What Happens During Spiritual Enlightenment: You Are the Ocean, Not the Lotus Flower

What Happens During Spiritual Enlightenment: You Are the Ocean, Not the Lotus Flower
By Dr. R. Puff

As we journey toward the path of enlightenment, what can we expect to happen in our lives? What can we expect to happen inside of us? In truth, there is nothing that we must do. Life just unfolds and we are merely the witness to this unfolding.

How do we live our lives if we’re seeking the path of awakening, in order to truly be awakened to who we are and to live an enlightened life? How are we to live our lives if we aren’t the doers of the living but merely the witness to this doing?

Embrace the Oneness of the Universe

At first, I wasn’t actually seeking enlightenment. I was raised in the American farm belt and had a normal, Christian background. There’s a strict duality in Christianity: Christ is the exemplar, someone who we strive toward and seek to emulate. We’re never going to be Christ, even though Christ Himself was in many ways a non-dualist. He said, “The Father and I are one. I can do nothing, except if the Father allows me to.” The Christian mystics came to the same conclusion as Jesus. When you read the writings of Julian of Norwich, one of my favorites, there is a sense of a non-separation from herself and God. I think many Christians are troubled by mysticism because it is far more non-dual. Even though I was familiar with the mystics, I still saw life as a constant journey until I was exposed to other types of non-dual thinking. I realized what is constant is that which always is, or the permanent. What is impermanent can’t be real because it changes.

Although in my meditations I had many experiences with the non-dual relationship with the universe, I didn’t apply it to my whole life. However, when my teacher said, “Embrace it. Be that,” within a matter of weeks something happened that allowed me to see the non-dual nature, the one-ness of all that is. People around the world seek enlightenment. I wasn’t even seeking it, yet I was blessed with an awakening.

It is inevitable that growth will occur, perhaps in this life, perhaps in the next, or when we die or are in heaven. We don’t know. What we do know is that we’re on this journey of discovery which is leading us to who we are. It’s natural and will happen, with or without our effort.

Flow with the Journey of Life

Why don’t we live a life far less concerned with finding enlightenment, but rather focused upon waking up and just living our lives? If we relax and just flow with life while trusting that where we’re headed is exactly where we’re supposed to be, two things can happen. First and foremost, we’ll live a beautiful life because we’ll just flow with it. When we don’t fight life, we enable this to happen. In living this life of freedom, we become free. Secondly, we may discover who we are. We may wake up, just like Jesus, Buddha, or Julian of Norwich did. When we discover our true permanent self, everything that is and everything that always has been is what we are. Life, then, can be love.

Imagine we are a lotus flower in a river. If we start floating toward the ocean, fighting the current will cause a lot of scrapes and scratches along the way. But if we just float, we’ll find that sometimes we stop, sometimes we hit a whirlpool, sometimes it’s a little rocky, but mostly we just float along until we arrive at the beautiful infinite ocean of who and what we are. We discover that the lotus flower which we thought we were was really just an illusion; who we truly are is the infinite ocean.

We have always been this ocean, but we forgot. Life is a journey of discovering who we are. It can be a wonderful, beautiful journey if we just flow with life and stop fighting it. Even when the fighting occurs inside of us, realize that it’s a conditioned response and if you don’t identify with it then you can relax and allow life to flow again.

Everything is Connected

The journey itself is not important. What’s really important is discovering the journey as part of the vast, infinite ocean. Everything is connected. Everything is not two, non-dual. When we reside in that, then we just flow with life and life truly becomes beautiful.

Open up and allow yourself to just be. Perhaps today you too will discover who you are, who you’ve always been, and who you will always be. You just have to let go of everything, including everything you have believed yourself to be. Just be – it’s really that simple. Everything resides in that being-ness. All there is, is. Be that.

Dr. R. 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

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