Self Realization - Journey from without to within
Like waves in ocean, thoughts, perceptions, sensations keep on rising & falling, in ever-present awareness. Awareness is always aware of its own subjective self i.e. “Aware-Presence”, and also its various above mentioned modulations with objective qualities.
A feeling is nothing more than bodily sensation(s) with a thought based story corresponding to it. Feeling = Sensation + Thought.
Due to social conditioning and habit, since early childhood, reoccurring thought patterns create the notion of illusionary inside individual self, and a separate outside world of objects, hence Space, by attaching concepts like “I, Me, My, He, We, They, Their, Here, There”, to thoughts & speech. Reoccurring thought patterns also create the notion of Time, by attaching concepts like “Then, Now, Today, Yesterday, Tomorrow”, to thoughts & speech.
Based on previous experiences, thought producing algorithms constantly keep on auto learning, to produce varied kinds of subsequent thoughts and physical reactions, at the expense of the borrowed light/existence from awareness, in the process keeping intact the notion that there is an individual sentient being located in an outside world of time and space, as an individual body-mind.
This illusionary individual self, is nothing but an erroneous belief, that there is an unchanging and continuously existing conscious individual self, made up of an ever-changing body, and ever-changing thoughts in head, and ever-changing feelings in heart/body. In reality these objects (i.e. thoughts, perceptions, and sensations) are nothing but modulations of the one and only being i.e. Awareness.
This never ending flow of thoughts keep on sustaining the conceptual existence of this illusionary inside individual self, while the only real sentient being i.e. awareness continues to be veiled, from the perspective of this illusionary individual self.
During its so called “life”, there comes a moment when due to some experience, new kind of thoughts begin to rise like “who am I?”, and the individual self starts on a journey from which it may never return intact.
Continuous efforts at meditation, contemplation, research, finally points that the truth can only be experienced within, in total stillness of mind and body, and letting go of identifying self with thoughts and body.
By and by, the individual self tries to look at the empty space between thoughts, unaware all along that in reality the seeker itself is not the individual self, but awareness seeking its own self, because the real identity of the individual self has always been awareness, but since childhood it was so badly mixed up with its modulatory objects that, it assumed itself to be a mixed bag of objects with awareness as a background/side product. Everyone around confirming the belief to be true, helped made it grow even stronger.
Constant effort at mindfulness, meditation leads the individual self to one day, in the absence of all thoughts/objects, clearly experience its own self as awareness, hence “Self Realization” or aha moment.
Now it becomes a constant struggle to continuously keep identifying self with this newfound identity of empty looking aware presence, while the old habits of identifying with thoughts keep on coming back. With continuous practice it becomes easier, and eventually there comes a moment when all the illusionary identities fall away permanently, leaving intact only the identification with the ever peaceful and blissful awareness, hence “Enlightenment” or “Nirvana”.