Where does true freedom lay?
I used to think money leads to freedom. With enough money, I can buy or experience anything.
I used to think travelling leads to freedom. Come and go as I please, and roam freely.
I used to think that not having a boss leads to freedom. No one can tell me what to do you.
After experiencing each of these states, I discovered that Freedom is not in one or all of these three..
There was always something else present that prevented me from feeling free.
A very deep rooted discontent. There was always something else I needed to do. Always something to be unhappy about that takes away freedom.
What was the one thing that was always present no matter what I did? Me. My mind..my Ego (identifying with the mind).
Luckily, I've been on the path of meditation for years throughout these experiences.
Slowly but surely, the first hand experienced of true freedom through meditation started accumulating.
This feeling of being in a peace, awake, yet not yearning for anything else in that moment. No constant chatter running around my mind. Quiet.
Some days it was profound, others I could barely sense it through all the thoughts and emotions I was unstressing.
And after enough months and years, it became crystal clear.
Our mind is the biggest obstacle to being truely free.
This means that instead of looking for freedom "out there" --> money, success, travel, that person, that relationship...it all begins "in here". In this little box and voice we carry around with us everywhere we go.
An amazing proof for this are the Sadus of India.
Sadus are spiritaul devotees that have abandoned their prior lives, families, jobs, and roam the land with no posessions.
Many of the Sadus experience joy and exstasy we can't even imagen.
How come then, these "beggers" or "homeless" as we would label them in the Western world, have nothing to their name yet experience much more freedom and joy than we do?
It is a proof that the things we are truely after are internal, and not external.
Does this mean we all need to become wandering mystics, or renounce our possesions and become monks?
Not at all. We each have our own journey. In many traditions it is said that if you haven't felt a deep desire to be a monk from childhood, that path isn't for you. Like most Westerners, your path is likely to be a house holder.
Go to work, live in a house, be in a relationship, create a family perhaps..those are very much needed for our world.
Being a house holder however, doesn't mean you can't feel true freedom and joy.
In fact, Buddha was a house holder. Some of the greatest spiritual teachers of the last century have been house holders (Ekhart Tolle, Maherishi Mahesh Yogi, S.N Goenka and more).
It just means that we are much more likely to find the peace and joy we truely desire inside of ourselves (being), versus out there in the world (doing).
This is great news.
It means that we don't have to wait for something to happen.
We don't need to get that dream job, or become wealthy.
We don't need to find the love of our life.
We don't need to to be on that dream trip.
Freedom and joy are accessible for us here and now.
They have been here all along, hiding in plain sight, inside of us.
So please, liberate yourself.
Because no one else can do it for you.