Life deals us many blows. Our first impulse is to repulse the injury we have been dealt with. To somehow make up and recover. With each blow, we think we lose something, a job, health, loved ones, money or mental equilibrium. What we don’t perhaps see is that with each insult, we have the opportunity to arm ourselves with the capability to end suffering. For that, it is imperative to learn that setbacks invariably point towards emancipation. With sorrow and suffering, if we can learn to value freedom beyond anything else, we always win. If we simply learn to value the object we have apparently lost, we never really recover. When we recognize the value of the will to be completely free, we move in the proper direction, loss and strife notwithstanding. Suffering never ceases and if the desire to be free is our goal, then each blow becomes a reminder that acquiring freedom is the only thing that matters. And as this realization grows, fear lessens and we welcome anything that comes our way. That itself is immensely helpful in reducing the distress that invariably arises in our lives.
As acquiring complete freedom becomes urgent, details become irrelevant. If we are clothed and fed and have shelter, that becomes enough. Each waking moment becomes a chance to shed the unnecessary weight and baggage that we accumulate thinking that they will bring lasting happiness or remove distress or fill just another gap that our mind conjures up. As the will for freedom grows stronger, we begin to cherish simplicity, mentally and physically. That extra money, or that better job starts to look less appealing and we become steadfast in refuting petty contrivances. With the aspiration to acquire the insight and the means that liberate, the seeds for continuous growth are firmly planted. Perhaps seeing that we do whatever we do with a manifest or unknown desire to eventually be able to overcome all limitations needs careful reflection. What is limiting? Is it the deficiency or the yearning? Yearning has to be understood. The wish to be free of limitations or perhaps reclaiming an original, primordial state of complete freedom is inherent in all of us and is much more than just another feeling. Perhaps we need to identify clearly that it is this desire that leads us to exercise our vocations, have relationships, learn new skills, achieve goals or gather experiences and be comforted. In this movement towards liberation, the process of struggle confuses us and we learn to think that it is these matters that are important and fulfillment becomes primary with the primeval desire for the reclamation of absolute freedom becoming the motive to survive. If we can survive, we have the opportunities to acquire freedom and that could be the genesis of both the need to survive and the yearning for comfort, happiness and fulfillment.
Simply put, we are born and live so that we can learn to and eventually reclaim a state of unlimited freedom and in the process of the inevitable movement in this direction, we misapprehend apparent complexity and our apparent needs as substantial. In learning that needs stem from the desire for freedom, we grow our ability to withstand what is inharmonious. If a state of absolute freedom is so central, why look for and be enamoured by what is temporarily satisfying? The gratification afforded by comfort, the amelioration of pain need not after all be sought. What likely needs focus is a deconstruction that allows us to do with very very little. Hence the importance of mental, physical and material simplicity. In a strange way, this line of thought gives a new meaning to suffering and to supposed happiness! And as we learn to get by with little, we revel in the moments of unembellished calm and joy that come our way. With the focus on the growth of insight and the process of deconstruction and simplification, these moments come more often and we slowly learn to not be perturbed by dissonant feelings, sensation or happenstance. Not because suffering is good, but because they can become potent sources of momentum in our journey towards complete freedom.