Freedom is the one thing we love more than anything without realizing it and it is also the one thing we fear the most. Freedom is the scariest thing to the ego.
Don’t we all look forward to vacations? But what does vacation mean?
Vacation means to vacate. While you are on vacation, you vacate your ego and your mind. There is no phone, no tv, no past, no future, no people having demands on you and you don’t have to think or worry or care about anything.
You just relax. That’s a vacation.
But think about this: what are you vacationing from?
In all great teachings, liberation is seen as the epiphany of mastership and enlightenment.
Why do we fear freedom?
We fear freedom because it has no qualities.
Think of joy. Does joy have qualities? No.
When babies are born, they haven’t got qualities yet. They are just there, empty. In that emptiness, they are qualityless; so they have joy.
This is one thing that the human mind struggles to understand.
When you are totally empty, you are joyous and blissful.
You are not judging and you are not concerned. You are free from worry and from controlling anything.
That is the gist of freedom; a lack of quality.
How can you become free?
In simple terms, you can’t. But why can’t you? Because any effort you make to be free, is telling yourself that you are not free.
So why is freedom so scary? It is scary because freedom is freedom from you.
- When you worry, who is it that worries? You.
- When you are angry, who is angry? You.
- When you are resentful towards someone or something, who is resentful? You.
No matter what happens, it is you that makes it happen.
Can you be free from you?
You cannot attempt to do it because the very attempt is the ego trying to get rid of the ego, which is impossible.
But there is a way.
Ask yourself this question: “Who am I”? When you ask “Who am I”, there is one thing you can be sure of, you will never have an answer.
Maybe in the beginning you will say: “I am my body” or “I am my past” or “I am my name”.
But if you think carefully, all of that comes and goes. Anything that is impermanent cannot be real, because what is real is lasting.
What is lasting about you?
You will find that what is lasting about you is something that cannot be named, that cannot be defined, explained or known by your mind.
So how do you find what is lasting about you?
Work from the premise of elimination. Find out what you are not.
You are not your name because you can change your name and still be you.
You are not your country because you can be born without a country and still be you.
You are not your body because your body is being recycled all the time. You first are a baby, then you become a teenager and then you become an adult and finally an old person. There are definitely four different bodies right there, in every aspect.
So who are you? There is no way that you can ever know.
And if you think I know who I am, I don’t. But the difference is, that I am happy not knowing. Because then I am so open to wonder and vastness that the possibilities are endless.
I’m open and see every moment as unique and new.
But if you have an idea of who you think you are, then you are limited to that and you cannot be free.
Freedom is not a very difficult thing to do. Just ask: “Who am I”.
When you acknowledge the fact that you don’t know, then the ego drops. Now you’ll never get hurt.
When people talk about you, it doesn’t matter. You are no longer concerned because you know that you don’t know who you are. So how can you be offended if you don’t know who you are? How can that hurt?
When you are sincere, when you are totally open to that premise that you really don’t know and admit it, then something begins to take over.
What that something is could be a moment of grace, could be a shift in perception, could be just a subtle feeling that you are not alone.
This is one thing that most people miss. They become very dry. They read a lot of books, they do a lot of meditation, but that does not awaken you by itself.
What awakens you is dropping the self and the ego. When you are sincere and dedicated to that, you’ll find there is no “me”.
It’s a little frightening in the beginning, but the moment you completely embrace it, an automatic joy will start to inundate you like a newborn child.