After numerous conversations with friends and loved-ones over the last few months, it became clearer that the significance of the Path of Self-Realization is actually an alien concept for a great many of us.. and deserves greater explanation.
I’ve taken my having carved space in my life for such a journey for granted. Although not that popular a priority in current day India (2018), where I currently reside, the land here is nonetheless steeped from ancient times in a rich culture and context for Self-Realization. So while we have a rabid preoccupation with wealth, rank and status in India, we do get on some level what a Path of Self-Realization is, whereas it might seem as making no sense (or nonsense) to most others on the planet.
So more and more I am finding that a responsibility of my work as a Perspective Mapper requires communicating a deeper explanation of what Self-Realization is, especially as we find our conventional life pursuits, and conventional life perspectives, unsatisfactory and unsavory in-and-of-themselves.
So that said…now, to the question:
What is Self-Realization?
Self-realization is the process by which we, as human beings, connect to the Core of who we are. Different traditions, cultures, and practices I feel will have different labels for what I am calling Core. Some might call it Source, Soul/Spirit, Dhamma, Divinity, Truth, Higher Self, or God. Yet, I believe it’s the same whatever we call in. It is our center-of-gravity which is the seat of, and source of, the highest clarity, peace, conviction and intelligence in us.
Depending on a number of factors, we might or might not experience a connection to our Core, let alone have faith that such a center within us even exists. We might feel we are operating simply on instinct, emotion, and logic — without any sense of a deeper gravity within. However, some of us might have certain glimpses or set of experiences that indicate a higher-order guidance or compelling pull inside. This we might call intuition and many of us tune into this to aid in making life choices.
Even further yet, some of us might find that simply having access at times to intuition is not enough. We might come to the conclusion that tuning into our Core actually describes the very purpose of life itself, the very reason of existence, and the highest aspiration we as a human being can seek.
As mentioned, the commitment of tuning into our Core, above any material or worldly validations, can be called the Path of Self-Realization.
Other words people use is Moksha, Liberation, Nirvana, Enlightenment, Communion with God, or returning to our primordial state as describing this aspiration. Whether it is actually possible to be totally tuned-in, or simply a never-ending process, doesn’t matter. The path is still the same.
How do we seek Self-Realization? Simply, at the foundation, I believe, is through a process of meditation. There are hundreds of different meditation techniques, many we don’t even label meditation. I see meditation as simply theprocess we use to disrupt our emotional reactions and logical patterns to make space for, and offer sensitivity to, our inner core. And…most meditations, including my own, use breath as a central focal-point. (I discuss meditation on this site — and I’d be happy to share insights that help you explore a meditation practice for yourself.)
The world is obviously a different landscape this generation than ever before. Practically every human being has, or will soon have, access to the world’s storehouse of knowledge..as well as to each other.
Yet, the fact remains that our cultural context is largely dependent on those we physically live and work with. And…this context might be insufficient in making space for a desire for Self-Realization that might be emerging within us.
That said, wherever we are, or whatever our context, if we find such an urge overpowering us, we should most certainly take it on and find a way to make it our own. I believe the ultimate satisfaction and highest value we can provide others is through realizing and expressing who we really are… at the very core.