Understanding God: Moving from Concepts to Enlightenment
Who are we before anything else ever was? Who are we permanently at our core? When we take everything that is impermanent away, who are we?
When we begin to remove things that we often consider to be the ultimate, we are left with God. However, although God may be the ultimate, our concepts of God are not. Though religion plays a beautiful role in this conceptual world of ours, it still prevents us from God, from the ultimate, because it labels God. For instance, it says, God is good, God is benevolent, or God is wrathful. Any label cannot describe God, cannot describe the ultimate. The ultimate is that which is before anything and everything else, including our concepts of God. In fact, God or the ultimate precedes any label we can use to describe them.
Our concepts are that which are impermanent and subject to change. Our concept of God and religion come out of the ultimate of who everyone is. There are not two, but only one. I’ll put it even better by saying there is non-dual because even one is a concept. Another word for this would be unicity. All is one. Religions, faith, our concepts of gods and God come out of that which is ultimately the truth, which we ultimately are. We too come out of it. It’s not that God is less real but that we and God are less real.
Our concepts of our self and our concepts of God are less real than that which ultimately is. The universe has rules. If we have faith, God plays by those rules. But who are we before the universe was created?
Our religions and faiths are beautiful and interesting. They’re positively and negatively affecting billions of people around the world. It’s not that we negate them but rather that we realize what is before them. Enlightenment entails identifying that which is before God, before our concepts of ourselves, and ultimately, before the beginning of everything.
Be that. You and I are that. When we take our focus away from our concepts, from our religions and from our faiths, and we quiet our minds and just be, we find that we wake up to who we are. In the silence there is truth. Who we are unfolds. It’s always there, but because of this space-time reality that we live in, we identify with that instead of identifying with who we ultimately are. When we just change our focus and identify with who we ultimately are: the non-dual self, awareness, the infinite silence, then all is well and all is beautiful.
Our conceptual minds have imprisoned us. They assume and tell us that these assumptions are real. They tell us that it’s not a dream, but reality. However, it’s actually the reverse: life is an extended dream. When we wake up to this fact then we get back to who we are. We witness the dream and we’re aware that we’re the dreamer in the dream and the whole of creation is only there because we are.
Once we stop identifying with the dream and we see it for what it is, we quiet our minds, be still and just flow. We stop participating but just flow with life. This enables us to wake up to who we are. Any concept of truth ultimately can’t be true because they’re concepts. Even though I am now presenting concepts to you, what these do is help us to quiet our mind. Concepts are much like this: imagine I have a thorn in my foot. What do I do? I go find another thorn to pluck it out. And then when I pluck out the thorn that’s in my foot, I throw both those thorns away in a fire. Let us use the concepts here to quiet the mind, to pluck out the concepts and then be still.
When our minds are still we stop putting labels and concepts on life. We see life, every aspect of it – a bird, our friends, the past, the future, the sun, the moon, everything – as alive, equally alive, yet equally conceptual. That everything is unicity.
We are all that ultimately is. We’re not better, we’re not worse, we just are. Initially this can be scary for the mind because we want to think “I’m better than that person”, “I’m more important than that tree”, “I’m more significant than my friend.” But, really, we ultimately are one, or not two. Non-duality.
With that last concept, our conceptual minds can let go of the battle to win, lose, desire and fear. Yes, these concepts will still be there, but we’ll realize that they just form part of the dream we call life. We can relax, then. We can watch ourselves, watch others, relax and just be. It’s like stepping back and watching a movie. We realize, “Oh! I’m watching a movie. I’m not the movie. The movie is not ultimately real.” So we relax, we play our part and we play it well. We watch others play their part and do so well. We can just enjoy the movie and the journey. All is well. Life goes on but we start identifying with who we are. Who are we, when we’re not conceptual? Who are we and who have we always been? Who will we always be? Unicity, not two, non-duality. Yes, they are the final thorn to be taken out.
Let’s take them out, throw them in the fire, and be done with them. Just 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 and creates a weekly podcast on happiness at http://www.HappinessPodcast.org He also creates a weekly podcast on meditation, http://www.MeditationForHealthPodcast.com and a weekly podcast on spiritual enlightenment, http://www.EnlightenmentPodcast.com His retreat schedules can be found at http://www.HolisticRetreats.tv You also might find his blog useful at http://www.Meditation-Enlightenment.com If you are interested in having Dr. Puff speak to your organization or company, you can learn more about his speaking services at http://www.SuccessBeyondYourImagination.com