What is Self-Realization?
Self-Realization (also called spiritual awakening, enlightenment, transcendence, liberation, etc.) is a topic that almost entirely evades discussion. It is an incomprehensible occurrence when it happens, defying adequate, let alone accurate, description. Regardless, this subject – which cannot be communicated with any level of veracity or precision – has already been written about voluminously by some of the brightest minds. Because of this, I will humbly endeavor here to provide only a brief, high-level overview of the topic. To that end, let me begin by stating that self-realization is completely paradoxical, and it is definitely not what you think it is.
Self-Realization is a non-conceptual, direct recognition of the Ultimate Truth of all that is. It is the infinite perceiving itself in its natural resting state. When this happens, it is understood that the universe and all the apparent objects it contains – including you as a separate person – are nonexistent, except as temporary expressions - appearances - created by the only thing that exists: intangible, undifferentiated Oneness (which is simply a designation, a pointer, like the terms God, Tao, Brahman, the Absolute, the Source, Consciousness, Presence-Awareness, Reiki, the Force, etc.).
The Ultimate Truth cannot be conceptually understood or transmitted from one person to another through language or otherwise, making it elusive and rarely recognized. Even after self-realization, the Truth is always known, yet the mind cannot intellectually understand it. However, this Truth is so complete and indisputable, that it immediately ends the spiritual search for that person - full stop - because it is evident that there is nothing left to seek (yet personal and spiritual growth continue).
Self-Realization also often results in the end of most, if not all, attachments, as well as the significant reduction or total elimination of mental/emotional suffering, including any fear of death (it is now recognized that there is no death – you have always been here and always will be). The illusory nature of the universe is clearly seen, and it is revealed that there is absolutely nothing to be attached to or which could ever disturb who you truly are or cause you to suffer. However, these effects are just the tip of the iceberg; self-realization is so much more.
What is discovered with self-realization is so unexpected and unimaginable that it shocks you to your core essence and completely rewrites your fundamental understanding of everything from that instant forward. And, the fact that what self-realization reveals is totally inconceivable to the human mind is one of the reasons that the individual for whom it occurs now knows without doubt or qualification that the Ultimate Truth has been recognized. Please note that (as further discussed below) self-realization actually doesn’t occur to any individual because there are no separate individuals, only undifferentiated Oneness – and this incomprehensible discovery in self-realization is just one of the infinite number of paradoxes exposed as perfectly acceptable and true. Notwithstanding the paradoxes and contradictions of self-realization, what is discovered cannot be forgotten or lost – it becomes your foundation, a knowing that is as fresh every moment as it is when it is first seen. All questions are answered, and any that are not become moot or just fade away over time as irrelevant.
But to be clear, self-realization affords you nothing but the Truth. It won't help you lose weight or land a better job. It won't make you more attractive, cooler, or smarter. Self-Realization is not an intellectual event; what is revealed cannot be gasped by mental faculties. Because it is almost entirely incommunicable, it is not another concept, idea, or useful bit of knowledge that can help you relate to people or get ahead in society. In fact, there isn't anything you can do with self-realization at all in the world, except possibly help others discover it. Self-Realization destroys everything that is false, leaving only the Truth to remain.
As mentioned previously, paradoxically (again), self-realization does not happen to the person; the person is not present when it occurs. It is not an individual experience - it occurs when the illusion of a separate individual and the world dissolves. In fact, it is revealed that there never was any person to seek enlightenment, let alone attain it. However, the person does reappear after enlightenment (unless it occurs upon the death of the body), but now they are forever changed by the unassailable, pervasive recognition of the illusory nature of everyday life - that the universe and all it contains are just an imagining of Consciousness, within its infinite, incorporeal self, created out of the ethereal fabric of itself, and for itself as pure perception and experience (or perception of experience, or experience of perception . . . or any and all other possibilities!).
Consciousness (or Oneness, God, Tao, Brahman, the Source, Presence-Awareness, the Absolute, Reiki, the Force, or whatever other label you want to slap on it) is not elsewhere; it is not something that exists somewhere "out there" for you to locate at some as yet undetermined date and time. It is here, now. It is the only thing that exists. There is nothing else. Period. And who you truly are . . . well, you are That, and you always have been.
As noted above, a great deal has been written on this fascinating topic throughout the ages. Unfortunately, a merely intellectual understanding of the Ultimate Truth (as opposed to an immediate, unmediated realization of it) is insufficient and will not result in any bona fide apprehension or any permanent fundamental changes for the person (who will continue to believe in and cling to their unique individuality). However, the Truth can be directly realized with the right instruction, guidance, determination and diligence. If you are interested in learning more, please feel free to contact us. Namaste!