There are many definitions of freedom but for the purposes of this project our definition will be freedom from body and mind. If I am not the body and not the mind, what am I. And how can I tell? Because I choose what I am, once free of the ideas of the body and the mind, I am free to be something else.
The journey to freedom is full of degrees of freedom that feel like arrival but are really just stops along the way. Yet each degree provides some benefits. For example, leaving higher level needs behind such as the need for recognition, praise, belonging, etc reduces fear and means we can jump off the hamster wheel. We no longer need to work so hard to keep meeting those needs, we can just let them go.
But of course letting them go means we have to be willing to give up the possibility of experiencing pride in our achievements, we will no longer have the experience of feeling skilled, special, accomplished etc. Such things are artefacts of the cause and effect world. In this world our actions cause things to happen. If those things are good we congratulate ourselves. To let go of the self allows us to conceive of another language of reality.
Currently the way we make sense of the world is by mapping out causes. We have physical rules that explain the causes and the effects. We also have theories and philosophies that explain how individuals and groups work. All of them have a basic language. When we observe something to understand it’s meaning we look back in time to see its cause. Then we look forward to predict its effect. Everything, ideas, theories or hypothesis we collect creates a framework for us to move around the world.
We ignore the fact that we also know that everything in the perceivable world is made up of molecules including the air we breath. So in fact even though we perceive many differentiated objects in our world there is really only a sea of molecules. What creates the world is our perception systems, our senses. In a very real way we create our world and ourselves. We create inside a “container” that has all the templates (DNA, traditions, culture, etc). Then we forget we are one thing and feel our separateness from other objects and people in the world.
So in many ways freedom is the wrong word. Perhaps better is “realisation” we can realise our true nature. Or can we? Our true nature must be beyond the perceivable world, which means we have no access currently to or sense that can explain what that is. If we think we feel our true nature it is only it’s reflecting in perceivable world, like looking in a mirror we can see its likeness but not it. Emptiness or no-thing-ness is what spiritual teachings call it. They usually caution that if you think you can describe it or know what it is, that isn’t it. In fact, it is easier to say what it is not than what it is. Not very helpful and without personal exploration it sounds like rubbish and pointless waste of time.
Perhaps the benefits of exploring liberation earnestly (as Nisgaradatta advised) is that the first thing that happens when we let go of our identity, is that we can immediately see it as something we have constructed and so we can destroy without fear. Once we have let go of our constructed image we are free to explore very different ways of being, we let go of ourselves and all the “rules” as well. Except gravity that is really useful, unless you want to fly of course.
If we get to define the rules what could we think up that would change the perceivable world to something even more wonderful? What intention makes sense?
This seems to be a good question to pursue and so we shall in our joy journey.