Freedom

July 22, 2014

Freedom is often sought as the true prize, the highest goal, of spiritual aspiration and practice.  And while the word seems always to draw us to it, what does it really mean?  This recent teaching defines it essentially as “need-less-ness”:

“The buoyancy in that experience of liberation is in the way that it welcomes all things but doesn’t require any of them.  The beauty of that thing we call freedom is in its pure and total independence, an independence that, while still itself interdependent with all that is, is at the same time self-sustaining, self-illuminating, self-sufficient.  Freedom is the experience of being without need because need is the only true fetter.  Where I am attached, it is always through a belief that I require something which I do not yet have, that I am made complete by something which is not yet mine.  And whether that attachment takes the form of outrage or the form of craving or the form of deep and abiding confusion, it is attachment nonetheless, it is a fetter, and by definition the detachment of that fetter is freedom.”

It goes on to say:

“We wish for freedom like a thing we think someone else could grant us.  We insist it is a right, and yet it is not a right.  We have the right to it only by virtue of its presence, by virtue of its isness.  We are already self-sufficient.  We are already self-illuminating.  We are already enough.  “Enough” is not a word that indicates a kind of bare-minimum requirement.  Enough is complete, it is whole, it is finished, it needs nothing more—and this is our state, our condition, even as temporary and fragile beings; this is how we are here.  We are enough, and this is our freedom.  We are independent even while interdependent, and this is our freedom.  We are unfettered, in fact, except by those chains which we forge for ourselves out of our own belief that something is required, out of the belief in need.  But nothing is required.  We exist, each of us, like a cut flower, perfect in its vase, slowly dying, but also like a spark of energy that can never be destroyed, only changed from one form to another.  Find the center of yourself, for your own self-effulgence is constantly filling you, and through this find your liberation, that freedom you were born with and that you will die with, that freedom that cannot be separated from your own essence.  We have already been granted the liberty we demand and every breath that we draw here is a re-granting of that same liberty.”

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