In this article I want to briefly discuss freedom. Every single virtue, whether it is freedom, love, honor, or respect, when manifested in the dualistic universe, the material-mental plain, also harbors its shadow. There are no exceptions here. For this reason, humanity is addicted to concealment, lies, shame, and subterfuge. As Nietzsche famously noted:
Deception, flattering, lying, deluding, talking behind the back, putting up a false front, living in barrowed splendor, wearing a mask, hiding behind convention, playing a role for others and for oneself – in short, a continuous fluttering around the solitary flame of vanity – is so much the rule and the law among men that there is almost nothing which is less comprehensible than how honest and pure drive for truth could have arisen among them. They are deeply immersed in illusions and in the dream images; their eyes merely glide over the surface of things see “forms”.Friedrich Nietzsche, On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense
To the extent that we don’t want to face the shadow, is the same extent to which we want to brighten the light. This business demands a tremendous amount of energy and deliberation. To make matters worse, the more we hide the shadow, the more monstrous and hungrier it becomes. After all, the shadow aspect of who we are is an essential part of presence. And we don’t hide it “over there” or “under a tree”. We hide it in plain view, where only those who see these things, see it as clearly as the light of moon shines into the darkest corners. Suppression, shame, darkness, fear: all cascade into the bottom of the deep caves in which we hold the darkest of secrets, place where most would never even dare to venture.
In this form, all humans are severed from themselves. One aspect will be drawn to the excessive control, a consciousness that feeds of the illusion of knowledge and arrogance. The other aspect will remain in the dark, the place of discomfort, loneliness, isolation, emptiness. These experiences are uniquely modern experiences because they have been generated through the excessive abuse of Self and Whole, the lack of upkeep, and the proliferation of vermin. People do not practice any spiritual hygiene.
The most unfortunate thing about the false and toxic world we have created, based on a mutual agreement of the bloodlines to avoid and hide the dark places, is that most have lost touch with their innate creativity, the kundalini energy, which is designed to connect us to all things, in union and wholeness, as is our energy, when not bifurcated and dissected, one thing from other and another thing from that other. What we have essentially done is created ourselves into monsters, and we fear to go there, because our culture has not taught us how to master our energies. Instead, we are obsessed with success, money, and personal gratification, self-satisfaction and justification. In that obsession, we experience the prison of our own making. which is the projection of what we desire to seem, and truly can never be.
Even so, absolute freedom is still available to Self, which is the freedom that we already are at birth and death and all around them both. This is why the goal of Patanjali’s Yoga is to achieve freedom, which is only attained through mind transcendence, mind which ripples throughout all the physical experiences of our lives. Your mind is all you can see, and all of your physical reality is reflected back through that mind. When you transcend that mind, and learn to see what it is concealing, the good and bad, the polarities, the lies, then you achieve freedom from that drama, from the suffering, from the highs and the lows.
For the freedom that human beings speak about in politics and common discourse, is not freedom, nor is possible to achieve without an aspect of its shadow, namely, servitude. Human timelines have shown that people and governments spend a lot of energy in trying to control, limit or suffer such control and limitation. This is what most of us experience. There is no freedom there, really; just various degrees of movement and motion within limits – sometimes feeling more room, sometimes less; the ups and downs; the vacations and the office; the hike up the mountain; and the return to an apartment; more money that gives more possibilities; more possibilities that give you more trouble and suffering. The history of humanity is littered with attempts to find freedom. The reason for this great struggle is the nature of our perception, which is limited in all ways; while our desires and dreams long for more that we are capable of accomplishing. We are always having to choose one thing over the other, when we would really like both. We’d like to carry three jobs or more than three friends, but we don’t have the time or the energy. That contrast results in frustration, anger, and eventually cynicism and an accusation of idealism in the face of anything that seems similar to the dreams that many hold; some become greedy and resentful; some become forlorn and suffer great poverty. My eyes can only see so far. My ears can only hear from certain distance. And as we age, and the body grows older, these limitations become more pronounced. In a world where most people identify themselves as the physical body-mind which is always on its way towards death, it is no wonder that the desire for power and control can become quite violent and unreasonable. It seems that there is no other way to get control of the situation other than more control and limitation.
But, the degree to which we see ourselves as free from the freedom that the material world is trying to manifest, is the degree to which we know ourselves as Self, as a being who transcends physical and mental reality, and also presents, for lack of a better world, all that we will ever and could every need. To the degree that we feel powerless and unfree, victimized and helpless to the vicissitudes of life, is the degree to which we are absorbed into and clinging to the material world, inside a body that begins dying at birth. It’s a scary thing, this death and dying thing, and our culture today provides nothing in the way of working with it or truly understanding its role in our journey on earth. Instead, we have buried it, like we bury everything else, and hope that our flimsy costume will still fit us and look smart at the end of it all.