From moment to moment, we think we are free. I repeat, think, we are free. But if we were to spend time questioning our inner world, we will know that we are not. We will soon realize that we are bonded by lots of things – our family, our career, our interest, our materials, our societal limitations; and all of them come from ideas in the mind – all conditioning of the past, molded into perceptions from experiences and learnings passed on to us from generation to generation, or from schools, or from authorities and etc.
If we were to authentically ask ourselves, we have a set of ideas on how to love others, treat others, present ourselves and etc. Like it or not, we even have a set of ideas on who we are, how we ought to behave and etc. These ideas are all, in fact, trapping. It is either we are reliant on outer conditions for us to feel a certain way, or we feel a need to do certain things for us to feel a certain way. If what comes to us is not in match with the idea that we already have in the mind, resistance starts setting in – thus the blaming, the pushing of responsibilities or the excuses. There will always be an unconscious wanting to get out of the way, if you know what I mean.
A near example in which I had experienced is the recent curve in my path that I am already working on. I started a fasting programme which I did not believe in which had inevitably set me on a training programme which I did not ask for, but am already embarking on anyway. Although I am aware of what is happening, there was a strong part of me which was opposing the whole process and yet, I did not know why I was following the flow with it, despite the resistance. Although eventually, I knew that it was molding my path towards much greatness and for the highest good, I felt that that was not the way I wanted it to be. You see, I already had a pre-conceived idea on how I had wanted my path to be, and for that, I suffered.
I failed to see that since this path was already laid in front of me and I was already walking it albeit the resistance, this was indeed, the path for me. It could not be any other way because it is what it is. My resistance was merely coming from the space that it was not in agreement with the idea that I already had in mind, thus my suffering. Even if I was wailing and complaining about it, no one else was suffering, except me.
My teacher used to say, we never have a choice. I now begin to see a deeper meaning to it. We all like to have choices – to do this or to do that, to say this or to say that. But what we do or say, or don’t do or not say, is already not of choice – because these decisions are made from the already ingrained ideas in the mind, which allows me no other way to make any other choice outside of the conditionings that I already have in the mind. On that level, what choice do I have? Or more real, how free can I be?
My freedom comes from surrendering and trusting. And that too, is an idea – a renewed conditioning to the old patterns in the mind. Even though I do not have a choice, but at least I have a choice within the choices that I already have; and therein lay my freedom – the right view which brings me inner peace and inner freedom – and no one else can give me that, except myself.
So are we free? No, we are not. We are not free because of the concepts, ideas and conditionings in the mind, and yet, it is pleasing to realize that freedom can be experienced within the limitation of choices we already have in the mind by choosing the right view, right perception. Freedom, or being free, is not about having not a care in the world, it is about releasing expectations of what is ahead, surrendering the old patterns that do not bring us peace, and forgiving the old perceptions that do not serve our highest good. Although also not a choice, but at least a choice within the choices in the mind which allows us move freely either elevating us to the space of love and peace, or fear. That is our choice, and yes, we are free in that sense, within the limitations.
Of course, until Final Freedom…