Shoot-Out at Self Inquiry Square

To set the scene for this article, please whistle a few bars of the theme music to The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Alternately, a Clint Eastwood sneer might also be helpful.


Recently, my ego, “Gus,” and I hadn’t been gittin’ along so well; so it was decided that we would have a shoot-out. Huhhh, yep, that’s right–the old fashioned kind; pistols at midday, one hundred paces apart. It was time to put an end to the apparent suffering. Plus, I was getting tired of Gus’s cussing–cussed a lot, that varmint did.

At high noon, Gus and I stepped into Self Inquiry Square. It was uncomfortably hot, with occasional swirls of dust. A buzzard circled directly overhead. In the middle of the square, we positioned ourselves back to back, and then set off walking in opposite directions. With our spurs jangling, we counted off fifty paces and turned toward each other. Gus looked cocky, as usual, chawing tobaccy. For a few moments, we stared at each other, I to ‘i.” Suddenly, without batting an eye, Gus drew his gun and pulled the trigger. But lo and behold, the only sound was a click. Stunned, he angrily aimed his gun at me and repeatedly pulled the trigger; again, the only sounds were clicks.

Armed in the strength of I Am, I began marching toward him. As I closed the distance, I emptied both of my six-shooters, throwing down the following books, rapid fire:

I Am That

The Power of Now

The Nature of Consciousness

Who Am I?

The Ultimate Understanding

Illusion vs Reality

Wake Up And Roar, Satsang With Papaji

Open Secret

I, Reality and Subjectivity

The Untethered Soul

A Parenthesis in Eternity

This Taste of Flesh and Bones

With each book tossed, I could see Gus’s level of fear increase. He was beyond scared, quaking so much that his spurs were jangling non stop. He knew that his perspective of ignorance would soon be dead. Less than ten feet from him, I sat down in the dusty street, crossed my legs, and finished him off with a few minutes of meditation.

When I opened my eyes (and saw clearly), Gus was nowhere in sight. By some accounts, the moment I closed my eyes, he turned tail and ran, lickety-split. Later, I searched town high and low; but I couldn’t find hide nor hair of him. It was as though he had never really existed. What about your “Gus,” you know, the guy/gal that goes by your name and claims to be who you really are? Is that little “i” still trying to run your life, or is I Am in charge?


For those who are interested, here is the above list of books, with their respective authors: (I Am That, Talks with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj),translated by Maurice Frydman; (The Power of Now), by Eckhart Tolle; (The Nature of Consciousness), by Rupert Spira; (Who Am I?), Sri Ramana Maharshi; (The Ultimate Understanding), by Ramesh S. Balsekar; (The Ultimate Understanding), by Shri Ranjit Maharaj; (Wake Up And Roar, Satsang With Papaji), by Eli Jaxon-Bear; (Open Secret), by Wei Wu Wei; (I, Reality and Subjectivity), by David R. Hawkins; (The Untethered Soul), by Michael A. Singer; (A Parenthesis in Eternity), by Joel S. Goldsmith; (This Taste of Flesh and Bones), by R. Arthur Russell

Dare to Dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,


Copyright © – 2022 – R. Arthur Russell

P.S. Please share this article if you enjoyed it. If you’d like to view my latest book (This Taste of Flesh and Bones–released September 8, 2020), press here. My YouTube videos may be found through this link. May the content of either or both help you along your spiritual journey. 🙏🧡

Thank You” & “Note to Publishers

8 thoughts on “Shoot-Out at Self Inquiry Square

  1. A very clever, creative and comical approach to offing the Gus varmints in our lives, Art. Thanks for the chuckle and the terrific visual. It’s always helpful (and in this case fun) to have a new way to see what we allow into our lives and decide whether they’re worth keeping. Bye bye Gus.


    1. Hello Julia,

      Thanks for your kind words; I’m so glad that you enjoyed the post. I’m often as surprised as the reader when an idea first comes and it begins to come to life. I’m glad that Gus didn’t win!
      Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Julia,

        I hear what you’re saying. My “Gus” is usually in abeyance; but occasionally (due to our conditioning), he still seems to appear. I believe that every time we catch him/her, we grow stronger in Truth.

        There’s a quote from Papaji that helps re-orient me to truth, if/when the fan of ego begins to turn again: “Everyone is sleeping. When you see other, when you see otherness, when you see duality, it is called dreaming. Only in the dream do you see objects.”

        Wishing you a great weekend!


        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s