The Effects of Self-Inquiry on Mood States

This research study explored the effects of Self-inquiry on mood states. Self-inquiry is defined as the practice of asking simple but profound questions about the experience of and the nature of reality, such as, “Who/What am I?” These simple yet profound questions challenge the conceptual mind’s capacity to produce a logical answer. Self-inquiry questions direct the conceptual mind to the subjective awareness that is present in our thoughts, feelings, and sensations. This form of inquiry is practiced in many nondual Eastern traditions such as Zen Buddhism, Tibetan Dzogchen, and Advaita Vedanta. The term nonduality refers to the understanding that the appearance of separation or distinction in the world is, in fact, an illusion.

Total sample consisted of 34 participants consisting of adult men and women from a variety of ages and ethnicity/race. Twenty-four participants, randomly assigned to the experimental group, listened to a 20-minute recording of Adyashanti, a contemporary spiritual teacher. The other ten participants were randomly assigned to the control group, and they listened to a 20-minute recording of the sounds of nature. Adyashanti’s recording provided Self-Inquiry instruction in the realization of Self. The Self, as referenced throughout this study, is the subjective awareness that is present to everything in our experience and cannot be objectified. Profile of Mood scales were administered to participants in both groups before and after they listened to the recording for their group. The main objective of this research was to determine whether the practice of Selfinquiry had a favorable effect on mood states. The results showed the following trend that Self-inquiry practice had a favorable effect on mood, primarily in decreasing anxiety and depression when compared to the control group. The results however were not statistically significant. A larger goal for the study was to further the dialogue in the field of psychology concerning the effects of nondual wisdom traditions in relieving human suffering.

The Effects of Self-Inquiry on Mood States by Tamra Sattler


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