Who are we before anything else ever was? When we take away everything impermanent, who are we at our core?
Although God may be the ultimate, our concepts of God are not. Though religion plays a beautiful role in this conceptual world of ours, it prevents us from God because it labels God. For instance, religion says, “God is good,” “God is benevolent,” etc. Labels cannot describe God or the ultimate. The ultimate is that which is before anything and everything else, including our concepts of God. In fact, God or the ultimate precedes any label or description.
Throw Out the Concepts
Our concepts are impermanent and subject to change. Our concepts of God and religion come out of the ultimate of who everyone is. There are not two, but one. Even better, there is non-duality or unicity. All is one. Religions, faith, and our concepts of gods and God come out of that which is ultimately the truth, which we ultimately are. We too come out of it. It’s not that God is less real, but that we and God are less real.
Our concepts of our self and our concepts of God are less real than that which ultimately is. The universe has rules. If we have faith, God plays by those rules. But who are we before the universe was created?
Religions and faiths are beautiful and interesting and affect billions of people around the world. We’re not negating them, but rather realizing what is before them. Enlightenment entails identifying that which is before God, before our concepts of ourselves, and before the beginning of everything.
In the Silence there is Truth
When we take our focus away from our concepts and religions, and quiet our minds and just be, we wake up to who we are. In the silence, there is truth. Who we are unfolds. It’s always there, but because of this space-time reality in which we live, we identify with the impermanent instead. When we change our focus and identify with who we ultimately are - the non-dual self, awareness, the infinite silence - then all is well and beautiful.
Our conceptual minds have imprisoned us. They assume, and tell us that these assumptions are real. They tell us that life is not a dream, but reality. However, life is an extended dream. When we wake up to this fact, then we get back to who we are. We witness the dream and are aware that we’re the dreamer and the whole of creation is only there because we are.
Once we stop identifying with the dream and see it for what it is, we quiet our minds, be still, and just flow with life. We wake up to who we are. Any concept of truth ultimately can’t be true because it’s a concept. Although I am now presenting concepts to you, these concepts help us to quiet our mind. Imagine I have a thorn in my foot. What do I do? I find another thorn to pluck it out. When I pluck it out, I throw both thorns away in a fire. Let’s use the concepts here to quiet the mind, to pluck out additional concepts and be still.
We are All that Ultimately Is
When our minds are still, we stop labeling life. We see every aspect of life - a bird, our friends, the past, the future, the sun, the moon, everything - as equally alive, yet equally conceptual. That everything is unicity.
We are all that ultimately is. We’re not better or worse, we just are. Initially this can be scary for the mind. We want to think, “I’m better or more significant than John,” or “I’m more important than that tree.” However, we ultimately are one, or not two. Non-duality.
Our conceptual minds can let go of the battles to win, lose, desire, and fear. Yes, these concepts will still be there, but we’ll realize that they just form part of the dream we call life. We can watch ourselves and others, and relax and just be. It’s like sitting back and watching a movie. We realize, “I’m watching a movie. I’m not the movie. The movie is not ultimately real.” So we relax, play our part and watch others play their part. We can just enjoy the journey. All is well. Life goes on, but we start identifying with who we are. Who are we, when we’re not conceptual? Who are we, who have we always been, and who will we always be? Unicity, not two, non-duality. Yes, they are the final thorn to be extracted.
Let’s extract them, throw them in the fire, and be done with them. Just be.
Dr. Robert Puff, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, author, international speaker, and meditation expert who has been counseling individuals, families, nonprofits, and businesses for over twenty years. A contributing writer to Psychology Today, he has authored numerous books, including Spiritual Enlightenment: Awakening to the Supreme Reality and creates a weekly podcasts and articles on enlightenment, spiritual enlightenment, nonduality, Advaita Vedanta at: http://www.EnlightenmentPodcast.com