Being Who We Really Are: Putting an End to Suffering

Posted on December 4th, by Dr. Puff in Articles. No Comments

As human beings we can suffer so much. Yes, there are joys in this life, but often with joys come pain. We just go back and forth between the thrills or excitements and then the suffering and pain that follow these highs. It’s as though with a high comes a low.

These emotional roller-coasters are often most seen in teenagers. They might fall in love, deeply in love, and think that they have found their soul mate. You might talk to them a few days, sometimes even a few hours, later and they are caught up in the deep, dark recesses of pain and suffering because something is wrong or amiss. Perhaps their boyfriend or girlfriend didn’t call them back, or they heard through their friend something sinister, so their soul mate becomes their bitter enemy. We might think this is funny and laugh at it, but as long as we identify with our humanness, with our impermanence, we are going to suffer.

Another example is how we might be so happy one day when we discover we’re pregnant and then a few days later we might be in the dark recesses of hell if we think there is a problem with the heartbeat of the baby that’s inside our tummy. We will continue to participate in this roller-coaster ride we can humanize until one thing happens – we discover who we are. Who we are isn’t permanent. It doesn’t change. It can’t change. Our permanent state of who we are is free, fresh and innocent. It just is. Without the labels of want, don’t want, fear and desire that go back and forth emotionally, when we identify with who we are, the eternal witnessing of all and out of which everything comes, we just are.

This beingness is a foundation out of which everything arises but we are not that which comes out of our beingness. We are the beingness out of which everything comes. There is only the self. We can call it the supreme reality, but whatever label we use won’t be sufficient because it is a label. It is a concept and we are before any concept. We are. We aren’t this or that; we are.

Our desires and fears create the universe and multiple universes. But prior to our wants, fears and desires, who are we? We understand that when we dream we can create vast universes that seem so real when we participate in them. But when we wake up we realize we were just dreaming.

When we identify with our true self, we realize that all the emotions we feel – the good and bad ones – are just part of this dream universe. When we don’t identify with them but instead we identify with the oneness, unicity, non-duality; when we identify with beingness, then all these labels and experiences can be witnessed by us even though they continue to occur. We can realize that the background out of which all these universes are being created is beautiful, silent and peaceful. And we are that.

We are that out of which the vast universes unfolds. In a sense, though we’re absolutely nothing, we’re everything, because everything comes out of our nothingness. It may be helpful to think for a moment: Who are we 100 years before we are born?

What we may find is, our minds become very still and quiet. In this stillness a peace that surpasses all understanding arises. Be that stillness. Be the witness to all that is, including all that ever was and all that ever will be.

When we identify with our true selves, there is no suffering. There is no mental commentary either because we’re not identifying with physical pain. It dissipates and goes away. Normally because we identify with who we are, we create stories, vast stories and universes, which cause us to suffer.

If instead we identify with the witness, the silent awareness and only that pure beingness, there are no stories. Pleasure and pain may still be present, but these dissipate very quickly when we don’t create stories that go along with them; when we just identify with who we are, the witness to the pain, the witness to the pleasure, but know that we are not that pain or pleasure.

When suffering arises, we witness it. If we go through a divorce, we witness it. If we get a promotion, we witness it. But we don’t identify with it, because when we identify with it we create stories and we suffer. If we don’t want to suffer, we have to identify with who we are. And we are. We just are. Everything comes out of that. In the same way that we don’t identify with our dreams and we just witness them, let’s not identify with our lives.

So then how do we live? How do we make choices? How do we know which direction to go? If we just do things for the sake of doing them because we enjoy them, because they’re pleasurable or because they’re fascinating, not because we want fame or because we’re fearful, but we just do things just because, what we’ll find is that spontaneous living creates a beautiful life. And though we always identify with who we are – which isn’t that beautiful life – we do experience a beautiful life. What we may find is, life flows very well when we just live spontaneously.

We can all try it. Instead of constantly being in our heads creating stories and making calculations, let’s just live and find that life goes well. I call it ‘living in the zone’. Try it for a minute. Try it for an hour. Just be in the zone without mental commentary.

Keep identification with your true self: the ultimate reality out of which everything arises, and all is one. It is because of that oneness and unicity that we’ll find love spontaneously arise from us. A beautiful universe, a beautiful dream universe, will unfold before us and we will be able to just witness it. We don’t identify with it, we just witness it.

Resource Box:
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 and creates a weekly podcast on enlightenment, spiritual enlightenment, nonduality, and Advaita Vedanta on spiritual enlightenment, He also creates a weekly podcast on meditation, and a weekly podcast on happiness at His retreat schedules can be found at You also might find his blog useful at If you are interested in having Dr. Puff speak to your organization or company, you can learn more about his speaking services at

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