If Enlightenment is Ground awakening or Big Mind awakening to its nature of emptiness and form absent of I anywhere, then Self-Realization can be seen as the continuing unfolding of the world of form, specifically as an individual Being of soul and human self.
It is Big Mind awakened to itself, functioning through an individual and evolving soul and developing human self, in the context of an evolving universe.
And while the awakening to realized selflessness has a sense of finality, the unfolding of the world of form continues. It is Spirit manifesting, exploring and experiencing itself in always new ways, including as evolution and development. (Evolution and development is one of the ways that Spirit prevents itself from repeating itself. Not that it could anyway.)
Here are some of the possible aspects of this Self-Realization…
Part of evolution of form
Independent of anything else, any human self is inherently a part of the evolution of form in general. Whatever happens with and in this human self has infinite causes, and these causes go back to the beginning of time and extend out to the limits (if any) of this universe.
This human self is the local manifestation of the world of form as a whole, and of the totality embracing emptiness and all of form. It is inherently part of the evolution of form, no matter how that shows up.
Skillful means in general
There can be a continuing development of skillful means, exploring how to live from realized selflessness in a particular culture and circumstances.
Skillful means in teaching
And there can be a continuing development of skillful means in teaching, in exploring how to express and convey the awakening in ways that helps Big Mind (when functionally connected with other human selves) awaken to its own nature.
Then there is the healing of the human self: working through wounds so that this realized selflessness can be expressed and live through a more (conventionally) healthy human self.
Realized selflessness is realized selflessness independent of the state of the human self it functions through, but why not allow this vehicle to continue to heal in conventional terms as well? That only adds to the richness of it, and can also make the wisdom and compassion to come through in a clearer way.
The state of the human self filters the stainless clarity of awakening, so why not allow this filter to be more healthy in a relative sense.
Allowing it and its to become me and mine
An aspect of all of the above, from Spirit exploring itself to skillful means to health, is allowing it and its to become me and mine. (As Freud and his successors, including Ken Wilber, point out.)
Within realized selflessness, any quality and characteristic arise freely, as emptiness dancing. At the same time, they can be disowned by and foreign to our human self, or familiar and used in daily life.
If disowned, they cannot very easily become a part of the repertoire of our human self. It does not know how to use them in daily life in any effective, skillful or elegant way. They become holes in the ways this human self can function and relate to others. They are tools that could be available and useful to our human self, but are not since it is not familiar with how to use them.
Even as they arise as Spirit, and recognized by Spirit as Spirit, they also appear as third or second person, as an it or at best an you. There is little or no familiarity with it as an I, me or mine, with how to live it or live from it, how to use it – effortlessly, seamlessly, effectively and with elegance, in daily life and interactions.
By becoming familiar with these qualities on a human level, they gradually become more me and mine, more of a useful and available tool. And this helps Spirit to experience itself in a different, and maybe fuller and richer way. It becomes included in our available skillful means. And it helps our human self to heal.
Maturing and developing
And then there is the conventional (and less conventional) forms of maturing and developing.
Maturing, for me, means to become more fully human, to mature into what it means to be human as well as Big Mind. Or as they say in Breema: being participation, allowing more of all of us to participate – which influences our human self to mature and deepen over time.
In addition, there are innumerable areas we can develop in as human beings: cognitive (what we are aware of), emotional, relational, aesthetical (our appreciation of beauty), and more specific areas such as skills and insights into music, writing, teaching, kayaking, photography, science, engineering, romance, coziness, yogas, group dynamics, cooking, energy work, medicine, bodywork, mind-body connections, and so on. There is no lack of areas where we can develop and hone our skills and understanding.
An aspect of human development is, as Ken Wilber points out, catching up with evolution in general. How far has human evolution currently gone in any of these areas? Where is the leading edge? And how can I allow this human self to catch up with it, and then be part of the leading edge of this wave of evolution – at least in one or some areas?
Combinations and degrees
These are just a few of the many ways Self-Realization can unfold.
For any given individual at any given time, each of these is emphasized to different degrees.
In some cases, the human self may be happy to just passively take part in the general evolution of the world of form, to go along for the ride.
In other cases, there may be more of a conscious emphasis in some or all of these areas. An active and engaged exploration of what Self-Realization means, in the areas of teaching, skillful means, healing, bringing its into mine, maturing, and/or developing along specific lines.
And our culture and time seems to be one where a more actively engaged Self-Realization is emphasized. A Ground awakening itself is of course fine, but it gets fuller and richer in a different way when these forms of Self-Realization are actively brought alive and explored.