Realization is not an action somebody accomplishes. The idea of realizing the self implies a path from an unrealized self to a realized self. Realization of the self as a goal cannot be permanent. Something permanent has no beginning and no end. Hence the goal is already there, the self is always realized. The intention to realize the Self is itself a hindrance. Our nature is always free but we are making huge efforts to become free. Who is making these efforts and trying to realize the self? It is the I-thought that has wrongly identified itself with the mind that veils our happiness and makes realization of the self a goal. This implies two selves. A non realized self and a goal, a realized self. And here starts the whole process of searching. Going to a guru, performing rituals, reciting mantras, doing prostrations, meditating, reading books and taking all kinds of hardships upon us to walk firmly on the path towards realization hoping to reach our goal in this life. The irony in all this striving for realization is that we have never been separated from our true self. We falsely believe it to be found somewhere, to experience it, to realize it, because we search with our mind and the mind can only exist in duality. So, our task is to find the real nature of the mind. We will discover that there is no such thing as a mind. It is in understanding that we are not the body, neither the mind that we will unveil our true self and the I-thought will be transcended eventually. We already know this freedom. If we wouldn’t know it, why would we spend our lives searching for it? But we must take care not to use wrong tools. It lies in the palm of our hands. It is beauty and love in its purest essence. We are that, lets embrace it in silence and cut those chains that hold us prisoners.
Q: Is self-realization so important?
M: Without it, you will be consumed by desires and fears, repeating themselves meaninglessly in endless suffering. Most of the people do not know that there can be an end to pain. But once they have heard the good news, obviously going beyond all strife and struggle is the most urgent task that can be. You know that you can be free and now it is up to you. Either you remain forever hungry and thirsty, longing, searching, grabbing, holding, ever losing and and sorrowing, or go out wholeheartedly in search of the state of timeless perfection to which nothing can be added, from which nothing taken away. In it all desires and fears are absent, not because they were given up, but because they have lost their meaning.
— Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj – I Am That – Chapter 69 – p. 315-316
You and I know many people who have been searching for many, many years, twenty years, thirty years, forty years, for the answers to life, for reality, yet they’re still in the same place they started twenty years ago. They have gone through all kinds of things. They’ve been to many places. They met certain teacher, but they’re still the same.
For they’ve never really investigated themselves. They say they do. They say they’ve been working on themselves for years, nothing has happened. But have they really been working on themselves? What they’ve been doing is sort of just thinking about it a little bit, reading books. But they’ve never dived deep enough in the Self to find the answers. And this is exactly what you have to do.
You have to dive deep, deep, deep within yourself, deeper than you can ever imagine. And the only way you can do this is by giving up the external world, mentally, not physically. In other words, by not reacting to things. To observe things, watch the world go by, leave it alone. It’s neither good nor bad. It has nothing to offer you.
— Robert Adams – Who Are You?
Once you realize that the world is your own projection, you are free of it. You need not free yourself of a world that does not exist, except in your own imagination! However is the picture, beautiful or ugly, you are painting it and you are not bound by it. Realize that there is nobody to force it on you, that it is due to the habit of taking the imaginary to be real. See the imaginary as imaginary and be free of fear.
— Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj – I Am That
There are no steps to self-realization. There is nothing gradual about it. It happens suddenly and is irreversible. You rotate into a new dimension, seen from which the previous ones are mere abstractions. Just like on sunrise you see things as they are, so on self-realization you see everything as it is. The world of illusions is left behind.
— Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj – I am That
That which you are, your true self, you love it, and whatever you do, you do for your own happiness. To find it, to know it, to cherish it is you basic urge. Be true to your own self, love your self absolutely. Do not pretend that you love others as yourself. Unless you have realized them as one with yourself, you cannot love them. Don’t pretend to be what you are not, don’t refuse to be what you are. Your love of others is the result of self-knowledge, not its cause. Without self-realization, no virtue is genuine. When you know beyond all doubting that the same life flows through all that is and you are that life, you will love all naturally and spontaneously.
When you realize the depth and fullness of your love of yourself, you know that every living being and the entire universe are included in your affection. But when you look at anything as separate from you, you cannot love it for you are afraid of it. Alienation causes fear, and fear deepens alienation. It is a vicious circle. Only self-realization can break it.
— Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj – I am That