What we should -and should not- expect from self-discovery

It's easy to misunderstand the nature of awareness and self-discovery. Many individuals deal with misconceptions and false expectations that arise from incomplete understanding. Some may even believe that gaining insight into our true nature will eliminate all life's challenges.

However, understanding our true nature does not guarantee a life without difficulties. No conscious teaching aims to create false expectations by suggesting that self-discovery will ensure life unfolds according to our desires.

The most significant benefit of self-discovery is that one no longer becomes lost in transient phenomena such as sensations, perceptions, feelings, or thoughts. Recognizing oneself as timeless and ever-present awareness prevents the tendency to invest objects with a sense of personal self and seek happiness in people, objects, or experiences. Any object imbued with a sense of personal self automatically creates an addictive relationship, binding one to transient experiences.

For example, suppose we invest our body's image with a sense of personal self. In that case, frustrations will arise when the body changes since it is subject to impermanence. Seeking security in something lacking stability leads to sadness, anger, and fear.

Similarly, identifying ourselves with specific thoughts (beliefs) renders us vulnerable to their influence. Positive thoughts generate a sense of well-being, while negative thoughts give rise to unpleasant emotions.

However, self-discovery extends beyond theory or philosophy. The state of non-identification with impermanent phenomena gradually purifies the body-mind system from the remnants of unconsciousness. Many symptoms, such as fear, phobias, low self-esteem, reactions, roles, identities, emotions, and physical manifestations, weaken and may even disappear.

Nevertheless, it is essential not to expect all symptoms to vanish completely, granting us a life free from challenges. Some symptoms will likely persist, albeit without the weight of absolute truth. Recognizing that truth resides solely in awareness devoid of any identification with transient phenomena allows life to be encountered with greater ease and lightness most of the time. With self-discovery, life continues to unfold as it would. But suffering and psychological pain dissolve.

Nikos Batras