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Self-Realized versus Self-Actualized
Jimy: Question: Is “self-realization” equalivalent to “self-actualization”?
Arlindo: No, Jimy, self-realization refers to knowing that you are awareness. It is the firm understanding “I am the light of pure consciousness and I am free – not conditioned by mithya.” This direct understanding produces a great sense of freedom from most desires and fears, but some of those hardwired pieces of ignorance may still survive self-knowledge. The self-realized at this stage may feel at times confused because they know that they are the ever-free awareness but he/she still suffers a sort of knowledge lapse and finds himself or herself thinking and acting from self-ignorance. It’s nothing to be worried about, because with the constant exposure to the scriptures and application of its knowledge those binding vasanas will dry up, i.e. self-ignorance will be neutralized by self-knowledge to produce the end result, which is self-actualization.
You see, what happens when you see ignorance surfacing in your mind and you apply the satya-mithya discrimination “I am not my vasana, my ignorance – I am beyond, ‘other than,’ mithya.” Those pieces of ignorance will begin losing energy because you are denying them food (your attention to or belief that you are your thoughts and feelings). It is a special diet – you give no food to ignorance. ☺
And things in mithya are not either/or, or like black and white. Being a constant flux of appearances of phenomenal objects, you cannot really find a borderline between them. Literally speaking, there is no such a thing as mind and then destruction of mind – or a clear-cut distinction between self-realization and moksa. It’s more like the colors of a rainbow: you do not see a specific color disappearing to became another. It is a gradual change.
Self-realization, or self-recognition, is a sudden phenomenon, but moksa, or self-actualization, is gradual. When Ramana talks of the “destruction” of the mind, he is using figurative language; it makes it more interesting or dramatic than literal language which simply states facts. Mind does not get killed at all! It only gets conformed to knowledge rather than to ignorance, and since ignorance is hardwired, it takes a little time for enlightenment fructify as moksa. If it does not fructify, chances are it may develop enlightenment sickness.
~ Arlindo Nagar