Had an interesting time last night re-aligning myself to self-enquiry after the distractions of the last week. As mentioned, I'd been feeling a little weakened in that dimension. So I began re-applying myself to it again with a little more conscious force, and for some reason I became rather naturally drawn to Papaji's recommendation of using the mantra "I am free". It's funny how effective that can be. Even a few years ago, I'd have considered this approach a little flaky, or silly, or just plain forced. Now it just seems natural and true and restorative. It's not really about the mind thinking itself into freedom, it's about directly connecting to our inherent freedom, and just affirming what is actually true of me, and of everyone. Really liberating and strengthening. In some basic sense, practiced in a certain way it really is a form of self-enquiry, in that it is a way of putting attention on the "I", and seeing that the truth of "I" is that we are free. I can't tell you how good this feels, how certain freedom can feel, unless you know this yourself already - which you do.
Coincidentally, I got an email from a friend asking me to take a look at the Wikipedia entry for Ramana Maharshi. He felt that it had been watered down by new agey western neo-Advaitists, and needed re-editing, and wondered if I could be of help. So I went to read it, and found it to be a little sloppy, disorganized, and in places hagiographic. It could definitely use some work, but I don't think I'm expert enough in Ramana's life and teachings to be the guy to do it. I clicked to the entry on self-enquiry and likewise found it in need of work. Even so, I still found it very inspiring, and found myself drawn into the practice very directly. The use of the "I am free" exercise seemed to prep me for this, and the self-enquiry took on a lot of strength and depth. It's rather amazing to me time and again how quickly and easily self-enquiry can restore me to a basic and open-ended sense of freedom and happiness. Even if the source is imperfect, it doesn't matter, because self-enquiry derives its power from the Self, not from whatever book or person inspired us to practice it. And perhaps that's a point the Ramana entry in Wikipedia misses. It was certainly a major point in Ramana's own teaching, that the "power of silence" referred to in the article is merely the power of the Self, not something peculiar to Ramana.