In our Byron Katie inquiry group tonight, someone asked about freedom – what does that mean to us? Most of us, me included, didn’t really know. It is one of those nebulous terms, and abstraction it seems difficult to pin down.
Here is what came up for me (and what I didn’t share with the group as this smacks of analysis and intellectualizing, which is true)…
First, there is little sense of freedom. I am trapped in beliefs, trapped in an exclusive identity, trapped in identification with something finite, and object in the world, in an exclusive I – Other dynamic. Trapped in narrowness, confinement, being impinged upon by innumerable and unpredictable objects. In short, I resist what is, in innumerable ways. There is my will, in opposition to the will of the world. There is a sense of separation with others, myself, existence. Any sense of freedom here comes in the (apparent) resistance of what is, in trying to get around it, work with it, trick it, manipulate it, make it conform to my will.
Then, as we see through these beliefs, there is a sense of liberation from these beliefs. I am not trapped by them anymore. Even the idea of I, as a segment of what is, falls away. The resistance to what is drops. There is no separation between my will and the will of the world. There is intimacy with others, myself, existence.
Freedom in no freedom
And after that liberation, I may see that there is no freedom even there. It is all the will of the world. Everything has infinite causes and infinite effects. It is all the movements within a seamless whole, beyond and including all polarities. There is no separate doer as a segment within all of this. It all just happens.
So there is first a sense of no freedom, of being trapped, at the mercy of existence, a leaf in the storm. Then, a sense of freedom from beliefs and of intimacy with all there is. Then, a freedom in no freedom, in dropping any resistance to even absence of freedom.
The two later ones are very similar to each other, two aspects of the same in a way, although they noticing of the two may appear at different times. The third is a deepening of the second.