“The right to free speech is more important
than the content of the speech.”
Life is meant to be lived from a happy state of being. We may think that to be responsible may cramp our style, but the responsibility is actually the path to freedom. Sometimes we may even be single; without any commitments to anyone; with no bondages; free to do what we want; dress the way we want and have a ‘get up and go’ attitude. Yet, I have seen that such people still experience certain subtle bondages in life which makes them feel trapped and paralysed.
We might think we are free because… we own a comfortable house; we have enough money in our bank account; or we live in a country that allows freedom of expression, which is no small thing nowadays! But is that really the full extent and measure of our freedom? And if we are so free then why is it that we are not happy? Shouldn’t people who are free be happy?
In many forms of meditation, there is the practice of going beyond the body and the consciousness of the body. Of course, the body confines us to time and space and has its limitations, but the body can be a big trap too. So, if we are to have a super-human experience that is beyond the limitations of matter, then we need to allow our consciousness to move away from the cage of this body.
It is all a question of balance and maintaining the health of the body, without being obsessed by our own physical costume or that of others. The ancient sages would spend their whole lives trying to attain such a stage of being ‘beyond’ the pull of the body, this is why they spent so much time in meditation and communing with Nature.
Another important point is that we are much more than the body. Everything about our life is associated with our name, clan, social class, gender, education, skills, accomplishments, religion, nationality, our assets and possessions, and more. Yet, all these are part of a temporary experience.
There is more to us than just the body and the brain, this is why we have seen so much expansion of scientific research into the area of the outer body and near-death experiences. Although the body is technically ‘dead’, there is still the existence of the being, who is watching whatever activities are going on below. As spiritual beings we are eternal lights, sometimes we call this consciousness, the being, soul, ruh, spirit or the atma.
When one goes in front of God, and in every faith there exists some concept of a meeting with our Maker, so to speak. Then how does one go? When our time is up we cannot take this body with us. We enter this world with nothing, and we will depart in the same way, and then there will just be our essence. A soul, naked, free from the trappings and frills of this body.
So, the first gross bondage that does not allow us to experience freedom is the wall of this body, and the second bondage is the subtle list of trappings of name and identity as mentioned above. All these trappings will determine our actions and the direction of our life. For example, if we were born into royalty, we will be bound to behave and conduct ourselves in a certain manner. There will be certain moral and social obligations expected of us. Basically, there will be a standard of behaviour that we should adhere to. We cannot just speak in any tone, or walk out onto the street to go to the supermarket. We have seen what happens when one is born into royalty and does not want to accept one’s fate or fortune.
So now let us come to the more subtle bondages which do not allow the soul to become free.