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Our modern life is devoid of happiness and peace because there are too many things to be done and many unwanted desires to be met. Self-realization is an ideal way to reconnect with oneself.
It is a process of soul nurturance when you do not think of yourself as a physical body, but an embodiment of joyous consciousness with divine energy.
Self Realization Definition
Self realization is the intuitive understanding of ‘Self’. It is a journey of self-exploration through awareness and recognition of individual potentials.
Spiritual teachers, across the globe, have spoken a lot about self realization. The concept is popular in the western world as well as western philosophy.
Western psychologists and philosophers conceptualized self realization as a way to unleash individual potentials and abilities. You are born with some natural talents that need to be fulfilled and made use of. When you begin to realize yourself, you become aware of these qualities and nurture them through guided action to accomplish your purpose in life.
Spiritual Self Realization
Eastern thinkers believed that self realization is all about subtle awareness and perception of ‘Who am I’? Or ‘Who we are’? Being aware of self is the toughest of all knowledge. At times, this exploration is daunting, as we are obscured of our true self.
Self realization means your ability to unfold the true self that remained hidden and dormant through many incarnations. You got to know your soul and its true purpose in a specific human life through this process of realization.
It is the conscious knowledge of our physical form and spiritual energy that lies within. You are unable to know your real self because your mind is full of false beliefs and irrational thoughts that cloud our perceptions of reality.
The various mind poisons or kleshas restricts your realization process. You are unable to focus on the subtle and powerful energy of the soul that lies beyond your physical existence.
The moment you get to decipher this energy, you are realized. You are not the physical body or mind but you are the life force or ‘prana’ that is immortal. Life energy doesn’t disintegrate.
It merges with the universal soul. This is self realization that merges with the divine soul and paves the path towards spiritual ascension. The process of realization gives immense happiness and bliss, leading to enlightenment.
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Importance of Self Realization
In Sanskrit, self realization means ‘Atman Gyan’, meaning knowledge of your spiritual self.
The importance of self realization lies in the fact that it allows you to understand and evaluate your real self. You break free from false beliefs that hold you back from attaining true knowledge.
On receiving the knowledge of ‘who am I’, you take charge of your thoughts, feelings, and actions that guide your behavior.
According to Dada Bhagwan, a spiritual teacher “the knowledge that gets rid of anger, greed, pride, and deceit is real knowledge, it is self realization.”
- Self realization is a continuous process of exploring, analyzing, and searching the true or real self.
- You gain knowledge of the single, unchanging, and ever-present ‘soul’ that is powerful and energetic.
- Self realization determines your purpose in life and is an answer to your ultimate existence in this human form.
- It paves the path towards improvement in various aspects of life; your personal and creative growth is possible, only if you are aware of your abilities and potentials.
- Self realization is a profound way of spiritual awakening from an illusory identity of ‘self’ (Ego) to real and divine identity of meeting the ultimate creator of existence.
10 Qualities of A Self Realized Person
A self-realized individual is devoid of anger, fear, greed, lust, dishonesty, and jealousy. He doesn’t possess negative thoughts and feelings that cloud the mind from attaining the knowledge of ‘self’. Self-realized individuals have the following qualities:
- They are honest and righteous.
- Simplicity and humility are their greatest assets.
- These people accept people, situations, and circumstances as they are, without making evaluations.
- Happiness is the ultimate goal of their existence. They have complete freedom from worldly ties.
- Ability to perceive things objectively.
- They are self-sufficient, autonomous and determined in nature.
- Self realized people are perfect and effortless. They have full control over their thoughts, emotions, and actions.
- They are charismatic and can easily inspire others.
- These people have learned to accept themselves with their virtues and vices.
- Self realized individuals know their priorities in life and the away to achieve goals.
10 Impediments to Self Realization
Great scholars and distinguished teachers had emphasized a few obstacles in the path of self realization. It is a spiritual search of ‘self’ that is pure and loving. Self realization allows you to live a life, you were meant to live.
- Our body impedes our realization process because it is always busy with the gratification of needs and desires.
- Wealth and money are obstacles to self realization, as it destroys the soul’s purpose and devotional service to humanity.
- Your greed and wants to achieve more worldly possessions are also obstacles towards fulfillment.
- Your ‘ego’ or ‘me’ symbolizes pride and moves you away from selflessness and devotion. It is an obstacle to realize your real self.
- The negative thoughts, emotions, false beliefs, and desires are impediments as well. It resists understanding and clouds your awareness of the various things. As a result, you are unable to create your own reality.
- Your ignorance about the internal world of purity and divinity is an impediment. You have never made a conscious effort to know yourself. The mysteries of the soul always remained hidden and unexplored.
- Impatience and laziness to know oneself is an impediment.
- If you are impatient, you always strive to do things in a hurry. You are without focus and end up messing things in life. This leads to a loss of purpose in life.
- Lazy people do not make any efforts and waste time to unfold their potential.
- The biggest impediment to self realization is your immediate external world. You get influenced by the judgments of family, friends, and others. Thus try to be somebody else. Your day to day decisions are based on the liking of others and end up living a life that doesn’t belong to you.
The Science of Self Realization
In his famous book “The science of self realization”, spiritual master, divine grace A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, had conceptualized self realization as a soul awakening process.
In this book you will discover the secrets about surrendering to the lord or Krishna consciousness that is the aim of human life.
It is a compilation of his interviews, lectures, essays, and letters that gives the spiritual solution to today’s social and economic problems.
In the western world, the philosophical debate on higher states and discovering the timeless science of self realization was envisaged by Carl Jung.
He referred to self realization as a process of “individuation”, where your mental world shifts from ego to a state of self-awareness. You attain the highest potential of your psychic life, through realization.
The process of self realization is a science that great teachers have said as a way to undergo self-analysis and discover your abilities. You also unleash those truths about ‘self’ that lies beneath your ego-centric personality.
Your knowledge about the universe and the supreme powers are attained through the realization process.
A true realization occurs through pure thoughts, feelings, and good work that you do. The spiritual path is the synchronization of the body-mind connection.
It unveils your true nature through a step by step process of honest living and purposeful actions.
10 Stages of Self Realization
The law of self realization holds good, only when you practice doing it with conviction. You need to learn this life lesson and use it in your daily living.
As self realization means to know yourself, through yourself, it leads to liberation from all those aspects of you that are non-purposeful and unnecessary.
It follows certain stages that lead to the evolution of the soul. They are:
You begin to inquire and ask questions about ‘self’. Such as “Who you are?” and “What is your purpose in your present birth?” This introspective process leads to proclamation of unconventional thoughts, feelings, and leads to self realization.
These questions are your soul’s yearning to know the truth towards freedom and liberation.
In this stage, you analyze your strengths and weaknesses. When you discover yourself, you even get to know your dark side. You begin to encounter the unpleasant truths about yourself that were hidden from your conscious awareness for a long time.
It might be a painful process, as you need to accept yourself as you are and move towards growth without any biases.
It is the conscious knowledge of one’s character and belief systems. Awareness comes with self-discovery. It is a way to know the subtle energies that lie within you. Your thoughts, intuitions, and instincts are the powerful tools of self-realization.
When you become aware, you know what to do to tap your potential. It leads to the next stage called self-acceptance.
You accept yourself as you are. No fake or temporary reality that surrounds you. With a positive mindset and commitment, you start to accept yourself as a potential being who is capable of fulfilling everything with dedication and hard work.
Self-acceptance helps you to meet your real self. You begin to live a life of your choice that is not influenced by the likes and judgments of others around you.
It is the knowledge that guides you towards a purposeful life. You take control of your life and positively view all problems.
A good enough feeling pervades your ‘psyche’ that boosts confidence. You recognize your ability to live a natural and genuine state of happiness and peace. You have already learned to let go of the past and be present.
Your negative thoughts and emotions do not interfere with inner bliss. There is no judgment, criticism and regrets. You are just filled with satisfaction and serenity.
When you start to show compassion towards yourself, you become strong and complete from within. You develop self-validation, where all thoughts and feelings of yours are accepted as a part of you. Loving means to forgive and accept yourself as you are, not of what you can be. It also nurtures self-esteem and confidence.
This comes when you are comfortable with your inner world. You are filled with happiness, peace, and forgiveness. You realize your worth by considering your strengths and work on weaknesses.
Self-respect is all about valuing yourself the way you are. You develop a growth mindset that brings the successful accomplishment of goals.
In this stage, you let go of old emotional patterns and shed off those habits and belief systems that acted as impediments to self realization. You are authentic and liberating in your outlook towards life.
Here, you transform and make space for new growth to occur. You have already expanded your realm of consciousness in this stage.
Carl Jung said that self-mastery is the alignment of body-mind duality with the ‘Oneness’ of the soul. You have controlled and mastered your false ego. You have become balanced, calm, perceptive and wise.
Self-mastery makes you kind and loving, honest, and truthful. It’s all about moving ahead of your limiting ego that hinders empowerment and growth.
With transformation and mastery, you enter the stage of realization. Here, your ego and false beliefs would no longer obscure thoughts and feelings. There is clarity in understanding ‘Who you are?’ You have moved away from labels such as ‘me’, ‘I’, and ‘mine’.
You have progressed to a state of divine oneness with the supreme powers of the universe. From religious perspectives, it is also known as “Krishna and Christ consciousness”, “enlightenment”, ”nirvana”, ”moksha”.
The spiritual path of self realization shows you that ego is impermanent and it binds you to subtle experiences that are self-limiting and detrimental towards evolution.
The link given below shows the journey toward self realization by fulfilling the soul’s deepest needs.
How To Reach Self Realization?
In self realization, people don in a subtle state of divine experience that always existed, but they realized it only suddenly.
This powerful connection frees you from the material world. There is no pursuit of wealth, fame, and power. It unveils a new world of diverse opportunities for spiritual growth. Few steps may be followed to attain self realization.
1. Find time for you
The first step is to find time for yourself. There are so many pre-scheduled things that need to be done. Thus, you are left with no time to be alone with your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.
To find time is about thinking of your present, past, and future. You need to analyze your abilities and purpose in life.
It is a type of contemplation without anything or anyone interfering and taking your focus away from what is important.
2. Know yourself
This process will help you to come out of your comfort zone and know the deeper aspects of you. Most of us do not know our secret motives and desires.
You are unsure of your deepest insecurities and fear that holds us back now and then.
When you start to know yourself, you get an idea of all these and many more. These are self-introspective queries that give you the courage to break all negative habits and start forming new ones.
3. Find peace within
You can only be peaceful within when you have accepted yourself with all flaws and virtues. As we humans can never be perfect always, you must learn to take responsibility for all your good and bad deeds. Unconditional self-acceptance helps to find peace within.
4. Free your ties
This process is all about defeating those demons inside you that keeps telling you that “you cannot do it”. Such demons are your setbacks, fear, insecurities, negative thoughts, disturbing emotions that were deep-rooted for years now.
You need to free yourself from those and move ahead with a positive attitude. The many boundaries that stop you from being a self realized person need to be pushed back.
You are capable of formulating your destiny and making a life of your choice. Freeing yourself from pessimism, hopelessness makes you good enough to accomplish success.
5. Be focused and do self-work
Self realization allows you to understand and set clear goals. It increases your focus on specific objectives in life. To attain what you want, you need to do self-work which means to try to become the best version of yourself by expecting more from you.
Push yourself to overcome obstacles and move ahead. Put in hard work and dedicate yourself to accomplish your objectives.
6. Get to explore your spiritual self
Here you understand the needs and desires of your soul. You will have to let go of material cravings. Remove all sensory gratification and feed your mind and spirit to develop power and strength. Then only you are liberated.
7. Meditate regularly
Meditation is a potent tool of self-connection. It takes you to a mental state of peace, happiness, and refines awareness. To attain self realization, you should meditate every day. By practicing yoga in modern times, you can discover and get deeper insights about those aspects of self that you never knew existed. Meditation liberates your mind from daily hassles so that you can develop better focus and concentration.
Steps in self realization meditation
- Find a comfortable place and start the practice
- Relax by focusing your mind on good experiences you had.
- Slowly take a note of your breath. Breathe in and out as comfortable as possible.
- Pause for a while and feel the experience of being present in your moments.
- Let go of your wandering thoughts and calm down your mind. Thoughts are like waves. Allow them to calm and go.
- Gently bring your focus back to the rhythms of your breath.
- You may practice this every day for 5 to 10 minutes.
10 Benefits of Attaining Self Realization
In today’s world, you will get endless suggestions on who you should be and what your life ought to become. Thus, it is imperative to get confused at times. The best way to move away from these is to be aware of your abilities. There are several benefits of attaining realization.
- You have higher confidence and good self-esteem, because of your deeper connection with the inner self.
- Good focus and mental sharpness come with self-realization. You can define goals and work on it diligently.
- Self-realized individuals are in better control of their thoughts and emotions. They can observe, face, and overcome emotional trauma.
- It develops self-acceptance and ensures productive relations with others as well.
- You are less guided by others and you do not live life on the wishes of others.
- Self-realization helps you to confront your deepest fears and insecurities.
- You get rid of meaningless things in life and can focus on what matters the most.
- It removes distraction and keeps you grounded to reality.
- You have clear perspectives that guide your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
- Self-realization helps in emotional healing. You can access those feelings that you have not reached before, allowing a cleansing process.
Self Realization Quotes
Great teachers have spoken a few inspiring quotes on self-realization. They are as follows:
1. “Our own self-realization is the greatest service we can render the world.”– Ramana Maharshi
2. “The harder the struggle, the more glorious the triumph, self-realization demands very great struggle.”– Swami Sivananda
3. “Self-realization is the first encounter with reality.”– Nirmala Srivastava
4. “Self-realization is effortless. What you are trying to find is what you already are.”– Ramesh. S. Balsekar
5. “There is no higher or lower goal. There is only one goal, Self-realization.”– Meher Baba
6. “Self realization is the last game on earth worth playing.”– Frederick Lenz
7. “The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.”– Franklin.D.Roosevelt
8. “Self-realization is the knowing in all parts of body, mind, and soul that you are now in possession of the kingdom of God.”– Paramahansa Yogananda
9. “The realization of ignorance is the first act of knowing.”– Jean Toomer
10. “With the realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world.”– Dalai Lama
Self-realization is your innate desire to attain love, truth, and absolute bliss. You are an awakened soul who is impartial and indifferent towards worldly pleasures and pain.
It’s a sacred and life-changing experience of soul retrieval that may take years, decades, or an entire lifetime to get accomplished. You discover the timeless science that defines the ultimate truth of human existence.
A Psychologist with a master's degree in Psychology, a former school psychologist, and a teacher by profession Chandrani loves to live life simply and happily. She is an avid reader and a keen observer. Writing has always been a passion for her, since her school days. It helps to de-stress and keeps her mentally agile. Pursuing a career in writing was a chance occurrence when she started to pen down her thoughts and experiences for a few childcare and parenting websites. Her lovable niche includes mental health, parenting, childcare, and self-improvement. She is here to share her thoughts and experiences and enrich the lives of few if not many.