“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” -Albert Einstein
Ever notice how slippery the term “freedom” is? It’s something we all value, think we have a right to, or are fighting for. But what is it exactly? What are free from? To do what? When were we not free?
We’ve been taught from birth that we aren’t free or that we must rely on someone or something else to ensure we can become and remain free. This, unfortunately, isn’t a fact. It’s societal programming. I’m not saying it’s a plot or conspiracy and I’m not saying it isn’t. It’s actually both, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that we’ve bought into this idea that freedom is either something we have a right to or something we must defend. Freedom, even the concept of free will, remains contingent upon the externally-perceived world around us. Even when it comes to matters of the subconscious. The term “freedom” has become synonymous to the concept of an “other” in relation to a perceived “you”.
What if I told you that we are all free, right now in this moment, and always have been? Would you believe me? Please do. Not only has this freedom always been present, it’s unchanging and unalterable. We simply aren’t aware of it and that’s the irony. The way to have it is simply to be aware of it. Not intellectually, but experientially and the way to experience it is not to look outward at the world of “others” but to turn within.
Ask yourself who it is that’s free or not free? If you reply, “me, of course,” then ask yourself who is this “me”? Don’t answer it but look for what this “me” is. Search inside for the place where this me lives; from where this thought of “I” arises. See if you can find it. Is it even there or does it disappear when you inspect it?
It disappears. The truth is, we can never find it. Try it. “I” is just an idea and a story we’ve been telling ourselves from the moment of birth. Part of this story is that we are not innately free unless it’s given to us, taken, or allowed to us; that it’s something out there. But if we continue searching inwardly for this me-idea, we’ll discover something quite amazing, something we’re so familiar with we forgot it was there: our natural nature, our state of being. Pure, peaceful, unadulterated awareness.
When this real “me” is discovered and experienced, an incredible liberation begins. This natural state is immense, boundless. Nothing disturbs it. If we can be in this space it becomes easy to observe how our mind has entrapped us. Thoughts and resulting emotions swirl around this unmoving peaceful place begging to be noticed, to be purchased, to be believed, but because this place of pure awareness is only the witness to all this, it’s unconcerned. Unconcerned until we allow our attention to chase after these thoughts and grab onto them and allow ourselves to be dragged along behind to be shaken and bruised and beaten into believing they’re real again. When we buy back into that, we suffer. We lose clarity. We blunder and stumble along through life. We begin believing in and writing that story again and forget we’re really that which watches it all.
So, if it’s true freedom we desire, then the only way it can be had is to realize our true nature is freedom and nothing external to us can change that. Try it. It’s the single greatest gift we give ourselves. It’s a gift that keeps on giving. Revisit it every day, several times and as much as you can. Eventually the light of this truth burns away the pages of your illusory story and the real you can live truly and irrevocably free.
The reason why people with differing beliefs tend to clash is this: a belief is not Knowing. Belief is intellectual and is the creation of your own ego regardless of how you arrived at it. Nothing will defend itself to the death like the ego-mind, so it will raise up in defense of itself. Examine a belief and accept the truth it brings you to, then release it. The truth alone will remain and has no need to be defended. It stands alone without effort.
This is a wonderful video. If you’re feeling disturbed and wanting to feel relaxed or simply wanting to touch your natural inner peace, this may help guide you there.
“You cannot come to the edge of Peace. There is just Peace…” — Mooji
“The Egg,” a thought provoking story by Andy Weir…
You were on your way home when you died.
It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.
And that’s when you met me.
“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”
“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.
“There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”
“Yup,” I said.
“I… I died?”
“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.
You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me.
“What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”
“More or less,” I said.
“Are you god?” You asked.
“Yup,” I replied “I’m God.”
“My kids… my wife,” you said.
“What about them?”
“Will they be all right?”
“That’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.”
You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didn’t look like God. I just looked like some man. Or possibly a woman. Some vague authority figure, maybe. More of a grammar school teacher than the almighty.
“Don’t worry,” I said. “They’ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it’s any consolation, she’ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.”
“Oh,” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”
“Neither,” I said. “You’ll be reincarnated.”
“Ah,” you said. “So the Hindus were right.”
“Well, all religions are right in their own way,” I said “Walk with me.”
You followed along as we strode through the void.
“Where are we going?”
“Nowhere in particular,” I said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.”
“So what’s the point, then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won’t matter.”
“Not so!” I said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don’t remember them right now.”
I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders.
“Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had. You’ve been in a human for the last 48 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for long enough, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point to doing that between each life.”
“How many times have I been reincarnated, then?”
“Oh lots. Lots and lots. An in to lots of different lives.” I said. “This time around, you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD.”
“Wait, what?” You stammered. “You’re sending me back in time?”
“Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”
“Where you come from?” You said.
“Oh sure,” I explained “I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there are others like me. I know you’ll want to know what it’s like there, but honestly you wouldn’t understand.”
“Oh,” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, I could have interacted with myself at some point.”
“Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan you don’t even know it’s happening.”
“So what’s the point of it all?”
“Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? You’re asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”
“Well it’s a reasonable question,” you persisted.
I looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”
“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”
“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”
“Just me? What about everyone else?”
“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”
You stared blankly at me.
“But all the people on earth…”
“All you. Different incarnations of you.”
“Wait. I’m everyone!?”
“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.
“I’m every human being who ever lived?”
“Or who will ever live, yes.”
“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”
“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.
“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.
“And you’re the millions he killed.”
“And you’re everyone who followed him.”
You fell silent.
“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”
You thought for a long time.
“Why?” You asked me. “Why do all this?”
“Because someday, you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You’re one of my kind. You’re my child.”
“Whoa,” you said, incredulous. “You mean I’m a god?”
“No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.”
“So the whole universe,” you said, “it’s just…”
“An egg.” I answered. “Now it’s time for you to move on to your next life.” And I sent you on your way.