Keys to Freedom

In order to understand keys TO Freedom, first we have to understand a little bit about what freedom is.

When you boil down what it is people are seeking in their life, the bottom line would end up being happiness or freedom. Why?  Because Freedom generally entails "Freedom FROM....."  So, people don't really want to be happy, as much as they want to be free from sorrow. They don't want to be healthy as much as they want to be free from sickness and pain. They don't want a lover as much as they want freedom from loneliness, and so on and so on.

So what is it that prevents this freedom?  Identification with what is not True or Real.  Everyone assumes that they can achieve happiness (i.e. freedom) in their present situation, without even knowing exactly what that situation is.

Who are You?  
(For the first answer to this, you might want to read the "Right Now" Tab above)

When you remove all untrue answers to the question "Who am I?" you come to the Direct Experience or Recognition of being Pure Awareness or Consciousness without bounds.  However, this takes some doing. And let's explain, first, how the mis-identification causes the suffering which initially prompted the search for freedom.

An Analogy

Imagine that you are watching television. (Or better yet, you are immersed in a virtual reality avatar type of scenario.)  Now as you watch these activities, which in the case of the television are all already scripted out, you come to identify with the activities of a given character, a specific Persona or Personality on the screen - in this case the one through whose eyes you appear to be looking. You identify with them so deeply that even as you watch you identify as being EVERYTHING that arises for that character - their body, their thoughts, their emotions, their memories, their habits, their concepts of good and bad, etc.  To you, you ARE that character.  You totally forget, TOTALLY FORGET, that you are not that character, but somebody watching and identifying with that character. And again, because everything about that characters life has been written out in a script, when things are 'good' for the character, you think you're happy, and when things are 'bad' for the character, you think you are sad, or in pain, or whatever.  But you are simply watching it and identifying with it.

What is the Guru?

The Guru or teacher or Truth, is that which comes into the living room, sees you staring dumbly at the TV and shakes you around and says, "Hey, Hey!!  Come back to reality!  You are identifying with something that isn't real," and you shake your own head for a moment,  "Yada yada yada!!! Hey, wow, thanks," and for a moment you see that you were living in a dream.  Unfortunately, the TV is still on, and chances are you'll tend to go, "Okay, I'll just kind of peek over there and check it out and .....Z z z z z z z z z z.".

So, again, the teacher comes along, slaps you upside the head, and we repeat the above, numerous times, until you get the idea and quit watching the TV, OR have become so established in the True Recognition of who you really are as  the Absolute Awareness, that nothing that arises within that Awareness can too deeply affect you.

Unfortunately, the principle of the teacher or guru isn't real popular these days, because, by their nature, they are meant to dis-illusion you - in other words strangle your 'buzz' that you are having a good time. From the dream world itself, they appear as the guru and say, "Who are you really? Not all this stuff going on. You're the one watching it."  And from the level of reality, of Awareness, they appear sort of like someone standing between you and the television blocking your view, calling you back.  In either case, the identified persona is like, "Hey. I'm WATCHIN this here!"  Even when you've had the glimpse, because we are so identified with the show, we decide we can fix the show - make it happy and 'spiritual'.  This is the equivalent of making a prison cell pretty and nice. Gild the bars, a few fluff pillows, some incense and mood, and wow, you've got a real nice  prison cell here - a wonderful illusion. But it's STILL AN ILLUSION. You're still watching a dream.

The other difficulty is that it's easy to fool yourself into thinking you know it all because the dream character has had a little glimpse of Truth. It's a little like clearing the scum away on the pond so there's a brief experience of clarity. But the scum just comes right back if you don't keep at it 100% of the time. Again, that is the principle of the teacher. They are there to remind you to keep coming back. Generally, they have also been down this road and can see where you CAN'T see, where you're getting re-identified on some subtle (or not so subtle) level.  And the difficulty today is that people tend to be SO narcissistic and have so much entitlement, they think they can do it alone. It's a litle like thinking, "Okay, I've read a couple of books about brain surgery, and I have a brain. Hell, who needs a licensed qualified, 30 years in the field brain surgeon? I'll just operate on my own brain."  Or as they say in Law, "The person who acts as his own attorney has a fool for a client!" 

So, What are the Keys?

First and foremost, everything can be summed up in the following Vedic verse:

smartavyah satatam vishnur vishmartavyo na jatucit
sarva viddhi nishedha syur etayor eva kinkarah

"Always remember Vishnu (God/Self/Absolute) and never forget Him.  All of the various rules and regulartions are the servants of these two."

In other words, it's almost not so much about WHAT you do as HOW MUCH you do it. For instance, Ramana Maharshi, who is most well known for the question "Who Am I?"  said, "If the time spent thinking about objects NOT the Self, were spent inquiring into the Self, Self realization would be recognized in a very short time." (May not be an exact quote, but close enough).  Nisargadatta Maharaj was told by his guru to simply abide as "I AM" always. He did this and three years later woke up.

May traditions advocate the CONSTANT chanting of God's name, keeping one's mind, consciousness AND tongue constantly engaged or pointed toward the Divine.

More to Come.....