Stages of Self Knowledge

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Labyrinth, True Nature, Carbondale, CO. Photo by Sheri Gaynor.

First there is ignorance (avidya), when we don’t know that we don’t know. This is the, ignorance is bliss, period. This bliss, however, comes with its fair share of challenges. Most of the population remains in stage 1.

In this stage, we believe the waking dream called me and my life, is real and that lasting happiness can be found in objects and experience.

If we get enough wacks from Isvara, the creator, we may be sufficiently motivated to enter the 2nd stage of knowledge – self realization, where we know that we don’t know.

We become a seeker and experience both indirect knowledge (I know the self) and direct knowledge (I am the self), what Ramji calls the firefly stage. The web of maya, beautiful intelligent ignorance, is still sticky and we get stuck from time to time. A sense of inadequacy and limitation are still present.

This is when, if we are lucky (prepared), we find a valid means of knowledge, like Vedanta, and a great teacher. This is where our burning desire for the truth grows (mumukshutvah) and we apply the teachings to our lives, moment to moment (self inquiry).

Finally, there is self actualization, when we know that we know. This is direct knowledge – I am the self – limitless, conscious, existence. We fully understand the relationship between the jiva (human being), the jagat (creation), and the self. Fears and desires have been neutralized and we are a free soul – jivanmukta.

The cosmic joke – we already are this free soul, we just don’t yet know it. Thus the path of yoga (action) that prepares the way for knowledge of self offered by Vedanta.

Self Knowledge + Practice (Yoga) + Isvara’s Grace = Moksha (Liberation)

What a blessing to find this path! 🙏❤️🙂 Grateful to walk it with you.

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