mind, you must change the focus from observing the mind to observing the observer." - Aziz

"When this intelligence becomes aware of breathing, it changes the direction of its focus. And when it looks at the mind, intelligence becomes conscious of its own content." - Aziz

"There is no point in watching the mind. You just rest in the state beyond the mind. To accept the mind is to rest in I Am. This very dwelling in I Am is pure acceptance, for it contains the whole of the psychosomatic flow. To accept is to become absent within the presence of What Is." - Aziz

"That's why, the moment you become conscious of the outer object, the awareness of the subject gets lost. You fluctuate between subject-object-subject-object. At that stage, you are unable to keep them both. It is natural. As you stay with the subject, it grows; the experience of it matures and rises in strength. The ability to be established in the State of Presence while simultaneously experiencing the world is not merely a question of dividing attention… or of training yourself to look inside and outside simultaneously." - Aziz

"What does it mean to get lost? Consciousness gets exteriorised completely outside; it loses its depth; it is no longer panoramic. This is what we mean by being lost. Awareness is no longer four-dimensional, it is flat and shallow, reduced back to three-dimensions. Here, consciousness is lost in the phenomenal reality. When the centre is present, you have depth, a panoramic awareness." - Aziz

"We spoke about a six months period for an average seeker to establish this experience (awakening to the State of Presence). But, in truth, this is quite a long time for someone who is dedicated to this task." - Aziz

"The suggestion is to remember yourself from the moment you wake up, to the moment you fall asleep. And you remember through remembering. The only way to remember is to remember. There is no question of 'how' to remember. Just do it." - Aziz

"This is how we measure progress – by seeing how much of the state is spontaneously present. Your attention must be constantly turned in, from morning to night. You have to renounce all what distracts you from this work. You must give up your forgetfulness!" - Aziz

"Breathing is not Being but when you are one with breath, you are very close to Being. When you are one with the breath, the experience of Being is reached easier. But what is important here is the element of surrender." - Aziz

"Thoughts come and go but they are not you. You are the one who is experiencing them. So what you are trying to do, is first to create a certain sense of distance from thinking. Thinking is like an obsession – it has superimposed itself on you. Firstly, you create a certain distance and next, through this distance you can have an angle to actually perceive who you are." - Aziz