First of all, desire the Truth more than anything and don’t be afraid of the apparently bottomless pit of the anguish of frustrated desire. Remember to remember that nothing else is even nearly as important. Everything else leads to more of the same, over and over again. I’d give up everything; family, friends, possessions, future, past, even my life for even a moment of the Truth.
Next; question, examine and doubt everything; every thought, desire, motive, rationalization, reason, feeling, and perception. Look for what’s behind them… and what’s behind that… Don’t take anything for granted. Don’t believe anything I think. Every reaction is a ‘clue’; every judgment, hurt, frustration, resentment, satisfaction, pride, fear, etc.
Look especially at attachments, addictions, habits, compulsions, lies, rationalizations and things I can’t accept and reject. Be honest. Be accepting since I’m less likely to even notice the things I can’t bear to see, especially about myself.
Try anything that seems like it could help; (e.g. meditation, reading, memorization, lectures, groups, retreats, workshops, correspondence, DVDs, exercises, experiments (e.g. headlessness) documentaries, self-analysis, diet, supplements, arts (e.g. calligraphy), exercise, fasting, time alone, etc.
Take note of the behaviors of others, ridiculous or otherwise. Notice what’s behind it, why and look for similar behaviors and motives in yourself.
Work with others struggling as I am. Help each other deal with resistances and barriers. Confront each other about things we might be blind to like hidden assumptions, contradictions, inconsistencies, dead ends, laziness, procrastination, excuses, rationalizations and other subtle lies (and the motivations behind them; e.g. fears, desires and prides).
Cut out unnecessary activities like entertainment and other distractions, to make available the greatest amount of time and energy possible for finding the Truth.
Spend as much time as practical sitting quietly, meditatively watching conscious/awareness itself and noting the patterns and implications of the many thoughts that come along to interrupt conscious awareness.
Practice dying; or at least stepping aside and not doing. Sit quietly, meditatively relaxed and stop trying to control even thoughts or observing. The so-called person trying to control everything is probably a big part of the problem and main barrier to seeing the Truth of things.
Remember the possibility expressed by the quote; “So long as one wants anything with sufficient intensity to generate anxiety about not getting it, this constriction of consciousness will detract from opening to cosmic awareness.”
So, work like crazy, and strain with every fiber, but remember there’s no guarantee. Accept that you may never find anything, but without regret since nothing else matters. Work “without fear of failure or hope of gain”.
And, don’t lose any sleep over this; figuratively, since worrying and whining do no good, or literally; since sleep depravation doesn’t usually help either; making meditation nearly impossible or ineffective and is usually a sign of trying to do too much and falling back into diversionary, distracting activities.
PS; The biggest challenge, after maintaining determination to persist in the face of apparently hopelessly long odds, is to stay conscious enough to remember to continue doing all the things that need to be done (above) instead of drifting along half asleep in old habits, lost in one thought after another about the usual mundane amusements and trials of life.
~ From: Regarding THE Subject at Hand by Augie Monge