Excerpt About Primary Self-Realization
Even though the self of the early infant must exist in a state of wholeness similar to that of self-realization, we do not assume that the infant’s experience is the same as that of the self-realized adult; in fact, this is most unlikely because, as we will discuss further, the infant has not gone through the developmental stages necessary for conceptual discrimination. However, it is safe to assume that the infant lives initially in a condition that we will term “primary self-realization,” since in the absence of significant disturbances there must be some awareness unmediated by memory, images, or ideas. We can assume that experience is not yet conceptualized, the self is not yet self-reflective, and the consciousness is not yet divided by defensiveness. Even if there is some contraction in the body or nervous system as a result of less than optimal conditions, or, say, a difficult birth, the infant’s experience—at least at times of rest and satisfaction—must be that of simply being. The actual self, the experiencing consciousness, must be abiding in its true nature, since it is simply and spontaneously being, with its innocence intact. We have seen that this wholeness is part of the condition of self-realization. We have also seen that self-realization is not a matter of intellectual understanding or even emotional maturity, but rather, a matter of spontaneously and naturally being—simply being, without conceptualizing oneself. And since the central element of self-realization is presence (which is free, pure, and devoid of mental elaborations), we must accept that at least one component of the infant’s experience must be presence. How else can it be?