Source: The Liberated Mind
Is there any such thing as total freedom? And of far more significance, are we aware that the very answering of this question is a form of bondage? That is, upon looking at this question does one see the fact that any movement of mind in a particular direction creates an illusion of arriving somewhere, in this case, arriving at an answer? Generally speaking, if the answer is: ‘yes, there is such a thing as total freedom’ then it is implied that I somehow know what that freedom is, what it looks like, or where it can be found. All implies a place in the mind where I am to arrive at an answer, a place of security, stability, knowing.
And if one were so convinced that they found the answer one would also be convinced that they could show others, teach others, bring others, convince others of this truth. This, of course, is nothing other than bondage, nothing other than the conditioned movement of mind, that of knowing, that of certainty, that of authority and enslavement to that authority. And if I say: ‘no there is not such a thing as total freedom’ then the question dies, the inquiry ends, and I am left with a purely mechanical life of habitual mind movements, psychological insecurity, and the consequences of such a marriage.
Of course, as we’ve said, which ever answer sways me I can convince myself of its truth and therefore attempt to convince others, defending this unconsciously manufactured truth as if it were an aspect of my very being, which inevitably leads to one or another forms of violence, seeing as my fixed position puts me in conflict with the opposite position, which is equally as fixed. So how about the perspective, the middle path, which says ‘there may be such a thing as total freedom but I do not know what it is’. All I know is that I am currently bound, i am currently not free. I’m bound by my body, its physical capabilities and limitations, I’m bound by the conditions of my life, my culture, my upbringing, my experiences, the power of my capacity for memory, the way my mind moves, my constitution, the period of time I live in, etc. I know that I am bound in these ways, and many, many others. So what? Where does this leave us?
Doesn’t it leave us with exactly what we presently are, and we therefore have the possibility of looking directly at what’s left, all that I am, all that I am currently aware of, looking at my current state of being bound? And in this alternative position of not knowing we all share an equal ability and understanding, don’t we? We are each bound and we can each share with one another the ways in which we are aware of being bound and how we experience that bondage. There is no longer an authority, inside or out. As we share in our common experience we learn to understand one another, our perspectives and how they bind us, our opinions and how they bind us, our conditions and how they bind us, etc. In this sharing there is no conflict between me and you because no one is trying to convince the other of anything, none of us are trying to manipulate the other or get them to change themselves, their perspective, or mind, because again, we are not pursuing an ‘answer’ nor are we convincing one another of a ‘correct’ or ‘superior’ position.
We are only collectively, passively watching the movement of mind as it clings to varying positions due to its particularly conditioned, momentarily relative, mental landscape. We are simply discovering, together, the limitations/boundaries/bondage of the mind and the lives we share, hence we are sharing in the experience of mind and body, and the limitations of each, as one body and one mind. We are sharing in observing, and discovering together, the accumulating movement of mind as it operates without distortion or resistance. And as this inquiry continues we share in the realization that we can, without compulsion or conflict, be aware of an ever widening understanding of the ways and means of our own bondage, the nature and movement of mind and body. And as this network of bondage comes into clearer and clearer view, as the interrelatedness of all matters of life, mind, and bondage to them, reveals itself, there is the possibility of discovering that this very seeing, this very observation, is the other, is total freedom.