Love and Freedom
This morning I wrote to a truth-loving friend—who was intensely thinking-oriented—encouraging her to live a more “embodied” experience of non-duality:
Develop, or rather uncover, the ability to listen beyond name and form, reveal the substance-less substance of energetic peace beyond word and thought, the senses and body and nature a pathway, to nothingness of silence, beauty love, truth.
The art of living. Cannot be described or captured, only suggested by poetry, evoked within and in life play, celebration.
The first title for this article was “On Beyond Freedom” (after a day and night of the celebration of freedom—with truth lover friends online during the day, and on my own at night, as fireworks played out in every direction in the city I live in—and the national US holiday called “Independence Day”). However as more writing emerged the meditation became one on love as much as freedom. The fact is, you cannot truly have freedom without love, nor real love without freedom – the freedom of beingness.
Can you go beyond freedom? No – you can’t go beyond true freedom, that which is inherent to our ultimate reality. But you can go beyond concepts of freedom. You can go beyond human unhappiness. You can free yourself from human “love” – freedom and love being inseparable – which is not love if it’s just a set of arrangements, agreements, rules for exchange, conditional on getting what each wants. That is wanting of the separate person, not giving. And giving is love. There is no other in love, in real love.
Let’s face it, the word and concept of love have been abused and misused. For centuries we have been lost from love – if not millennia…
To be happy is to be a rebel. To not go along with the stream of fear and unhappiness of the herd. And by happiness is not meant pursuing pleasure, hedonism, being a party-happy animal, letting the mind and body run wild. Feel free to experiment with that, the bacchanalian way of life, and you will discover that the opposite inevitably results, as the pendulum of your state swings the other way, to misery. Likewise, in ordinary human “happiness”, there is a swing from pole to pole, as the rollercoaster of life goes up and down. The ups and downs of life, the vagaries of life… This is considered normal. But is it necessary? Is it natural? Is it truly in the nature of our true potential as beings appearing as human, but actually existing within Consciousness?
If what you consider to be real to be the body, then yes it’s normal and a consequence of how you see life.
You have heard it many times that true happiness, a peaceful happiness, is one that comes from “inside” not from mere pleasure. But how many really understand what that means – what a happiness with a ground in permanence, beyond the senses – actually is?
Most people want to go along with the pack, are afraid to stand alone. One needs a certain amount of pre-existing knowing that there is a power greater than you that is the background of everything already (and I don’t mean God, because what is that? Some magic power out there “beyond” somewhere? A super human being? There is no such thing) that supports and sustains the whole show. Otherwise you will not have the courage.
Looking back, the past (the seeming past) is predestined. But the future is open. However this is true only is if you are open. If you are merely going along with the past, it is not open.
You have to be willing to stand naked. To know nothing. To throw it all out. To start over, at every moment. In this sense, living is an art.
On Beyond Freedom
We celebrate “Independence Day”, yet political freedom is worthless without inner freedom. Imagine a pack of robots that were running programs from a home country overseas. Then they are infected with a new program in the new home country. The homeland program makes them rebel and declare their freedom. But they are still unconscious and being run by a program. Where is the freedom in that? It’s all false freedom.
In 1991 I wrote an essay where the first paragraph read:
“In what does true freedom these days consist? Is it what territory in which you can roam, what physical borders you are constrained by? Is it in what you can say, what you can publish? Is it in what kind of behavior you can engage in – social, sexual, political, artistic, economic…there are some restrictions on some of these things in this country. But what is really significant?”
I then went on to quote James Madison, one of the framers of the Constitution of the United States of America (where this body was then and is now currently living) – a “Founding Father” as they say – for a framework for political freedom. It is an idea for political freedom of a certain form, imperfect, yet effective in wisely recognizing the imperfections and limitations of human beings, and working within those constraints: the separation and balance of powers, the healthy dialogue and tensions of an educated public, a free press, and so forth. This framework’s backbone was the European philosophical Enlightenment as it’s intellectual and spiritual background, where minds and a culture freed itself as it were, from centuries of religious thinking that kept free inquiry in bondage to imposed concepts of hierarchy and control through fear, suppression and blind faith.
“The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.” ~ James Madison.
Back then I was very much absorbed in the high tech world, the knowledge world, post-big-university, and had started my own computer consulting business. I saw computers as “mind-machines”, yet also had doubts or concerns about the direction of technology and where it was leading, and if it would really lead to human freedom, or to new forms of slavery of the human mind and society. I was still in that mind-frame of science fiction I grew up loving, plus the philosophy studies I’d been enmeshed in at the university (and doing visual art and writing to help find some inner and expressive freedom, to know myself).
So I went on in the ’91 essay, starting with a cultural critique, and asking questions:
“I keep coming back to this. Just because we are comfortable, entertained, feel safe, not too lonely, feeling we are getting most of our basic needs met, are we really free? School should have been about free inquiry, learning, exploring, but it wasn’t. Work should have been about creativity, social and self utility and learning, but it wasn’t. But creating what, being useful toward what ends, learning what? What does it mean to be “on the cutting edge”? It means you don’t look for someone to tell you what to do. I’ve seen what it mean to be dealing with deep issues in relationships. What does it mean to be dealing with deep issues in work, to be making contact there, too? Making software for human beings, for human minds, going beyond ‘interface’? The advancement of the human spirit, a movement that can keep going, can be taken up after one is gone? One must have a clear vision and determination – so many people to detract you from your purpose. Is this a peculiarly Western preoccupation – the advancement of knowledge?”
I had not yet gotten more than an intuitive sense of what freedom was: glimpses of light I didn’t understand with the rational faculties. My mind was muddied, mixed up with reactions and emotions. And more fundamentally, there was no notion in anything I’d studied in academia or outside to point me beyond the brain as the seat of mind and consciousness or distinguish mind from consciousness. It’s interesting that it took so long to do that, to dig myself out from that pit. It’s also interesting that the freeing of oneself seems to go along with finding quantum levels higher degrees of happiness, harmoniousness, quiet (inner peace), and love of a impersonal nature.
Can there really be a definitive explanation of happiness (beyond merely a “happy body”, which doesn’t really exist) or true peace, or a path that is sure to lead there, or would work for anyone? No.
Why can’t there be a sure path to freedom, to inner freedom? Because it is unique to each being and their particular unfolding in Consciousness; because it is open and new, now, in the present, and this is all part of a grand game. If it were certain and sure and monolithic, then everyone would already be enlightened, the world would not be so “messed up”, as the path would have been applied centuries ago… and it would be a very boring planet indeed. God would be yawning at it’s blandness.
How do I trace that—this path, or a path, or “my story”—in any short way, or any meaningful way? How to talk about it that doesn’t involve more mind: that which we are trying to free ourselves from? History doesn’t really tell one much of use. But I still ask myself, how did I get here—to greater happiness and harmony from being down in the pits years ago—as if there were “a way”. It is an investigation of a question. The question will reveal it’s limits, and what it is meant to reveal (if anything).
So back to what I’d written in ’91: The statement “The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty” I now see as a limited statement of freedom. It all hinges on what one means by “knowledge” and “liberty”. Even in political terms they would be interpreted in nearly opposite ways by, for example a socialist versus a libertarian. They would start from very different philosophical assumptions.
However I would take the statements all the way, as far as I could, in my present understanding, and go beyond, way beyond the political sphere, the arena of human shenanigans and fist fights and arguments. I would take it high enough that it would be like the distant song of a bird, so pure and sweet and free and light that it has nothing to do with the ground war. Why not? This is a poetic way of saying, what is needed is another level, a transcendence if you will, of the level at which the question was asked.
Transcendence is a tricky thing to talk about though: it is at core an experience, and not a thing, not a thought. It transforms thought, but it’s origin is not from within thought. It is, as I and others have said many times, a vertical dimension that intercedes on the horizontal one (that is a metaphor of course).
Meanwhile, back on the ground, the bird in question observes much commotion on planet Earth. But, he is not disturbed in the least. It’s not that he doesn’t’ care, it’s that he understands it is the order of things, the nature of the planet he sees… he may even, in his compassion and harmlessness and love, drop a seed or two to help out…
He would see that there is nothing wrong with the ground war. That is all fun and games, enjoyable, or at least curious, to watch. Nothing to fear.
Is he escaping in his purity? Is he “bypassing“? No.
He would also say to hell with being pure. Purity is not of this world. It exists by itself, has nothing to do with changing anything, with doing something. It’s the existing background, tuned into itSelf: Beingness. Freestanding. Omniscient. Light of Consciousness… All meaningless words compared to what it Is.
So trying to trace a path is like saying you could get to the moon by building a ladder here on Earth and keep climbing. When in fact you are already the moon, being pointed there by the sunlight bouncing off it. The ladder gets left behind.
This song started playing in my head, just as I was finished writing the above:
Walking on The Moon, by The Police
I quote the relevant lines, with emphasis:
Some may say
I’m wishing my days away
And if it’s the price I pay
Tomorrow’s another day
I may as well play
Giant steps are what you take
Walking on the moon