last month

Freedom From What?

In my most recent blog post a commenter asked me what the freedom I wrote about was a freedom from. Here’s my response.

If it is a freedom from anything, it is a freedom from the idea that the purpose of life is to avoid what I don’t want, what scares me.

But there’s another way to look at it. What if freedom is inherent? What if it is not about freedom from something? What if it is simply the freedom that is already the case?

We’re so conditioned to believe that freedom is from something. Meaning, there must be some kind of enemy that seeks to destroy or oppress us, and we are seeking freedom from that.

But in my experience that game is the game of searching for the boogieman. I have never found him. I don’t think I will, either.

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Do I need to be free from the boogieman?

I don’t think so.

As long as I believe I need to be free from the boogieman, I pretend that I am not free.

But as soon as I tell the truth, which is that I’ve never seen the boogieman, and what the boogieman represents in my actual experience is the fear that I want to avoid…well, as soon as that happens, my inherent freedom is revealed.

I’m not free from the fear. I’m free to fear.

Most spiritual endeavors I’ve gotten involved in over the years create boogiemen of various sorts. And while they promise future freedom, the irony is that what they produce is misery and a sense of suffocation.

They turn experiences of all stripes into the enemy.

But as soon as I tell the truth, my inherent freedom is revealed.

I’m free to fear. Free to be depressed. Free to be anxious. Free to be foolish. Free to be wrong. Free to be petty. Free to be bigoted. Free to be unjust.

Freedom is not a justification. Freedom doesn’t justify bigotry or anxiety or injustice or pettiness or insensitivity.

It’s just that freedom is free. I mean really free.

So free that all is included.

We give lip service to our love of and desire for freedom. But the only reason we don’t recognize our inherent freedom more often is because it scares the bejeezus out of us, and we are conditioned to reject fear.

Our idea of freedom is limited.

Freedom is so free that it doesn’t pick and choose. We aren’t merely free to experience pleasant and desirable things.

We’re totally free.

Like it or not.

You can’t opt out. Because the alternative is not free. And freedom is inherent.

We can deny this. We can metaphorically stick our heads in the sand. But it offers no benefit.

Opening our eyes and minds, telling the truth, is not pretty. It’s not all nice and easy.

As I’ve already written, it includes anxiety, depression, mania, rage, etc.

There is no Superman. No Buddha. Not as we’ve been led to believe.

The Buddha, the awakened, is not transcendental. The awakened is merely eyes opened to his freedom – the freedom to be in all its totality.

This is not a happy message. It’s just the truth.

joeylott

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