We tend to think of Gandi and Mother Teresa, when we think of Self Actualization. And it’s difficult to write about this subject without mentioning Abraham Maslow and his Hierarchy of Needs, but there's plenty on that topic to be found. Instead lets take this topic in a different direction. We tend not to believe that we ourselves can realize Self Actualization.
My take on this topic is more along the lines of an ongoing pursuit. A pursuit of a lifetime if you will. Something like the pursuit of happiness or positive thinking, but with a tad more ethics and integrity. I guess the best place to start might be the old adage “take the high road”. Whenever we take the high road, we accomplish a couple of things. First we allow ourselves to “let go” of an old learned response but as importantly we don’t allow someone else to bring us down. Taking the high road turns a potentially negative situation and turns it into a positive win/win. We often use the example of driving and getting cut off. Generally speaking we get angry, frustrated or worse. Maybe we curse the person who “did us wrong” or use some inappropriate gesture. That’s a negative response.
Rather than having a knee jerk reaction, we might do better to ask ourselves some questions. Did the person do it on purpose? Did they even realize I was in this lane? What has their day been like up to this point? Maybe they’re in a hurry, taking a sick relative to the hospital or going to visit one. Maybe their head is somewhere else, distracted from bad news, a problem at work or an argument with a loved one. The fact is, we do not always have that information; if we did, we might couch our response a bit differently.
The other thing that comes to mind is the golden rule and “doing the right thing”. When we choose to do unto others, we see that we are evolving our consciousness. There is wisdom in being compassionate toward others, for as we give, we receive; the law of sewing and reaping.
When we meditate and focus on conscious living we begin to change our perception of how we see the world. This in turn allows us the insight to begin to live life differently, in a more spiritually charged way. We can go into the silence and begin our own Self Actualization by beginning to retrain our subconscious mind. Letting go of learned responses that don’t serve us or anyone else ultimately helps the world heal. Studies have proven that positive action has a dramatic effect on the outcome, which again is a natural law (do unto others).
I guess we tend to put it out of our personal grasp because we simply don’t think we’re “worthy”. That’s the farthest thing from the truth. The real truth is, we’re much closer that we’ll ever give ourselves credit for. When we begin to see the simple truth, that we are one with the creator (I am Spirit, God is Spirit) we can break free of these self limiting beliefs and continue on our journey toward enlightenment.
Here is a great resource for Self Actualization.