Self-Realisation or the Selfie by Wendy Rosenfeldt

Self-Realisation, enlightenment, what does this mean in the modern world? Has the quest for self-actualisation been superseded by the quest for having the most friends on Facebook?

Have those quiet, meditative moments where we bask in the glow of a special event been replaced by the desire to instantly text our friends. Is our self-esteem determined by how we feel within or by how many followers we have on Instagram.

While there is nothing wrong with social media and electronic devices, it is the insidious spreading of it into all areas of life that causes concern. Smart phones are replacing our memories, our creativity and our ability to entertain ourselves.   

Instead of allowing the mind to remember the lyrics to an old song, the tendency is to grab the phone and google it. Before we give ourselves the chance to recall directions, we put our destination into our Sat Nav and blindly following the prompts without needing to use our memories. Playing eye spy or telling stories on long car drives, has been replaced by plugging the kids into DVDs or games on the iPhone.

Mental functions that use the more abstract levels of the mind are becoming less frequent in this age of technological overload. And like anything, if we don’t use it, we lose it.

Busyness and tiredness also contribute towards this mental weakness and passiveness. When the mind is fatigued, it is limited to the surface levels, a tired mind cannot fathom the more subtle levels of thinking. Conscious living is replaced by “just getting through the day”.

Children and teenagers accustomed to always being electronically entertained are finding it harder to sit still and take the time to solve maths problems or articulate their thoughts creatively. The excitement of playing a computer game or watching TV will keep the mind alert but when they sit to do homework their brain feels sleepy and overwhelmed. Maintaining awareness at more abstract levels is difficult when the mind is over stimulated and tired.

At the deepest level, the mind is an infinite ocean of creativity and bliss. The mind finds complete fulfilment at this level. Regular experience of this state cultivates inner contentment, improved intuition and refinement of perception. But how can we enjoy this level of being if we never spend any time there. What we consciously perceive as the self, is just the tip of the iceberg. Without Self-knowledge we are like a leaf in the wind buffeted around by society’s expectations, habits and preconditioning from past experiences.

 In order to become familiar with our deeper self, we have to let go of all the outside stimulation and allow the mind to transcend to the subconscious levels and beyond. Transcendental Meditation gives us the opportunity to clear the surface stress and experience inner stillness. Without the constant noise of external stimulation and mental chatter, our intuition and inner directedness can surface. Our decisions better reflect our long term needs rather than coming from a desire for instant gratification and filling the void within.

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Wendy Rosenfeldt

Wendy Rosenfeldt is a teacher of Transcendental Meditation and a Maharishi Vedic Health Educator. Wendy teaches TM and offers a Consciousness based approach to all aspects of Vedic Knowledge.

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