Freedom is living unencumbered. You are free to move easily among whatever things come along. You are soft, without the tension of doing, of anticipation; without the readiness to defend. Yet by some miracle, whatever comes toward you, however hard, from whatever direction, however abruptly, the body yields just the right amount. Balance is not interfered with.
There is no rigidity, no expectation, no fear. No resistance. Playing in the background of awareness, like a song, there is the steady but relaxed knowing that anything could happen at any moment. The prospect of this is not in the least troubling. Contentment is the same, whether you remain at rest or whether something comes at you, stirring you to fluid response. You are unchanged, deeply, by what happens.
Playing in the background is the steady but relaxed knowing that anything could happen at any moment. The prospect of this is not in the least troubling.
You want nothing. Why is this, after a lifetime of ravenous need? You still enjoy; you know what you prefer. But it’s all extra delight, that’s all. Why is this? If you look, you will see: you want nothing, in the old way, because — after years and decades of striving, longing, needing — you have realized you are everything. How could you possibly want? How could dissatisfaction get a toehold?
The self that needed things to be a certain way, that sought security and reassurance and meaning, no longer feels real to you. The familiar you seems like a two-dimensional drawing of life, of a person. You see how it was all the scribbling of the mind, scratching in the dark to establish a sense of importance. Trying to hold terror at bay — the dread of meaninglessness, of insufficiency. Helplessness.
How can it be that it’s all stopped mattering? Where did fear go? But when you look, you see: it isn’t that fear left, exactly, leaving you your same self, sans fear. No, it’s that the self capable of fear (and desire and shame and all the rest of it) came to be insubstantial. Like a mesh mantle in a lantern that holds its shape after you’ve burned it the first time, sufficient to hold flame many times after. But if, between episodes of burning, you touch the mantle, it dissolves into powder on your fingertip. It never was the solid thing it appeared to be.
We are like that. The sense of what a person is is just like that: powder.
What turns out to be real, the only substance you can hold on your tongue and get the sweet of, is the encounter with this moment. The sweet of it or the acrid, it’s the same. Alive aware sensate intelligence with life on the tongue, just now. That’s it. Ever and always. That’s what you are; that’s what you have. Period. Then the next thing comes along, and you’re there for it. You are it. Everything else is in the head. Memory, belief, story, grudge, hope.
When freedom takes you over, everything in the head has turned to powder and drifted away on the breeze. And you? You are really here. Finally! You’re perfectly still inside but are outwardly in motion, the expression of “you” changing moment to moment. Because life is that way. It always was like this. Only now, you know it.