The archetypal image that many people have of a Self Realised being is likely to include some or all of the following:
A Buddha sat in the lotus position deep in meditation somewhere out in nature.
A Master in cave somewhere in the Himalayas.
A Master surrounded by there disciples and devotees at an Ashram somewhere in India.
They somehow live this life totally unmoved by the world and worldly affairs, have no income and yet somehow by divine intervention all is provided for them.
A Monk in a Monastery in a remote mountainous location.
Such beings not functioning in the normal world.
Finally, another myth is that they have ascended to some higher dimension and look down upon this plane with light emitting from their body.May be you could add some of your own images.
Whilst some of these archetypal roles are very much in existence Self Realisation or Enlightenment is not the preserve of the East. It has long since reached the Western World and the model that applies there doesn’t translate so well into the West.
Time to dispel the myths. There are an increasing number of Self Realised beings spread around the Globe and this is great news for the world is undergoing a great shift in consciousness that some refer to as the Golden Age.
The likelihood is these days that you would not, at first glance, not recognise such a being from the next person on the street unless that is you were paying attention to what was happening in their presence.
There’s a much quoted Zen saying: “Before Enlightenment chop wood, carry water. After Enlightenment chop wood, carry water.”
Pointing to the practicalities of Life being the same both before and after Self Realisation. The other key part of this is that in the first case there will have been suffering in life, in the second that has come to a halt and now although looking broadly similar will be much more of a harmonious flow.
One will constantly be aware of ones true, permanent and unchanging essence of Infinite Silence whilst yet still being able to function as a living, breathing human being with all that comes with that. There will still be the practicalities of life to manage and that is perfectly natural.
This change in model is very important to understand and embrace. The world is benefitting greatly from this shift that is taking place and the more such beings engage with life in ways that are unique to them all will benefit.
So, its not essential to sell all your possessions, have only a loin cloth for clothing or live only in cave or ashram, have no family etc etc. What is crucial is to have dissolved the belief that you are not already this permanent essence of the Universe and all the attachments to people places and things will have also dissolved.
Fundamentally, once the Realisation is truly anchored life is not going to be triggering you, making you upset at some turn of events and there will be a compassion and reverence for all of life. This compassion will be a source of inspiration for how your unique gifts will manifest in the world. Your joy will be untouched by events.
It’s important to note here that for true anchoring of the Realisation the emotional triggers or emotional body energy will have to be dissolved very much beyond the point where it causes any interference in life. There may, for some dependent on their life experiences, and what stage in their life the Realisation has flowered a considerable period of integration and growing into living from this space that includes being able to function in a useful way in society. The world may still have some folk sat in caves but since Realisation is here for all there needs to be a practical side to the living of the Realisation. These will often be quite mundane life skills in things like relationships, work, family and yes finances. There have been cases where this hasn’t happened with sometimes disastrous consequences particularly when it is coupled with an incomplete dissolution of the emotional body.
As all this is integrated the unique expression of the Infinite Silence that is your gift to the world will naturally emerge and flow from your being and this can take many forms from quite an apparently ‘normal life’ to sharing the Realisation with others. None of these are more or less important than the others.
How life unfolds will then be unique to the particular way in which the Universe is expressing itself in your form.