Freedom and the Ties that Bind

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by Catherine Mossman / June 28, 2013

One of the cornerstones of ‘civilised’ society is the great stead we put in the upholding of our individual and societal freedoms. Though we perceive ourselves to be free are we really? How do we define freedom?

Yes, we are free to go wherever we want and do whatever we want, subject to societal laws and, or, religious circumscriptions. And yes we are free to travel, change partners, change jobs, seek fame and fortune, etc. A lot of us would say: “and so there, that is freedom! What more could one want?” Yet, I would contend that this incessant restlessness, so manifested in our endless searching and casting about, is a reflection of our inner lack of self-perception and concomitant lack of inner freedom! We endlessly seek to attain that mirage of happiness on the horizon, if we can only get there… but we never do because it is not out there, it is inside us.

Unfortunately, we still generally live with a great lack of awareness about our inner-life, our inner being, and our inner-consciousness. The concept of inner freedom is a concept that has barely any societal recognition, yet it has the greatest bearing on our outward feelings of satisfaction and happiness with life. Indeed if we do not have inner freedom how can we be truly outwardly free?

Our unexamined beliefs and assumptions keep us fettered.

The following excerpt from Billy’s Om, Canon 43, lines 156-170 further illustrates this:

English German
156. To serve as an example: A dog is chained for years before his hut, and for years he has the awareness of being bound and tied by the strong chain. 156. Als Beispiel diene einmal das: Ein Hund liegt seit Jahren vor seine Hütte gekettet, und schon seit Jahren hat er das Bewusstsein, durch die starke Kette gebunden und gefesselt zu sein.
157. The chain holds him so fast that he has given up all attempts to liberate himself and has already almost forgotten that he still has the power to break away. 157. Die Kette hält ihn so fest, dass er alle Versuche zur Befreiung schon lande aufgegeben und beinahe vergessen hat, obwohl er die Kraft zum Ausbrechen noch besitzt.
158. One day, however, a link in the chain has become worn through and the chain breaks, but since he has lived for so many years with the consciousness of a prisoner, he makes no attempt to realise his freedom and run away. 158. Eines Tages aber ist ein Kettenglied durchgescheuert und die Kette reißt, da er aber schon so lange Jahre im Bewusstsein eines Gefangenen gelebt hat, macht er keinerlei Versuch, die Freiheit zu erfassen und davonzulaufen.
159. The entire world suddenly lies before him, if only he would become conscious of his powers. 159. Die ganze Welt läge plötzlich vor ihm, wenn er sich nur seiner Kräfte bewusst würde.
160. Rather he continues to lie in front of his hut, day after day, longing for freedom and yet remaining a prisoner of his own self. 160. Aber weiterhin liegt er Tag für Tag vor seiner Hütte, sehnt sich nach Freiheit und bleibt doch ein Gefangener seiner selbst.
161. One day, a cat comes along and the dog rockets up. 161. Eines Tages aber kommt eine Katze vorbei und der Hund schnellt hoch.
162. Through the cat’s fast takeoff, he chases after her, far beyond the length of the chain, which up until now had constricted him. 162. Durch die Katze hochgehend, jagt er ihr nach, weit über die Kettenlänge hinaus, die ihn bis anhin eingeengt hat.
163. And, behold, suddenly he is overcome by a wondrous freedom - and he runs and runs. 163. Und siehe, plötzlich überfällt ihn eine wundersame Freiheit – und er rennt und rennt.
164. The prison of the hut and chain is suddenly gone and forgotten, and only freedom yet has possession of him. 164. Das Gefängnis der Hütte und Kette ist plötzlich verschwunden und vergessen, und nur noch die Freiheit hat Besitz von ihm.
165. It is exactly so with the human being. 165. Genau so ist es auch mit dem Menschen.
166. Because thousand year old traditions and false heresies have preached to him/her of false gods, he/she no longer knows his or herself. 166. Weil jahrtausendealte falsche Überlieferungen und Irrlehren ihm falsche Götter gepredigt haben, kennt er sein Selbst nicht mehr.
167. Just as he/she also knows nothing more about the powers and capabilities which are lying within him/her and are suppressed. 167. So weiße er aber auch nichts mehr von den Kräften und Möglichkeiten, die in ihm liegen und unterdrückt werden.
168. The consciousness and the whole mentality block with the psyche of the human being are captive to only catching sight of faint glimmers of the true light. 168. Das Bewusstsein und der ganze Mentalblock mit der Psyche des Menschen sind Gefangene nur einen schwachen Schimmer des wahrheitlichen Lichtes zu erblicken.
169. With certainly the day will come when the human being in his/her thoughts and feelings ventures a little further than usual, and then yet a little further and further. 169. Mit Sicherheit kommt aber der Tag, an dem der Mensch sich in seinen Gedanken und Gefühlen etwas weiter vorwagt als gewöhnlich, und dann noch ein bisschen weiter und weiter.
170. Then the inner light begins to gleam in him/her, and he/she catches, in the moment, only a small and fleeting glimpse of his/her true inner nature. 170. Dann glänzt in ihm das innere Licht auf, und er erhascht vorerst nur einen kleinen und flüchtigen Blick seines wahrlichen Wesens.

As Billy states in line 158: “ …but since he has lived for so many years with the consciousness of a prisoner, he makes no attempt to realise his freedom and run away’’ applies equally to us. We have been unknowing prisoners of our own lack of awareness, living so long with anxieties, fears, and imbalances out of our own device that we are not aware that we are not actually free.

We cannot escape, or run away as long as we think we have no power, or as long as we think we can simply take pills or go to therapy sessions. No matter where we go, whom we are with, what job we do and how much money we make, we take our psychosis with us. The unprecedented consumption of psychiatric drugs attests to the degree of blindness existing as to the root cause of our largely self-created malaise.

It is impossible to grow towards inward understanding and self-knowledge by only applying outward/ material-world efforts to do so! Such efforts give only short-lived false relief until our inward anxieties and unbalanced-beingness rears up again.

In order to really be free we must be both aware of and utilise our innate powers and abilities. These powers and abilities are not usually called upon as we generally are not made aware of them, and are expected to travel our lives in the narrow constricts of societal expectations wrought by keeping our consciousness based on a materialistic/ sensory trajectory.

However, these constricts that we buy into are indeed the shackles that bind us.

As Billy says, indeed the day will come when the inner light within will start to become noticeable and our thoughts and feelings start to venture further afield and we start noticing that the world within us and indeed around us has so much more to offer and so much more to learn from.

In the long run the journey will inevitably take us much farther afield than the metaphorical little huts we lie in front of now. However, it’s going to take a lot more work than simply chasing a cat!!