Life is in constant flux: people and jobs come and go, we learn new things while forgetting the old, and different events take place. Our lives and views change. A seventeen-year-old boy might believe popularity is of crucial importance, whereas a sixty-seven-year-old man might believe that having a connection with God is what matters most. Nothing stays the same. The only thing we know for sure is that we are, right now.

It’s All A Dream

It’s a possibility that what we are experiencing right now might not even be real. Even Hollywood has caught on; many movies such as The Matrix explore this fact.

What we are experiencing as life could be a very long dream that we’re having in a different form from a different being, in a different universe. But the experience of the dreamer is real in the sense that we are, right now, experiencing this thing called life. That’s the only thing we’re absolutely sure of knowing.

The True Reality Is That We Are

Anything that changes can ultimately not be the true reality. The only thing that is, is that we are, right now. How do we live as spiritual, enlightened beings, given that the only thing we can be assured of is that we are, right now?

It’s actually very simple. If we see life as an extended dream, then we can say that events, experiences, and memories are there and we can participate in them, but we won’t suffer by overly dwelling in them. It’s similar to watching a movie. We could suffer, forgetting that we’re just watching a movie. However, the truth is that the only thing that we ultimately are is a witness to the movie. Once we know this, we can relax and spend more time in identifying with who we are. We are the witness to what is happening.

Once we say “we are this” or “we are that” and we give labels to ourselves, we have moved away from awareness. If we stop identifying with labels that follow “we are,” then when events occur, whether good or bad, whether desires or fears, we won’t create stories to go along with these experiences and we will stop suffering. In pure awareness, there is no suffering because there is no mental commentary. We still experience pain and pleasure, but we’re not creating stories to accompany those events. We don’t fight or resist them, so we don’t suffer and they can pass quickly.

Be Present and Be Free From Suffering

We don’t have to suffer. All that we have to do is be in the present moment. It’s actually very beautiful and freeing. Right now, whatever we’re doing, we’re doing that 100%. Yes, our minds will continue to drift back to wanting to worry and create stories about past events, but we’ll realize that the only thing we can do and the only thing that’s real is right here and right now, and we can be the witness to that. We’re being present with what is, whether it’s time with our friends, a walk, or watching a sunset. Once we’re 100% present with what is, life can flow well. We will have new adventures and experiences, but what we won’t have are all the mental stories that cause us to suffer. We won’t attach to anything because we realize that it isn’t real.

All that is real is right here and right now. When our mind, which causes all our suffering, continues to push stories into our head, we say, “You’re not really real. The only thing that’s real is right here and right now.” If we get back to the here and now, and realize that everything in our heads we’re creating isn’t ultimately even real, then we know that it’s pointless to participate in it. Why believe in it? If we reach this point, then perhaps all that we identify with can disappear and we realize that we just are. Pure awareness and spiritual enlightenment is about freedom from everything we think we are and living in pure being-ness. It’s about being free.

Author's Bio: 

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: