The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.
If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.
Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every man present his views without penalty there must be a spirit of tolerance in the entire population.
I tell my students, “When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.”
Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything—anger, anxiety, or possessions—we cannot be free.
~Thich Nhat Hanh
There is a need to find and sing our own song, to stretch our limbs and shake them in a dance so wild that nothing can roost there, that stirs the yearning for solitary voyage.
~Barbara Lazear Ascher
For more quotes about freedom: http://pathwriter.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/quotes-for-the-4th/
All the stress that we feel is caused by arguing with what is.
~Byron Katie, Loving What Is
I guess it’s time.
I’ve known it for a while, at least on an unconscious level. I’ve resisted it for several reasons, including this one: I’m just plain exhausted from jumping off proverbial cliffs…especially when they land me in places that end up being a struggle, which has been the case more often than not the last few years.
Nevertheless, here I am, preparing for another big leap. After digging in my heels for a couple of years now and resisting what I knew to be true deep in my heart, I finally came a place of surrender (“Uncle, already!”) a couple of weeks ago. I finally accepted what my inner being and the Universe (or my inner being through the Universe) have been trying to tell me for quite a while. Even though I know the big picture of where I’m headed, I haven’t a clue about the steps that will take me there, but I’m letting go of the wheel, so to speak. Kind of scary, but a relief, too.
I’ve spent a lot of energy these few last years trying to will things to happen, to will my path to open, to will my next steps to reveal themselves. However, in moments of calm, I remember—I know—this doesn’t work. The times when my life worked best were the times when I thought about what I wanted, kept my eyes open for opportunities, and then allowed those things to flow my way.
If this all sounds a little “woo-woo” to you, Continue reading
I envy the tree,
how it reaches
but never holds.
Things that matter come and go, but being touched and feeling life move on, we tend to cling and hold on, not wanting anything to change. Of course, this fails and things do change. Often, we are stubborn enough to go after what we think is leaving, trying to manipulate and control the flow of life. Of course, this fails, too.
We can’t stop life from flowing. So we are left with feeling what was and what is, and we call the difference loss. But all the clinging and holding on only makes it worse. Now, new things come, and some of us anticipate the loss and just let the things of life go by without feeling them at all.
I have done all these things, but when clear enough and open enough, I try to let things in, to let things touch me. I try not to poke and pull at them as they move through. It doesn’t eliminate loss, but when trusting enough to let this happen, I am tuned like a harp held up to wind.
- Sit quietly, and bring to mind a feeling you’ve tried to hold onto.
- Breathe evenly, and bring to mind a feeling you’ve cut off.
- Breathe slowly, and bring to mind something you are feeling deeply right now, and try to allow it in without interfering with its presence.
~Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening
It’s not impermanence, per se, or even knowing we’re going to die, that is the cause of our suffering, the Buddha taught. Rather, it’s our resistance to the fundamental uncertainty of our situation. Our discomfort arises from all of our efforts to put ground under our feet, to realize our dream of constant okayness. When we resist change, it’s called suffering. But when we can completely let go and not struggle against it, when we can embrace the groundlessness of our situation and relax into its dynamic quality, that’s called enlightenment, or awakening to our true nature, to our fundamental goodness. Another word for that is freedom—freedom from struggling against the fundamental ambiguity of being human.
~Pema Chodron, Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change
Waiting is one of the great arts.
Until recently, I’ve shared T. S. Eliot’s approach to waiting. “Hurry up please it’s time.” But it never is time for the waiting to be over, until it’s time. No matter how much wringing of the hands, crying, begging, or bargaining we do, the waiting will continue until it’s damn good and ready, which is rarely soon enough.
It’s been my excruciating experience—over and over—that the torture of waiting only ceases after you’re no longer consciously aware that you’re waiting. You stop jumping every time the phone rings, stop checking your e-mail every half hour, stop pacing up and down until the post arrives. Exhausted, you loosen your grip on the situation. Why? Because you’ve given up, that’s why. Lost hope. Let go. Licked your wounds and moved on. Call it what you will, you’ve detached yourself from the final outcome, as the enlightened would say. But what malarkey that sounds like when you’re driven half mad with desire. Continue reading
When we stop struggling,
When first learning how to swim, I didn’t trust the deep. No matter how many assuring voices I heard from the shore, I strained and flapped to keep my chin above the surface. It exhausted me, and only when exhausted did I relax enough to immerse myself to the point that I could feel the cradle of the deep keep me afloat.
I’ve come to understand that this is the struggle we all replay between doubt and faith. When thrust into any situation over our head, our reflex is to fight with all our might the terrible feeling that we are sinking. Yet the more we resist, the more we feel our own weight and wear ourselves out.
At time like this, I remember learning to float. Continue reading
Holding on is believing that there’s only a past, letting go is knowing that there’s a future.
~Daphne Rose Kingma
It is when all our somethings are collapsing that we may finally turn to nothing, and find there everything we need.
A thousand half-loves must be forsaken to take one whole heart home.