How to Discover Your Authentic Self: The Possibilities in Letting Go
Over the years I have had many people ask me “What is the most important thing that I can do to hasten, quicken and effectively pursue my path towards waking up? How can I get there, Dr. Puff? It’s very important to me. I don’t want to mess around. I just want to have the peace and happiness that comes from enlightenment. How do I get there? What do I need to do?”
We become tired of the search. We get exhausted and end up saying “I’m done. I just want to learn to be happy, to be in the present moment and to love life. But I don’t know how. What can I do? There are so many obstacles. What can I do to get there, Dr. Puff?”
The greatest advice I can give to people who ask me this is to be still and look within. The ultimate teacher is our inner self and we find who we are by being still. Silent retreats, getting away from everything and being still are really the best things we can do to wake up. We need pockets of stillness, that’s why I recommend meditating twice a day: once in the morning when we first get up and again in the evening when we go to bed. It really helps us to be still and silent. It enables us to be present with our inner self and discover who we are.
This is the ultimate quest. Who are we? We can’t base it on what other people say. We can look for pointers like those I’m suggesting here, but the true quest is only going to be found within ourselves when we’re completely still. Then we awaken to who we are. There is no past and no future; those can only exist in the here and now. Everything else that people base on the past and future is a fallacy; it is based on that which is impermanent so it cannot be the ultimate truth.
When we’re perfectly still we awaken to who we are. Thoughts will continue and emotions arise, but we don’t get attached to them or stuck in them. We live in the here and now. We have to seek this state earnestly with incredible tenacity and desire for it. Then we can let go and discover who we are.
We’ll make mistakes along the way and things will go awry, but if we just keep pushing forward, the ultimate goal of discovering who we are will be within our grasp. But to finally get there, there is one last thing we need to do: we need to let go.
Since we’re aiming for the ultimate truth, the ultimate reality has to be the cause of everything. That which we have identified with, such as our minds, bodies, thoughts, fears and desires, are not ultimately real. We aren’t the cause of them, ultimately. God, the ultimate reality, the Supreme Reality, is the cause of everything.
It’s the same with the sun: the sun causes everything to be. Without the sun, nothing could be. Ultimately we have to let go and lose our control of getting it, of understanding who we are, and arriving at enlightenment. To ultimately reach enlightenment, we have to completely let go.
We must let the Supreme Reality, God, take us there. We have to let go completely and just be. No matter what happens and what consequences occur, whether that is happiness or unhappiness, it just doesn’t matter. We just let go and be. In that beingness we discover who we are, right here and right now. When we let go of control, completely let go, there is freedom that surpasses all understanding.
Life is beautiful when we let go but we have to seek it earnestly. These are key factors or pointers to help us get there.
This story could perhaps illustrate what we need to do in order to wake up. Imagine that we’re on a quest during which a tiger comes out of the jungle and starts chasing us. We run to get away. When we reach a cliff and look down, there is a 10,000 foot drop. But we see a vine there and so we crawl down it to get out of reach of the tiger. The tiger won’t leave, though. The only thing we can do is just hang on there. We cry out for help but with time, we become exhausted. We get so exhausted that we can’t even pull ourselves back up. All that we can do is just barely hang on. When it seems that the tiger is gone, we’re too exhausted even to move as we’re barely hanging on. We become very still. We become very quiet, realizing this may be the end. In that stillness, we hear a voice and it’s a voice from deep within us. It says, “Just let go.” Although our egos may cry out “No!” at the same time, deep within we feel the ultimate peace of complete relinquishment of all control.
We should choose to fly in the moment of now. Each breath and moment is taken one at a time. In this ultimate freedom, we discover who we are, who we’ve always been and who we will always 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