True Freedom

True freedom comes from letting go of resistance. When you stop trying to control everything and just let go, that’s when freedom is found.

In one sense, we have to give up everything – because “everything” really comes down to all the ways in which we’re trying to control things. Our desires, our beliefs, our opinions of how things should be, even our concepts and our sense of a personal self – these are all ways of trying to control our reality. But the truth is, we’re not in control, and we never have been. Everything is connected, and because of that, everything happens in exactly the way it needs to – the only way it can happen. All we can do is go along for the ride. Whether we enjoy the ride or get dragged along depends on how much we’re trying to control things.

Resistance creates tension, and not just in our muscles but also in our mind and emotions. It’s all connected. Relax all of the tension in the muscles in your forehead and you’ll notice the level of thinking activity will drop. Relax muscles throughout the face, neck and shoulders, and you’ll feel a release of emotional tension. And it goes the other way too. Rigid thinking and repressed emotions can create tensions and blockages in the body and can eventually lead to illness or disease. This isn’t a theory. You can easily observe this in yourself if you pay attention.

Stop focusing on the STORY of your life that’s constantly playing inside your head, pulling you back and forth between past and future – and start focusing on the LIVING of your life, which is always occurring right here, right now. The STORY part always has something to complain about. The LIVING part simply IS. Not seeing anything as separate from anything else, complaints lose all meaning and drop away.

 

The Voice In Your Head Is Not You

The voice in your head is not you. It’s just a voice in your head! It’s just the brain doing what it does best. “You”, if we wish to call it that, are the silent awareness that is aware of the voice in your head. Don’t worry about all the crazy things that voice says. Just think of it like a crazy uncle who lives up in your attic, constantly mumbling all kinds of nonsense. It’s okay – it’s not you. It’s just your brain.

Pay attention to the fact that you can become aware of this voice in your head as it is going on, without getting drawn into it. Remain as a detached observer, and let the mind do what it does. Over time, you will find that it settles down on its own. The energy we put into trying to stop mental activity only creates more! Once we stop fighting with the mind and just start to watch it, there is a natural tendency for it to become more calm, with frequent periods of quiet, thoughtless awareness. These moments are tremendously special and valuable.

Awakening to the Truth of What Is

We live in a sort of dream world, created by our constant thinking activity. We have been doing this for so long, we have come to accept our thinking as reality, not realizing that reality is passing us by as we continue to dream. We don’t see this predicament we’re in because everyone around us is operating the same way.

In our youth, we were filled by those around us with ideas, opinions, and beliefs. Over time, we began to develop a sense of personal identity from this collection of thoughts. Since then, we have been immersed in a world that continually reinforces this mental sense of self – parents, teachers, friends, TV, movies, etc. are constantly supporting our sense of personal identity. Whenever we have the thought of “I” (which is our most frequent thought), a huge collection of other thoughts, beliefs, preferences, and fears arise from association.

As a result, we feel as if there is an actual “somebody” inside of us who is having these thoughts. But is there? Look closely. Don’t try to think about it or analyze it – just look at what is actually there inside, right now. When there is no thought activity, can you find any separate self? It is the movement of thinking itself that creates the sense of an “I”. We sustain this sense of self by keeping the movement of thought going continuously, day and night.

If you can allow the mind to become still, even for a few seconds, you will see that there is undeniably something still there. There is consciousness, there is aliveness. But there is no separate, personal self to be found.

The difficulty in this process is that, when we first attempt to look within, it is the mind that does the looking, and this cannot yield any meaningful results. We are so accustomed to focusing on the mind that, even if a rare moment of mental stillness occurs, we miss it entirely – much like when we look at a night sky and see only the stars, without being aware of all the space between those stars. Just like our attention is drawn to objects without being aware of the space that holds those objects, our attention is likewise drawn to thoughts without being aware of the silence that holds those thoughts.

When we look within, we tend to look for a “something” – but the reality of what we are is not an object to be found. It has no shape, no form, no qualities. It cannot be labeled or defined in any way. And yet, it is here right now. It is what we are, right at this very moment.

 

Meditation

True meditation is simply being present, in the here and now, completely open to all that IS. No effort. No concentration. No technique. Simply being, seeing, and allowing.

If thoughts arise, let them arise. Don’t pursue them. If emotions arise, let them arise. Don’t resist them.

Like riding a bicycle, our thoughts and emotions have momentum. When we stop pedaling the bicycle, it does not immediately come to a stop. When we stop putting energy into the mind, it will take some time to settle into stillness.

Awareness and acceptance is all that is needed. The rest happens naturally.

Notice the movements of thoughts. Notice the gaps when thoughts subside, which may only be for brief moments at first. Notice that there is no sense of “I” in those gaps. The “I-sense” requires thinking to exist. In the moments when thinking has stopped, even momentarily, notice that there is still presence, there is still aliveness, but there is no sense of a personal self. In the gaps between thoughts, what remains is the real truth. Without thoughts, there is no this and no that, no here and no there, no inside and no outside – no divisions of any kind.

It takes practice for this way of being to move beyond momentary glimpses and to permeate our everyday life. Be patient. Keep it simple. Don’t expect miracles. Just continue noticing the presence, the aliveness that is here, looking out through your eyes. Each moment of noticing helps to bring about a gradual transformation, and the effect is cumulative.

What We Think vs. What IS

Real truth does exist. We will never have complete and lasting fulfillment until we recognize this truth for ourselves.

On the one hand, there is what we think. On the other hand, there is what IS. What we think is not real – it is just thoughts. But we mistake our thoughts about reality for reality. Reality, or truth, is what actually IS, right now, in this moment. But we are almost never aware of what is occurring in this moment because our attention is focused in our thinking activity.

Most of our thinking is about past or future. Past and future do not exist outside of the mind. The past is only a collection of memories. The future is only an educated guess, projected based upon our past memories. Only NOW is real. Everything that is real happens in the now.

If we want to discover the ultimate truth, the truth of our own being, the truth of all existence, then we only need to shift our attention away from thinking and into the actual present moment. To recognize this truth, we need to drop all of our expectations about what we will see or experience. Drop any ideas about truth or enlightenment, and just see what is already here right now.

It is not possible to know the ultimate truth. But you can be the ultimate truth. When you rest in the present moment, in the reality of what actually IS, right now, any sense of self or separateness dissolves, and the truth shines forth naturally.

No effort will get you there. It is a letting go of all effort that is required. Stop looking for anything other than what is already here, now. Drop all expectations. Be what you already are.