Self realization has been describes as the attainment of the pearl beyond price, worth more than all the riches in the world. This post is about what one has to give in order to attain that pearl, and why.
According to Yoga, realization occurs when the mental activity is brought to stillness. The metaphor of the lake and the wind is apt, as long as there is wind (mental activity) the surface of the lake is disturbed, and any person looking at the lake will only see the waves and scattered light. Once the surface becomes calm, it naturally reflects like a mirror. What it reflects is reality, so when the mind is calm it reflects reality to the viewer, and the viewer sees itself in that reflection and so perceives its true existence, and not the muddled modifications of mind. Suffering is of course agitation, so suffering in itself cannot bring Realization. However, those who suffer will be more likely to reject what their agitated minds are presenting to them and seek an alternative, in that sense suffering is nearly always the impetus behind the spiritual search. How much suffering is necessary before an individual decides to abandon conventional depictions of reality is a personal affair and depends on the time and culture in which they live and the circumstances of their birth. Perhaps it is the hallmark of a successful culture that it enables individuals to perceive the truth without having to reject the very culture they were born into. But does the spiritual search itself entail suffering? My view is that it does not. The pearl is available for free to all who wish it, it is our birthright. The conventional view that Realization, or whatever it is called by culture, can be attained only by great sacrifice and suffering can only be explained as a result of the rigid and unenlightened cultures operating at the time, that either could not conceive of easier methods or were so threatened by realization that those who did work for the liberation of their fellow humans, presented it in obscure and negative terms that both made it seem unappealing to all but the most determined and an endeavor of little consequence to those in power. A third alternative is that the so called Masters or Teachers deliberately designed long and torturous spiritual training as a means of maintaining their own power and prestige.
If Realization is seeing the Truth, then it is true for all of us. All humans are the same and the hidden truth of what we are is also the same, and the reason we do not see it is also the same. The Pearl without price is not something you can attain, it is what you already are. You do not need to pay anything for something that you already have, Realization is not a transaction, a give and take, it is not some kind of deal with reality requiring anything. Realization is the complete absence of any requirement whatsoever. It is available to all, because it is all. Not only is realization your birthright, it also your reason for existing. Everything, from your body, to the vastness of nature, to your ability to reason, is pointing to the truth of who you are, and you can get there in any number of ways.
The Pearl has no price, because it is already yours!