What is Self Realization? How can we achieve this state of Being for ourself?
Self Realization is a term that is becoming increasingly more widely used. In many ways it is an obscure term, and its meaning is not immediately apparent. For many it is a term that means the same as ‘Enlightenment’ – a word which is similarly something difficult to determine. However the term ‘Self Realization’ is more useful as it actually refers to a very specific stage in the journey of awakening that Ramana Maharshi and others described.
Self Realization is a level of consciousness that anyone can reach. It is a very important level in the spiritual journey for when one becomes Self Realized the heart is now permanently open in the way that it was always meant to be.
Journey of Awakening
The spiritual journey is essentially the gradual process of the expansion of and lightening up of, the entire Being. The journey of awakening usually commences with an energetic force that begins its path of ascent by following up along the path of the spine. This energetic channel is called the Sushumna in Hindu thought. This is simply a channel or pathway of light that sits slightly in front of the spine. Spiritual awakening is the process of this channel being activated, and subtle energy flowing through it.
During the awakening process various states of Samadhi ensue. This is a term which simply means expanded states of consciousness. They can be very powerful and deeply engrossing. During a Samadhi state one can loose track of time, space, and everything else!
As the subtle energetic force within grows stronger, it travels along from the base of the spine and up to the crown. This is a ‘Crown Chakra’ opening. As it moves up, it lights everything up. This is the subtle energetic body coming back ‘on-line’. The energetic force continues beyond the crown to its peak, which is about a foot above the top of the head. After this ‘Star Chakra’ opens, the energetic pathway then finally loops back down and comes to rest in its natural abode of the Heart.
Self Realization is When the Heart Permanently Opens
When everything comes to its natural resting place in the heart, there is now an energetic opening in the heart area. This is what Self Realization is.
The Heart is the only thing that really matters in the spiritual process.
The opening in the heart allows for pure light, and pure presence to flood through. Those who are Self Realized embody this light and presence to a greater degree.
Quite simply, those who are Self Realized no longer have anything that energetically blocks this Divine Light and Presence.
What Occurs During Self Realization
Ramana Maharshi, Papaji and other sages have written about Self Realization and what occurs during this important stage. My experience of Self Realization corresponds exactly to what they have written.
The first stage of Self Realization is when one hears a voice crying repeatedly in what sounds like pure terror: “I’m dying, I’m dying!” Naturally, there is a sudden fear that one really might be about to die. Slowly, this voice gets swept into a black energetic vortex that opens up in the centre of the chest. The vortex seems so deep that it feels as though it stretches behind for miles and miles. Once the voice has finally disappeared into this vortex there is a pause where You assess that actually You are still here!
After a moment, a soft light begins to appear on the right side of the chest. Within this soft light is a white, lily-like flower with the bud still closed. The bud slowly lifts its head, and then blooms.
Death of the Ego, or the ‘I thought’
During Self Realization the voice that initally kept crying out “I’m dying, I’m dying”, has been called ‘The Ego’. This so-called false self, dissolves back into nothingness. Ramana Maharshi named this voice the ‘I thought’.
However to add to this description, energetically this voice is actually a part of the Being that holds onto things purely for the sake of holding on. It grips on so tightly and with such downward pressure that it keeps the naturally expansive and light-filled self from truly relaxing and lightening up. Once this energetic force dissolves, the Being is finally able to sit more comfortably within itself. From then on one’s essential nature can spread out, expand, and be at ease.