“The truth which can be actualized after self-realization is that you are not this body, this mind, this conditioning from the past, this ego, these emotions, but that you are pure spirit.” – Nirmala Srivastava
“Those who realize their self, get immersed in the Lord Himself.” – Guru Nanak
“Your own self-realization is the greatest service you can render the world.” – Ramana Maharshi
“The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.” – Proverbs 20:5 NIV
“If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” – Galatians 5:25
I love to study different religious doctrines and viewpoints – looking for crossover and similarity that helps strengthen my own Christian faith.
Self-realization is a term used more in the Indian and Eastern religions – each with varying conclusions about the concept itself. Sikhism tends to look at self-realization in terms that are closer aligned with a Christian viewpoint – a deep analysis, examination, and assessment of our true self that leads a person to a life of liberation. Sikhism believes this process leads to self-purification. Christians believe that self-realization leads us to Christ – who has done the purifying, cleansing work for us at the Cross. Our life of liberation and freedom comes from truly understanding this grace that justifies and sanctifies us every day 😊
Both Sikh and Christian believe that self-realization leads to God-realization – something I believe lies at the very heart of our existence here. We have been created to see our true selves – resulting in the realization of our need to connect and deepen our relationship with God the Creator, Jesus the Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit – the Counselor that lives within us – giving us insight and guidance throughout life’s journey.
So as a Christian, how does the process of self-realization lead to God-realization? How does learning more about oneself lead to liberation, peace, and purpose?
Realizing We Are Two Distinct Beings
“The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.” – Galatians 5:17 NLT
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do. But what I hate, I do.” – Romans 7:15 NLT
“Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh; but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.” – Romans 8:5 NLT
Self-realization begins when we see ourselves not as one being but two – as both a human being and a spiritual being. The human life is temporal, and the spiritual life is eternal. The Bible refers to the human side of us as the “flesh” – imperfect and prone to evil, while our spiritual being lives eternally – made in the image of God as one of His children.
So why is this truth such an essential attribute to self-realization? How does seeing ourselves in this light change us?
Here are just a few examples:
- We can begin to see how human reasoning is often flawed – driven by emotions and desires. As a result, we become better decision-makers by questioning our motives against spiritual principles – seeking God’s wisdom in all we set out to do. Better decisions make for a better, more purposeful life.
- We live in the peace that human life may end, but spiritual, eternal life lies ahead of us. Knowing our journey here continues beyond this world, we can embrace all the trials and tribulations we face as only temporary.
- We look at our failures in the light of our humanity – connecting with God’s grace, His love, and His forgiveness that is always available to us. Knowing we are freely forgiven, we readily forgive others – leading to a life that is absent of guilt, shame, vengance, and hate.
- We connect more with those things we can control and those things only God can control. We understand that our choices are powerful but limited – trusting that our time is in God’s hands and that our steps are ordered by Him.
- We can begin to see how suffering and hardship push us closer to God and shape our spiritual character – believing there are greater purposes found within them. In the same way, we see how the ease and comforts of human life can often lead us away from God – relying more on ourselves than on Him.
- When we see ourselves as two separate beings, we see others in the same way. We begin to judge others more graciously and see God’s light in everyone we meet. All our relationships change – becoming more meaningful and less superficial. We see deeper purposes in our connections with others – knowing there is greater meaning behind our paths crossing in this world.
In just these few examples, can you see why this principle is at the center of self-realization? Can you see how it changes your viewpoint, changes your relationships, impacts your choices, and helps you lead a life of peace and purpose?
Connecting to Deeper Meaning and Purpose
“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.” – Soren Kierkegaard
“You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level.” – Eckhart Tolle
“The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever!” – Psalm 138:8 NIV
When we see ourselves as two separate beings, we look at our temporal life differently. We understand it has a deeper meaning – a grander purpose that extends beyond this world. The journey to self-realization moves us closer to our “predestined” purpose – the reason behind our creation and why we are here.
Those who see themselves as one being, leading a mortal, human existence that is only decades in length, are prone to live more self-centered and self-absorbed. They see this “one life” as all they have. Their purposes and plans are driven by what makes them happy and fulfilled NOW. Accumulating possessions and using others to advance their personal satisfaction lies at the center of their life’s agenda. “Making the most of their time here” is all about being happy and doing what suits their pleasures and desires first and foremost.
Self-realization leads us to God-realization – knowing the Creator has given us a life of deeper purpose. This “predestined” purpose is filled with personal learning. Learning and understanding are rarely acquired in ease and comfort, but often gained and secured in adversity, difficulty, and misfortune.
This predestined, purposeful journey is not only filled with personal learning, but it leads us down a pathway of service – loving and assisting others along their journey to self-realization.
The one dimensional, mortal being is more concerned with self-interests and personal happiness. Any kind of gesture toward self-sacrifice in the service of others is counter to their life goals of self-sufficiency and self-importance.
The Bible is filled with passages surrounding the concept of serving others. 70% of the Commandments are targeted at loving others more than we love ourselves. Wouldn’t it make sense that our journey to self-realization is far from a selfish, self-centered path?
Where are you my friend in your self-realized journey? Are you focusing on the two very separate aspects of your being? By doing so, are you coming to understand the distinct differences of the two and how they lead you to a pathway of peace, liberation, and purpose both NOW and forever?
Can you see how true self-realization naturally leads you to God-realization? Does it bring you to a place of deeper purpose and meaning behind this life? Can you see how it embraces a loving and lasting service of others?
May God help you see who you TRULY ARE – both now and eternally! In the process of your self-realization, I pray He reveals His deeper purposes for you – your predestined pathway filled with learning and service to those you encounter along the way.
May your self-realization lead you to a stronger God-realization – knowing with confidence He is at the center of all that exists now and forever 😊