What is Freedom?
If we think we know, we don’t.
Being free is being free of being occupied either by thoughts, or by mental vacancy. Picture a crowd marching along a road chanting, “Freedom! Freedom!” with others on the pavement staring at them. None of them are free. These are the two states in which people find themselves – occupied (taken over) or vacant (the state of not knowing).
Freedom is just being aware, just observing, where there is no observer.
This is ethereal, subtle being.
It’s surprising how little we are actually free throughout the day, even in meditation. We may get glimpses of freedom, and then we close down. The world in which we live wants it that way in order to keep us occupied or vacant, depending on our predisposition, our particular attitude. Why does the world want it that way? We are being programmed by control freaks to fit into a collective system 😀 Everyone wants to tell us how it is – and yes, I’m doing this now, but we have to identify the problem first, before we can solve it. 😀
The very idea of wanting to be free leads us in the opposite direction. Like enlightenment, we are already free – we are already enlightened – but we don’t notice this as we are usually occupied or vacant.
Freedom is conscious knowingness, without judgements that contaminate our mind. A situation (karma) is showing us something such as, “Sweep the floor.” No thoughts are needed, but we can either fall into vacancy, mindlessly doing the job, or we can be mindful and aware.
In the moment of falling into vacancy, merely be aware of this fact, and be released. When knowingness is present, not-knowing vanishes: that is the unity of the two truths of Buddhism. The same goes for being occupied, which is distinct from being one with a situation.
Freedom costs nothing. We cannot demand freedom – we are already free. If we think others are denying us freedom, we have given our power away. In freedom, we use whatever is present to bring the mind back to good order. Good order is just being kind to the floor, and to others. Conscious resistance is being neither occupied nor vacant.