...and the way to get it.
The whole trick with realization is that you already have what you are searching for, or that you are in fact what you are searching for; you have just
forgotten it. It is akin to becoming aware of a piece of jewelry that you have worn for a long time, you are so used to it that you forget you are even wearing it.
So what do you do if you already have it? You become conscious of it is all, and the only way to do that is Meditation. Although it may not always be called Meditation in different traditions, it is effectively the same thing, namely the withdrawal of consciousness from the outer to the inner and the relaxation of that consciousness to perceive what was already there, the unchanging Self.
In common existence there are three states of consciousness, Waking, Dreaming and Deep Sleep -- there is a fourth state, but that is not common, nor can anything be said about it other than that that is the goal. The art of Meditation involves entering these states without becoming unaware that one is entering them.
Entering the dream state of consciousness without unawareness is called Lucid Dreaming, something the psychologists are starting to discover. It requires no great levels of purity and can generally be reached when one is having trouble going to sleep by relaxing the eyes as if focusing on the horizon and watching whatever comes by. It is fantastic. You have complete control over what happens in your dream, you can even maintain awareness of both your physical body and your dream or astral body. I remember reading a story once where a student had reached this level in his meditation, with all sorts of dancing women etc. and his Master promptly beating him over the head and telling him to go deeper. Essentially what happens is that your senses withdraw from the physical domain and you are left sensing the Mental or Astral domain, your senses have turned inwards and you experience your mind in the same way as you experience the world. Except as a sign post along the way this state of consciousness has no particular intrinsic benefit; for instance in one of the Buddhist schools the method for mediation is to visualize the Buddha in exquisite detail, starting with his thumb and adding detail after detail until the image is experienced as solidly as possible, this is the awareness during Dreaming state -- after that it is necessary to dismantle the image bit by bit leading to awareness during Deep Sleep, the next step.
Entering the domain or state of consciousness of Deep Sleep without loosing awareness is not so trivial. It requires really significant levels of good old fashioned purity. Here purity is more purity of the mind and heart, dispassion. As the mentation must cease for you to enter deep sleep, so your mind must no longer run after the things of the world if you are going to reach the state of Real Meditation -- which is where the advantage of the active schools of control is felt; however their downfall is that the eventual removal of that control is essential. Your conditioning to go to sleep as the mind quietens down when you sit still for long periods of time must be overcome as well. All this is a task that makes becoming an olympic gymnast look trivial, indeed, it has been said that Meditation is in fact the most difficult thing in the world to do. The good news is that assuming you one day succeed in this before you die all it takes (with one proviso) is about two and half uninterrupted minutes in this state before you reach what it is that you have been searching for since forever. That proviso is that you have found a guide, someone who has touched this state themselves and that can show you the way. There are quite good reasons for this one or two of which I may write upon later. Should you not reach this state before dying then at the point of death everybody gets an opportunity to enter this state involuntarily, whether they like it or not, they have no choice as their senses are forcefully ripped away from their usual activities -- here the meditator has a very strong advantage as that person is prepared for what comes and is (hopefully) no stranger to being confronted by their own mind.
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