Life is about freedom.
There is not a slightest trace of doubt in my mind that every healthy and conscious human being on this planet would consider his or her freedom as an essential value of life worth living. We all strive for freedom. We all want to be free.
However, it is a sad fact that we are not.
To be sure, I am not talking about freedom of moving around unrestrictedly, wherever our legs, wheels or sails take us. I am not talking about freedom of thinking, speaking or believing, either. Nor am I talking about all kinds of superficial desire-come-true ideas of freedom, as they are, I am sure, present in those sweet daydreaming moments that we all enjoy so much.
Well, to correct myself briefly, in a way, this is partially what I do actually have in mind when I set myself up for writing about freedom. Because, sadly again, the majority of us are not free that way, either. Oh, how much do we need that basic manifestation of freedom! Too often we bleed for being different; we suffer greatly for having our own ideas; we are subjected, expelled, tortured and killed, for even trying to live our lives freely.
Don’t misunderstand me, please. I will write, shout, sing, dance, pray, demonstrate… I will even gladly go onto the barricades with you, if necessary, to protect the basic human (and equally non-human) rights for freedom as understood in this restless society of ours.
However, this is just not my thing; not my real topic. It could be discussed, however, and it will be discussed throughout this book, how the real Freedom (let’s put a capital ‘F’ on freedom, just for the moment, before I explain myself fully) influences all these human endeavors for fulfilling everyday needs and desires.
So many great nobles, things, administrations,
so many high chieftains, so many brave nations,
so many proud princes, and power so splendid;
In a moment, a twinkling, all utterly ended.
– Da Todi Jacopone
So, what is it that I am trying to talk about? What kind of “freedom”?
If I say it is “freedom of the mind” it will be a cliché. And, worse than that, the average reader will probably misunderstand me immediately, even before I begin to lay out my case. Possible differences in comprehension may include the ideas such as “having an open mind”, accepting differences, tolerance, empathy, creativity or even plain curiosity.
All right, freedom is all of that; it includes all the personal traits that make our lives interesting and… human. So, while dealing with real freedom, you can count on enjoying all these positive sprouts of the freedom-aspiring mind, which will make your life fuller, richer and on all counts and in any measure, worth living. However, note that this does not include adjectives like “happier” or “easier”. Those fruits are not necessary growing on the tree of freedom. They might grow, though, so it is all right to have high hopes.
Unwillingly, I have stumbled quite quickly upon the freedom searching controversy. It is my intention to reveal it to you fully, in all its confusing glory, as the book advances. But, here it is, in plain sight, at the very beginning of the search. You want freedom, or at least, you say so. And you think so, right? You certainly think that freedom is your goal, that you deserve it and that it is your right, by human birth, to have it, no matter if it is a social freedom or some more elusive inner stuff.
However, are you fully aware of what freedom will bring you? Are you aware of the full spectrum of consequences of living freely?
I propose that you are not. Don’t hate me for that, and please, don’t be offended. It is a matter of the human condition to have difficulties with understanding the full meaning of freedom. And you are human, as am I, so together we are facing one tremendously mysterious puzzle.
We want freedom so badly. Some of us are ready to die for it (I was, for one; and I did, in a matter of speaking). But, we actually don’t know what it is and how it will affect and change our lives. And, it will change us – in all kinds of unimaginable ways that you have every right to look forward to. But, if you are wise, at least just a little bit, you will at the same time be afraid of those changes.
I will explain all of that later, and I hope you will see very clearly why I have made such an introduction. The search for freedom is one of the most dangerous, but at the same time the most true and completely unavoidable adventures of every human being. If we are not going in that direction, we may as well be dead. Physically, we may be living, but in every other meaning of the word – psychologically, spiritually, humanly – we are just corpses.
Strong words, I know, but I am not hesitating to use them. I have more of them in store, this is just the beginning. If you are not able to take them as a realistic description of the situation of non-freedom-striving person, you will probably have great difficulties to understand the rest of this book. So, it is better to be clear about that at this early stage of the “your-thoughts-meeting-my-thoughts” process on the pages to come.
The freedom I am intending to write about is the deep, absolute, unconditional and acausal freedom embedded in our own consciousness. It is a basic ingredient of our existence, and thus, it is not something we have to achieve or create, but more likely something we have to remember and re-create; manifest and practice, as we go along where life takes us.
From the introduction to The Elimination of Karma Factor