What is Self Stabilization?
Seeker: I had an experience where I became one with the universe. Is this self- realization or enlightenment?
Sirhree: Before answering the question, it is important to know your understanding of self-realization. It can be said that self-realization is just the beginning. Self-stabilization is the goal. One day a seeker experiences a deeply profound meditative state. He is in a no-mind state for quite some time. It is an experience of self-realization. Somebody experiences oneness with the universe when he is on a nature trail. He experiences that he is no longer a separate entity. It is an experience of self-realization. True Self-realization is experienced only when the interfering and comparing mind disappears.
Seeker: So, what happened with me?
Sirshree: The mind emerged again and took credit for the experience. ‘I performed meditation, I attained this deeply profound state and I experienced realization.’ The mind does not have the understanding that it is not the mind that has experienced that state. On the contrary, it was when the mind was not there that the self experienced itself. Self-stabilization is when the mind does not emerge later. Self-stabilization means remaining stabilized in the experience of Self or Being, or constantly abiding in the truth. It is not just a one-time experience. That is why it is said that self-realization without understanding is futile. And proclaiming that you are enlightened based on a one -time experience without being stabilized in the state is dangerous. The importance of a guru is that he ensures that you progress from self-realization to self stabilization, which is the ultimate goal.
Self-stabilization is the basic purpose of our life. Otherwise, even after having many experiences of the truth, if the body continues with its old tendencies and programming (a fixed framework) then you will not fully benefit from the experience. The mind will return with false beliefs and ask various questions and express doubts about the experience of the Self. As a result, the Self may not be able to experience itself again. The practice is hence not to entertain thoughts of the contrast mind. Otherwise you will get entangled in its web. Thus the ultimate goal is that of self-stabilization and the prerequisite is the surrendering of the contrast mind.
Also, understand that along with self-stabilization occurs self-expression. It is expression of the self through the body–mind mechanism to fulfill its true potential. On attaining self-stabilization at the age of thirty-five, the Buddha continued to spread the message till the ripe age of eighty. This is self-expression where his body was used by the self to express itself after attaining self-stabilization. Thus self-stabilization and self-expression are the ultimate goals.
If you are confused with the word self-stabilization, then you can call experiences on the path as self-realizing experiences and the goal as self-realization. Hence, the understanding of self-realization is most important. If self-realization is seen as self-stabilization, then it is the goal. If you see it as a one-time experience, then it is just the beginning.
Seeker : I understand now that Enlightenment is actually Self Stabilization and should not be confused with one off experiences. But what exactly is Enlightenment or Self Stabilization?
Sirshree: Self Stabilization is the attainment of liberation from ego, mechanical living, all forms of bondage, preconceived notions and all vices of the mind (fear, anger, hatred, greed, attachment, envy, etc.) What remains after attainment of Self Stabilization is unbroken bliss—bliss which is indescribable, which constantly asserts its eternal presence and pervades every aspect of life. Self Stabilization is the key to a successful and fulfilled life, the royal path to transcendence. The state of enlightenment resides within all of us.
Man tends to live in ignorance. He falls prey to his own idiosyncrasies, tendencies and thought patterns and thus leads a limited imbalanced life. He continues to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. Except human beings, every thing in Nature develops to its fullest potential. For instance, a flower blooms completely and fills the surrounding atmosphere with its fragrance. Similarly, every human being has infinite inherent potential that can be expressed to the fullest. However, owing to ignorance, he remains entwined in some false notions and creates roadblocks to his own progress. As a result, he keeps away from the natural possibility of complete self development.
When the Truth is understood not only intellectually but also at the experiential level, when all questions and doubts dissolve, that is the state of Self Stabilization! It entails the journey from the limited confines of the mind (the head) to the unlimited realms of the Self (the heart).
Once, a disciple of Saint Ramakrishna Paramhansa asked him, ‘You always speak to Goddess Kali. Can you request Her to visit my home so that I can be graced by Her divine sight?’ Ramakrishna replied, ‘Give me your address and I shall certainly send Her to you.’ The disciple gave his residential address and left happily. He thought, ‘Goddess Kali will come to my home, now I need not attend any spiritual discourses.’ Many days passed but Goddess Kali did not appear. The disciple was sure that Ramakrishna, being a great saint, could not have lied. Therefore he again approached Ramakrishna. Ramakrishna said, ‘You have provided the address of your house instead of your address. What is your address?’ The disciple then handed over his office address thinking that he was present in his office for most of the day. He could not grasp the significance of Ramakrishna’s question. There is no end to what ignorance can make you do! Having given his office address, the disciple would wait at his office premises for Goddess Kali to appear!
People waste their entire lifetime waiting for God at the wrong places. They keep searching everywhere except the fountainhead of Truth. You ought to reach the state where the individual ‘I’ ends. This is the very state from where everything begins, the original state of Being—Self. The realization of what you essentially are and your true Self’s address is Self Realization. If one believes this address to be that of the physical body, then he is lost in delusion. Being established there is Self Stabilization. On attaining Self Stabilization, there will be a transformation in the way you deal with the world. This transformation could be visible at the bodily level (the instrument for Self Expression) too.