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  1. Sort of -- follow the steps for self-inquiry I lay out here.
  2. Yes, that is effective. Hold to the ego and it will disappear.
  3. It's all about what you truly desire. That's what's going to happen anyway; the question is only whether you can acknowledge it and live it fully consciously, integrate all the different voices within you into one harmonious chorus. So the question is not Truth for Truth's sake or Truth to reduce suffering but -- what is your inner truth, the truth of your feelings and desires? That determines the rest. Well, that depends on your perspective. The real truth is that it all 'disappears' in the sense that something disappears when you don't pay attention to it. Never pay attention to the personality and it can no longer be said to be there. So the thought "there is a personality" technically is ignorance. But to the enlightened one that very thought cannot be said to exist. But if one insists that there is such a thing as a personality... then unwinding is what is said to happen
  4. Well, it's not quite that simple. What prevents people from "just doing it" is a whole bunch of psychological obstacles that they usually need to troubleshoot. Sure, if you can just do it, absolutely, just do it. Indeed, if you can simply surrender all desire and relax thinking, that works too. People don't want to be enlightened per se; what they want is fulfillment/happiness and answers to questions like "what's the point of life?" It's just that enlightenment is the way to these things.
  5. No, that's not the test of enlightenment. I have no comments about ox herding. If you have any other questions about your path, feel free to ask them.
  6. I have some book recs here and also my book. Yes, exactly. And as you try it again and again ask yourself -- who is aware of this trying? I don't think in ox herding terms. There is only liberation.
  7. Different methods work for different people, and all rivers eventually empty into the ocean. Sincerely do what you're able to do and that you feel helps you. Move in the direction of the spirit as best you can. That's what matters most. That said, "who am I not?" will go on forever, because there are infinite number of things which you seem not to be. But you want to discover what you are. That's why you might ask yourself "Who is asking the question 'Who am I not?'" Of course it's confusing, because it's like trying to see what's obvious. It is confusing until it becomes utterly simple. If you were enlightened, you would not think of yourself as someone who worked at McDonald's. That's not the "I" with which you would identify.
  8. No, it isn't. If the "answer" is heard/seen, it obviously isn't the answer -- It's just a thought. The one who "ultimately" hears is not "an answer" which itself is heard/seen -- you already know this. So why are you telling yourself that the thoughts that are coming into your mind when you inquire are "answers"? They are not. They are just thoughts. So keep your focus on the "I" feeling which notices these thoughts... and whatever thoughts which are "heard/seen" come up, notice that the "I" notices them... and again focus on that "I" feeling...
  9. Wonderful. You're quite welcome. I don't know much about SDS. But generally speaking you're going to have to go beyond a concentration practice to actively examining what the "I" is -- the problem is ignorance. It needs to be dispelled through looking inward, not just sitting -- that's why I recommend inquiry. You can start with SDS if you like that to build up your mental strength, and then move on to inquiry when you're ready. Whatever it is that quiets your mind and organizes your efforts. Everyone needs some level of ideas about what the Search is -- some intellectual framework. Could be very simple, but some people want and require a lot more. So get that if you need it. It's very individualized. Each person is a little puzzle that they have to solve themselves. What is distracting or bothering you? Deal with it one way or another. Could be diet or exercise, could be certain other people, could be any number of things. It's about being honest about what you want and feel and taking steps towards what you really want. I also highly recommend what I call metaphorization -- which is the setting forth of your feelings in a way that describes what it is like to experience them. It could be done in words, or in drawing, or music, or any artistic medium. It's a way of discovering what you really feel and what you really want, and also of transforming pain into beauty. Yup
  10. It can be a useful concept in some contexts, but ultimately no.
  11. Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche talked of "nostalgia for samsara" being a possible mental obstacle.
  12. Well, to an enlightened human being, there are no enlightened human beings, really... it's just a figure of speech. Indeed, one cannot even say that there are really human beings, bodies, or perspectives at all. So from the enlightened perspective, all of these cannot be said to exist. But if you believe in bodies and perspectives, then karma is also true, and each person will reincarnate in a way that reflects the effects of their actions in this life and all previous ones.
  13. Don't worry, it's not a stupid question. The answer is that enlightenment is not a 'belief' or a 'truth' that can be disputed... it is beyond words, and when it is recognized, it will be understood exactly why it cannot be doubted. It is not a truth that is dependent on this body or this life. No, just being is purpose enough for the enlightened one. He or she may appear to do things in the world, but those are not necessarily reflective of an internal sense of purpose. And you're very welcome. Blessings.