Definition - What does Self-Realization mean?

Self-realization is a term used in Eastern religions, yoga philosophy, psychological theories and other spiritual schools of thought. It denotes a state in which an individual knows who they truly are and is fulfilled in that understanding.

For some, this may manifest itself in an understanding that they are at one with the omnipresence of God, or that the Divine is within them. Others consider it a fulfillment of all the possibilities of an individual's personality and character. The achievement of Self-realization may be seen as a scientific and/or spiritual process.

Yogapedia explains Self-Realization

It is said that once a person reaches Self-realization, their new vision and understanding of themselves brings them continuous, permanent happiness. It will also bring:

  • Equanimity to all circumstances
  • Inner peace
  • Freedom from all fears and anxieties
  • Deep spiritual fulfillment
  • Stronger, calmer relationships with others

Once a person reaches Self-realization, they are freed from their own desires and worldly attachments. They're also liberated from external pressures, such as cultural and social expectations, or political and economic influences. They are beyond self-delusion and material attachments.

Self-realization involves letting go of many of the things that are associated with individual identity in order to find the true Self, which is eternal and unchanging. It is the difference between identifying with the ego and identifying with the true Self.

Practicing yoga is one means of achieving Self-realization. When used as part of a spiritual practice, yoga can help practitioners honor themselves, shed their egos, and reach a new state of awareness.

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