The Paradoxical World of Spiritual Enlightenment: We are nothing but we are everything

Posted on July 29th, by Dr. Puff in Articles. No Comments

When we wake up to who we are, something happens. We stop identifying with our egoic selves because we realize they are impermanent and only that which is permanent can be who we are.

We aren’t our bodies, we aren’t our memories, we aren’t our thoughts, we aren’t our feelings… We aren’t any of these things, so we stop identifying with them. What happens is that detachment develops. An aloofness or distancing from everything that occurs. We wake up to the fact that life is an extended dream and a relaxation is able to set in. It’s a sense of calm or a feeling that ‘all is well.’

We lose our identity with our lives, thoughts and feelings, so we witness them but we don’t engage with them. We notice them, but we don’t create stories with them. Since we don’t create the stories that go along with these experiences called life, we become very quiet inside and we are able to merely watch as life occurs.

Now the fear I often hear people express is: “But, Dr. Puff, won’t we stop caring for other people? Won’t we become so indifferent that we’ll stop caring for anyone or anything and do nothing? Will we basically just sit back and be so aloof that we don’t do anything for anyone ever? Will a form of intense selfishness set in?”

None of this will happen. Why? We will also realize that everything we experience and see, from the farthest galaxies to our neighbors next door, are a part of the dream. They are a part of us because without us, nothing would exist. Unless we are, nothing is. So, because we are, everything is. Thus, everything is who we are.

We are everything that is permanent. Out of this permanence, everything can flow. What naturally arises from the sense that we are everything is a deep compassion and love for everything and everyone. Simultaneously, a sense of distance or detachment is also present.

It’s paradoxical, yet life is paradoxical in the sense that the only thing that is, is our awareness of what is. Without this awareness, nothing could be. In the same sense, everything is because we are. We are absolutely nothing that we think we are or that we define ourselves according to: we are not our egos or ourselves. Yet, out of that nothingness, everything is. We are nothing. We are everything. Ultimately, we just are.

So we develop a witness to what flows out of that pure beingness. In that pure beingness, what spontaneously flows is an understanding that everything is because we are. There develops spontaneously a deep compassion for everything and everyone. We even witness that compassion which spontaneously flows from our awareness. It just flows. What you’ll discover when you do this is that enlightened people are incredibly loving and kind. It’s not because they have to be, but just because it spontaneously flows from their awakening, because they realize that everyone is who they are and they are nothing.

They love everything and everyone, but there is no involvement or need to change anything because everything is perfect. There will be great changes that occur, however, and yet everything is perfect. I know it’s paradoxical, but life is paradoxical. Even science has proved this about life.

If you ever get a chance to study quantum mechanics, you’ll discover that light is a particle and yet it’s a wave – this is absolutely paradoxical but it’s the truth. Science works in paradoxes because it has discovered that life at its physical level is paradoxical.

At the spiritual level the same holds true. We are absolutely nothing yet we are everything. That is the great understanding. That is the great love. Our lives go back and forth between these two. Love, emptiness, emptiness, love, detachment, compassion, detachment… We are that. When we discover and wake up to who we are, life flows between these two states: Complete utter detachment and complete, utter love.

We wake up to who we are but we understand that we are that which is permanent. The only thing that is permanent is true beingness, without labels. In that pure beingness, there is only witnessing. When that passes and we die, when this dream we call life ends, then we become the non-dual supreme self that we’ve always been, we always are and we always will be.

Love. Aloofness. Compassion. Detachment. We are that. Totally free yet totally in love. Be that. Wake up to who we are.

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Dr. Robert Puff, Ph.D. is clinical psychologist, international speaker and meditation expert who authored, Spiritual Enlightenment: Awakening to the Supreme Reality. A contributing writer to Psychology Today, he has authored numerous other books and creates weekly podcasts and articles on spiritual enlightenment at He also creates podcasts and articles on meditation and podcasts and articles on happiness

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