People will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid facing their inner darkness and demons, and why shouldn’t they? Who would want to wage such a watchful and unfailing war against the false self in the name of attainment? Why should we aim for something when we have no evidence at all that it exists? Perhaps, us would be soldiers in the cause of truth, have no other choice. Our lifelong search is not something that can be explained, only something that can be lived. When we have witnessed the sweet taste of truth, there is no way back but foreword.
There is no greater challenge facing us than for us to look inside and allow our spiritual freedom to take flight. After all, all else is an illusion. Inner freedom cannot be attained externally, it is already within us, and lies dormant until we release it. This reminds me of a Rastafarian friend of mine who once said to me “you can’t learn to love yourself, just love yourself”. love is already inside we just have to release it. So what gets in the way of our spiritual freedom, what challenges our inner peace and harmony? Our dis-harmony is down to where we are, and where we think we want to be. If these two places were the same, we would be in harmony. Unfortunately it is more complicated than this, as although we may know in our hearts where we want to be, we may not be fully conscious of where we truly are to start with.
Take relationships for instance. A friend of mine teaches Thai Chi and over the last 6 months he has found himself increasingly attracted to one of his students. As in all matters of the heart, he watches her carefully, and has come up with all kinds of stories about who this woman is, without truly knowing. He imagines that his student will be able to fill the void inside of him and make him whole. He has created these stories in his head because his head likes to create elaborate fantasies and attachments. Therefore, from the very start, he was not fully aware of who he was, so how could he expect this woman to provide the spiritual harmony and freedom that he so desired. Interestingly, when he found out that his desire for her was not reciprocated, even more internal stories were created about how he may have handled the situation better to win her affections. So why did his mind create this diversion? Because it knows that the true self does exist, and it does not want to set the true self free, as the mind or ego would loose its power. This is the war we are waging. But by being conscious and aware of where the mind likes to go, we can watch it grasp things, something the mind will always do, and we can then let them go.
In as much as my friend may have grasped mentally for love we also cannot grasp mentally for spiritual freedom. Paradoxically when we let the idea of freedom go it is then allowed to be our friend. Space is allowed to be space when we do not fill it with internal chatter and projections about the future. If we can cleanse our hearts of selfishness, hate, and greed and serve others, this will help our true selves to unfold. By helping others we help ourselves. Much of the time we fear this letting go as we believe we may fall, or not attain what we think we need. We may also believe that if we give our time to others we will not have enough left for ourselves. The path to spiritual freedom is very individual and personal and we have to make our own way through the forest. If we follow another’s path it may lead us in their direction, not ours. If we lead with our hearts on the long journey, we can be sure we are going in the right direction, and we will never tire of the search as our hearts never grow old.
I am so small I can barely be seen. How can this great love be inside me? ~ Rumi