Focus on What is Permanent: The World of Nonduality
As we explore the world of enlightenment together, one of the key components of the journey is: What is the ultimate reality of what is? Here we are really getting back to what is, what truly has always been and always will be. In our pursuit for this, we are looking at identifying what is permanent.
In many ways, we’re on a quest. Not a quest for gold, understanding how to live our lives or discovering who the gods, angels or wise people are who have lived throughout the ages. All these things have changed. Even science and what we study as scientists will change. Scientists know that our universe began about 14.6 billion years ago. Prior to that, scientific investigation stops. So, what we’re starting with in our investigation is what is, what has been and what always will be. This is truly the beginning of our quest and this is the ultimate question we can begin to ask.
What is timeless? What has always been? What will always be? What is? Because we don’t identify with the ultimate and we rather identify with that which is impermanent, we suffer and take the world to be real. You can’t really argue with the fact that the world is impermanent and going to end some day. There are so many movies featuring the end of times when there is going to be a meteorite, flood, alien nation takeover or mass illness ending our lives. There are so many movies that Hollywood creates portraying the end of the world that the number of them is almost comical! Yet, despite knowing that the world will end, we believe and invest in so much of that which is impermanent.
Let me paint the most absolute, perfect, long-lasting picture of life that I can possibly conceive of. Assume that scientists have found a way to ensure that our bodies don’t age. Imagine they have invented an anti-ageing pill so we don’t get any older. Then technology comes along and says “Hey! Even if we get an injury, we have new replacement parts for our bodies. We can get new hearts, limbs, faces, or whatever it may be that we need. Anything can be replaced.” Then we live for millions and millions of years, but finally, the sun becomes a red giant and the earth gets consumed within the sun’s blaze so we have to transport ourselves to another planet, another solar system. With time, our solar system ages and we have to move to another solar system, another universe, and we keep moving further and further out.
The universe keeps expanding and expanding. But sooner or later, billions of years from now, everything is ultimately going to exhaust itself. Scientists will agree with this. Ask any astrophysicist and he’ll tell you that sooner or later the universe is quietly going to end and it’s going to be over; nothing will be left. So, no matter how much we keep ourselves alive for billions or trillions of years, at some point the universe is going to come to an end. Given that this world in which we live in is going to end, let’s spend a bit of time with that which won’t end.
What is that? That which won’t end is that which is. What is, is our awareness of what’s happening. Even when we die, there has to be something before that which we are aware of, out of which everything comes. Identify with that and then we will see the world completely differently. When we identify ourselves with that which is permanent and lasts forever (which can’t be described because words and concepts are part of this temporal existence), we are able to identify ourselves with that which is, always has been, and always will be.
When we identify with that, we realize that everything is one. We are not two, non-dual. We are one. Everything comes out of this oneness; the gods, angels, heavens, hells, universes, solar systems, everything. Everything comes out of that which is, always has been and always will be. It’s impossible to argue with that because that which is is beyond any concepts. It has an interminable existence because it precedes existence itself. It just is. It always has been. It always will be. Be that. Identify with that and see if you don’t find our world looking very differently.
When we do this, we no longer identify with desires or fears because we realize they are impermanent and subject to change. If we identify with what is permanent, then the world in which we live changes in our perception. Perhaps a word like ‘peaceful’ would be appropriate. Perhaps a world like ‘love’ would also be suitable. You can’t use words but they are pointers to what is. What is has to be permanent; everything else is impermanent.
It can seem scary to do this because we identify with our egos. But when we go to sleep at night and we completely relinquish our egoic identity, we are not afraid to do so. What if we were to do this when we are awake? What if the only thing we identify with is our detached awareness, our pure witnessing, our silent awareness? This is awareness of what is without any concepts, labels or volition. We just watch life unfold, realizing that it is unfolding through us and the only part we can identify with at this point is our awareness of what is. When we sleep at night, there is nothing of which to be aware. We still are, but we are without our egoic identity. Let’s do the same while we are awake.
If we work in the direction towards leading an egoless life, what we’ll find is a peace that surpasses all understanding. Life, then, not only flows but it flows beautifully. We are the center of the universe and everything flows from our beingness. Change the perspective; focus on what’s permanent and all will be well. There will be no suffering, no desires and no fears. There will just be pure awareness, a pure witnessing of what is, and silence.
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