Freedom Within the Known

Freedom Within the KnownWhen realization first takes place, there is a distinct separation that occurs between form and the formless. The formless wakes up out of identification with form and realizes once again what it is. Even though in truth one cannot separate out truth, or divide it up, as truth is one great whole, (just like when we separate out the egg yolk from the whites of an egg, the egg will always be an egg), the mind benefits from seeing the difference. What are we in truth without the formless being glued in identification to form?

The formless, or absolute, or awareness/consciousness, whatever name you wish to give it, when it realizes what it is apart from form and becomes self-aware, it sees that it is not stuck in identifying with content, that it is free of content. Content is one half of what God is, and the formless nature is the other half. Together they make up one great whole. Being aware of both at once is what is called realization. The mind has the capacity to hold the paradox of duality within it. The way that mind is trained to operate, is to divide and to see itself (including the body), as a separate entity. This of course is totally a valid part of being able to operate and survive. And there is nothing wrong per se with it. What hurts is the obvious suffering (the thoughts and feelings of feeling inadequate and unworthy), that come out of feeling separate.

Psychological suffering arises out of the minds ability to self-reflect which creates the sense of having a continuous loop of feeling like we are a separate being (an ‘I’), from our environment. Often of course, many of us wait until we are suffering tremendously from the experience of separation before we bother to take a good look at what the mechanism is behind suffering and wanting a solution. Spirituality when used in this way can be incredibly useful and even scientific to a degree. Scientific in the sense that by placing attention on the one who is looking, the one who is noticing rather than just on what is being seen, gives results. The result coming from the mind (which is consciousness), separating out its identification with form and seeing what it is in truth made of, that it is the space within which content rises and falls rather than the stuff itself. This is extremely liberating.

So first there is the turn within to the absolute nature of consciousness, to freedom from the known (taken from Krishnamurti’s book title), and then there is the return back into content, whereby content/form gets to be seen as the other half of the equation. In the return phase, the known gets to be seen for what it is, that it is God in form, that it is consciousness dancing, that it is love in action, and that it is the Self. And still it is such a great mystery! The understanding that is gained is not solely intellectual, and even though it can be called an understanding, it is really a knowing. The knowing arises out of true revelation, that what we call emptiness and fullness, the form and the formless, are all inextricably interwoven into One whole fabric of Being.

There is a wisdom of how this understanding is gained within consciousness, and often it seems that what comes first is the awakening out of the dream, the dream of imagining that we are a somebody, and that what we are lies outside of ourselves. The sticky nature of content needs to be un-glued in order to see correctly. Many traditions point to this and offer practices of how to see that we are in truth spirit, God, or the Self. What isn’t spoken about so much, in the old traditions, is the return phase, of the re-entry into form and the living embodiment of what that looks and feels like in the human. Consciousness keeps evolving in its own understanding of what it is, and we are that awareness forever waking up to itself and what it’s own capacity for self-awareness can bring. What gets to be seen in the end, is that freedom is inherent within all conditional states, that nothing is ever lost in the so-called dream, and that presence is contained and made up of all content.

Treasures of the Soul

Treasures of the SoulThere are so many collective agreements that we unconsciously fall into that limit the full possible expression of our livingness. One of which is the suppression of real Joy. I am not speaking about putting on the ‘happy face,’ which as you know, is the American way, but rather the glowing radiant-ness of a heart untamed and unleashed. The joy that a child feels with no veils layering over her face. Why is it that as we become adults, true joy and radiant aliveness feels like a threat to others? This also goes for sadness and grief. All the emotions that are felt in a pure and innocent way, and transmitted without hiding them seem to be difficult for most to swallow. Why is this?

Venturing a guess, I would say that pure emotions hold power. They transmit an internal condition that can be felt viscerally in the environment. Just like weather, they are hard to ignore. Strong emotions penetrate the defensive wall that we hold over our own hearts and minds keeping out unwanted repressed feelings, and penetrates the barrier that one has erected in order to protect oneself from feeling the pain (or joy), of others. Both pain and joy are two sides of a coin, both evoking visceral responses.

Whatever has been denied and repressed in oneself will be triggered by someone else’s naked honesty in allowing their authentic feelings to be revealed. Naked is scary stuff. And the interesting truth of it is that we also long for authenticity. An example of this is how much a walk in nature soothes and revitalizes the senses. Nature is consciousness in its most naked form. We are nature, but we have forgotten that we are just as free to reveal ourselves in such an open and raw way with no need to hide. Nature is what it is, animals and rocks, plants, the water, the sun, and the weather, all are simply what they are. We are as well. Centuries of beliefs have covered over our allowance of seeing and holding ourselves as natural beings. Revealing our inner reality is just as natural and wholesome a thing as the wind flitting through the trees is.

I am not speaking about unconscious spilling over into one’s environment, such as venting, blaming, or acting out behavior, without holding care for others. I am referring to the simple expression of the Self allowing itself to feel and to express feeling like the sun appearing in and out on a cloudy or sunny day. Here is the sun, now it is gone, here is some rain, and now some wind. How are you feeling? Taking responsibility for our feelings, owning them, and allowing them to reveal themselves in an unprotected way is a beautiful thing.

I can handle how you are feeling when I am allowing myself full rein to be in my own feeling allowance. When I give myself permission to be a conscious vessel of expression, I welcome others to do the same. So you are sad today? Can I meet you right where you are without wanting you to be anything other than you are? I am fine with you wanting to talk about it, and also fine with you wanting privacy. And now you are in joy, wow, maybe I am lifted up by your joyful expression, your love and appreciation for life, your passion emerging for music or for your work. Or maybe it triggers some sadness inside where I am not allowing myself to be in my joy. I am where I am, and the truth is, is that I am affected by how you are. We inter-penetrate each other all day long. I can go and take care of myself, taking time out when needed. I don’t need to be in your company witnessing your natural expression of being, except for when I feel to do so. We are empowered to take responsibility for ourselves, which gives full permission for expression to be free to flow.

Allowing ourselves to be inter-penetrated without defense (it happens anyway even with the defense), brings the full range of emotion and feeling out of the closet and into the light, helping to bring breath and space into the moment. Contracted breath, and held back feelings all help to perpetuate the feeling of separation. I am me, and you are you. Is this really true? What does the insistence of believing in this story bring us? Holding back and insisting on a line of delineation (which isn’t even true), between you and I, my feelings and yours, limits the possibility of living a life of full expression and openness.

When we learn to let go of what we have inherited and been taught to believe, that feelings are to be repressed and hidden from the world, and we allow ourselves to open up like a flower and naturally reveal our hidden treasures (because feelings are treasures from the soul), then we help give permission to others to do the same. It takes courage to be one’s natural self, and the world longs for authenticity. Even if it is a trigger for others, even if they turn away and experience shame and embarrassment for witnessing something naked, it is a gift that one is offering up when we shine like the sun, or cry like the rain.

And I understand firsthand the need for privacy, for sometimes being with oneself quietly and alone, grieving, curled up in a ball on the bed, and diving deep into feeling. I respect and honor this. There is a time and place for everything. What I am speaking to is the gradual (and at times not so gradual), unveiling of the naked heart where it allows all weather patterns to dance like mercury upon your beautiful and worn face. Face the sun and humanity just as you are, and by doing so, the gap of feeling separate from life, will close. And I have found that in actuality, many people are more open than we realize to witnessing pure feeling. Even with the collective turning away still running strong, there are so many of us who welcome and long for truth to show up and reveal its naked face.

~ Susanne Marie