To gain spiritual awareness and to experience awakening, we need to unlearn what we know, or think we know. We must let go of every piece of knowledge and just be. In the East, this is called “neti neti,” meaning, “not this, not that.” In the West, we refer to this concept as “via negative,” or, “a way of nothingness.”
We should view our lives as a series of events without getting attached to anything. We should experience these passing events, but not lay claim on them or react by saying, “This is mine,” or, “This is who I am.”
Treat Life as a Movie
When watching a movie, you don’t completely identify with it. You realize that you are simply witnessing it. If we try to do the same with what occurs in our own lives, we will achieve a more detached perspective, such as that of a witness. In this state, we can fully experience events without feeling that they define us.
The mind always seeks to identify events. We might tell ourselves, “Because I acted rudely, it means I’m a rude person.” We become overly attached to our opinions and interpretations of reality. In truth, we aren’t this or that, simply because all labels eventually change. Anything that changes can’t be permanent. The only thing that is permanent, however, is you: the fact that you are. Identify with the fact that you are; identify with being-ness. If you can do this, you’ll find that labels, both good and bad, dissipate and you can experience the joy of being in the present.
We Are Infinite Like the Sky
Imagine you are the sky and your thoughts and opinions are merely passing clouds. You aren’t defined by them; rather, you simply bear witness to them. We should strive to return to being like the sky, which we have always been and always will be. We have forgotten about our infinity because we have been too busy identifying with different events in our lives.
The mind constantly wants to dwell on events, things, and people. But instead of falling into this mindset, if you get back to the real root of who you are, you will find that in this state of being-ness all the identifications will go away. You’ll be left with the infinite reality of now.
Break Free from the Prison of Your Thoughts
By not labeling, identifying, attaching, judging, and desiring, you can break free from the prison of your thoughts. You will achieve pure being-ness that contains the essential information of who and what you are, who you have always been, and who you will always be. This liberates you from suffering and brings bliss and peace beyond imagination.
You might not be able to stop your thoughts, but if you witness them, you gain a meditative, pristine view of your true self. You can then cease to identify with them. We sometimes become obsessed about identifying who we are. We might say, “I’m kind,” “I’m rich,” or “I’m beautiful.” But these things are not who you are, because they’re transitory. They might change from one day to the next. The only thing for certain is that you are. If you don’t identify with the transitory, you will truly begin to experience life in its beautiful, true state of being-ness.
We Are That Which We Have Always Been
Gold can be made into a variety of forms and shapes. It may look like jewelry or a coin, but it is still gold. When its life is over as jewelry or a coin, it is melted down into its original state and transformed into a new object. No matter what superficial changes it undergoes, it has always been and will always be gold. We, too, are like gold. As babies, we had no concepts; all we had was pure being-ness. As we matured, our minds started to cultivate interpretations of reality and started labeling others, which caused suffering.
All of our identifications change, but what doesn’t change is just being. If you stay in that state of just being-ness, your life will improve significantly because you are moving back to your original state, which is beyond description.
Meditation enlightenment can help you experience this natural state and flow with life, without restricting labels. By following your breath, being still, and quieting your mind, you learn to witness your thoughts without identifying them and to give yourself a chance to just be. With a detached perspective, your life can change drastically because it will become quieter, more peaceful, and much more enlightened.
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
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