The Stages of Self Realization
Stages of self realization;
1. I am not the body
2. I am not the mind
3. I am not the doer
4. I am the consciousness
5. I am the witness
6. I am the disinterested witness
The above are within the realm of duality. When the duality begins to crumble the realization is;
7. I am the presence
After this the I am vanishes and the indescribable is revealed. It is beyond anything that we can think or talk about.
Nothing on the path from 1 to 7 is therefore true. They are stepping stones and indicators of progress. Nobody enjoys or experiences the self realization because the ego is no longer there. It is extinguished for the realization to dawn. Advaita is non duality. There are no two.
There is only Brahman. It is everything. Contemplating on this slowly consumes you. If everything is Brahman what is there to fear? If the world is driven and carried by Brahman where is the doer? If everything is Brahman what is there to desire? When you become desireless the time is near.
Meditation allows you to have a glimpse and experience of the stillness which is a reflection of the underlying reality. Even in meditation you can have many experiences that are also not true.
One can argue that Sages like Ramana Maharshi and Nisargadatta were able to retain the ego even after realization. But could they? Both have told again and again that they have lost their ego though they seemingly could attend to their tasks. Sri Ramakrishna has clearly said that the ripe ego of the realized soul is the grace of God showered on those who are assigned to teach. All of them are indeed great teachers as they had no personal ego.
If you are sincere everything happens in due time. This is important. You cannot hurry things. When the wound heals the scab falls on its own. Taking it off early does not help and the wound festers.
The spiritual journey is about genuine aspiration and waiting.