Self-realization 'teacher' and apparition
There is no Enlightenment –
Who is to be Enlightened?
Chat with josh
Self-Realization is the most peculiar subject.
The English language term, Self-Realization, is sometimes used and apt to refer to a progressive 'hollowing out' of the underlying emotional foundations of a false-identity. This false-identity is everything previously understood to be true, not least of which and in particular any notions of self. Belief, or emotional investment, is what perpetuates this pseudo-knowledge and continually misdirects from the underlying truth: that the one who is searching is the false-identity.
That which ultimately stands revealed is the true nature of the Self. The you that you think you are is as a dream character, living in a dream World. The you that you actually are is beyond all attempts to conceptualise, characterise or describe. Moreover, there is nothing else beside you — all is Self.
Suffering: Though most suffering seems unlikely in practice to lead to Self-Realization, profound suffering is arguably a pre-requisite to provide sufficient emotional energy to perforate and ultimately immolate the emotional foundation of the false-identity.
In practice, from the realized perspective, it seems that very few have sufficient emotional dissatisfaction to inquire with sufficient depth and clarity, nevermind to follow through the incendiary process to any significant degree. In essence, you have to recgonise that all is a masquerade (and thus, fall in love with truth.)
Most people are not really looking for self-realization, but for a kind of sanity, peace and satisfaction within the waking dream. Certainly there is virtually limitless scope for this kind of spiritual contentment within the myriad possible patterns of human life.
Spirituality is this movement of seeking greater sanity, peace and satisfaction. Self-realization is seeing through the game all together.
From the realized perspective, there is no significance to either.
Society is riddled with traditions and thought systems whose stated purpose is some kind of higher knowledge or wisdom. The domains of philosophy, religion, spirituality and science seem particularly relevant to this stated aim, at least superficially.
Ultimately Self-Realization renders all systems of thought obsolete and of only fleeting peripheral relevance. The entire recorded works of human history are ultimately revealed as nothing.
There are as many paths as there are beings. Most importantly, the most cogent teachings of Self-Realization are not offerings of knowledge of the Self, but only of the tools perhaps most useful to your own self-destruction - the destruction of identification with (belief in / emotional investment in) all that you think you are.
If you believe you are serious about Self-Realization, you probably ought to be exploring these kinds of questions on a regular basis:
Practice witnessing your thoughts, feelings and actions as if you were someone unrelated - without judgement or bias. This will be a key tool in your rigourous Self-examination. Connect with your inner artist, or scientist.
If you encounter 'canned' answers to these questions, be very suspicious. Answers you did not arrive at yourself will not be particularly significant in your 'quest'.
Write your thought process as you inquire. Writing enables you to think more clearly.
Be methodical and rigourous. Start with What is This? or What am I? The process might well take many years. Do not stop until you cannot possibly go any further.
Rely only upon yourself - the direct and immediate conscious experience - for your answers.
Assume nothing. Keep a watchful eye for hidden assumptions and beliefs. What has your society taught you that you now take for granted? Everything is on the chopping block. Assume everything you think you know about yourself is wrong. (If you're here looking for answers, it is.)
Self-realization is actually the most obvious 'thing' in the World; What is the very substrate of all experience; What is it that is so easy to miss by virtue of the fact it is utterly inescapable? Consciousness.
When the person looks into the World, consciousness sees what is seen, consciousness is the seer, and moreover, consciousness is what is seen. Even if you assume the common inter-subjective agreement - that you are a body-mind within a World - there is no denying that what you see, what you feel, what you taste and hear and sense, and even what you think, are nothing but impressions upon the substrate of consciousness - 'Your' consciousness, whatever that means. Initially it sounds ludicrous to the mind, and you feel incredulous towards the idea. I know, because I did. Though I had nobody to point out the obvious. Whatever your underlying beliefs about reality, there is no escaping the fact of consciousness itself. Even if there were a World 'out there' and it were possible for us to be sure there was (it isn't), it is intrinsic to the nature of consciousness itself that 'out there' is forever off limits to your direct knowledge. A contemporary neuroscientist might say you 'hallucinate' your reality. Look at it, right now. Think about it. It isn't a question of being convinced of anything. I have no axe to grind, no agenda. I could not care less if you notice what is right under your nose - metaphorically speaking of course, because you don't really have a nose do you? The body does, but not you.
Moreover, both the domains of intellectual and intuitive or higher knowledge are themselves tiny, finite and insignificant with respect to consciousness.
In pop-culture - movies about robots and artificial intelligence, and mind-benders such as 'Inception' and 'The Matrix' in particular - the elephant in the room is always Consciousness with a capital 'C'. When the robot becomes conscious, when the 'Terminator' awakens, what is it that sees the camera feed from the robot's eyes? Likewise in discussions about neuroscience and sentience, or even theoretical physics, the elephant in the room is always Consciousness. It is the beginning and end of anything like real knowledge. Try and escape the bind, if you will. You will see not only that you cannot, but that it is unnecessary.
Even for those who make the mind-boggling blunder of seeking to dismiss consciousness altogether, the removal of the only fact that could be considered a certain context does nothing to negate the absolute absence of any substance whatsoever to anything else - emotional, rational or otherwise. Anyway, to whom does the illusion of consciousness supposedly appear?
The only real challenge of Self-Realization is to 'get real'. But of course, 'you' cannot, not really. In so much as you have known yourself, you are a mere construct, an idea. So then, you must observe everything. Through observation, comes recognition. Through recognition, understanding. From understanding, arises response (action). Creation and destruction of the play of appearance is continuous. You are already doing it. It is unavoidable. As you see it so, what you previously thought to be you will naturally subside.
Can you live simply as you are, and cease the futility of mentally spinning deeper and deeper knots of delusion in pursuit of... nothing but a mirage?
Thus shall ye think of all this fleeting world:
a star at dawn, a bauble in a stream;
a flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
a flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.