On this day of independence wouldn’t it be nice to be truly free?
Most of us are enslaved to lives that are run largely on autopilot by our mind. From the time you get up until the time you go to bed your mind is whirring with thoughts. Do this, do that. Go here, go there. Only in fleeting moments when our thoughts stop and we experience the present moment fully do we catch a glimpse of what it would be like to be truly free.
We live our lives this way because of conditioning and habit. Never in school are we taught to stop thinking, are we? No, school actually does the opposite! It motivates more thoughts, thinking, and identification of who you are with your mind. And do you know of a job where they pay you to not think? We work doing things largely based on what we know – the contents of our mind. So when you examine how life unfolds it’s easy to see why we come to believe that we are our mind.
IF WE ARE NOT OUR MIND, NOT OUR THOUGHTS, THEN WHO ARE WE?
The Buddha believed when we uncover the answer to this question all our suffering in life will cease, and we will be truly free. It sounds like one of those too-good-to-be-true infomercials, doesn’t it? But it wasn’t just the Buddha who pointed the way, most religious and spiritual traditions essentially provide paths to getting to the bottom of who we really are.
And this is where the rubber meets the road. No matter what path you choose, at some point you have to do the work. There are some who have spontaneous spiritual awakenings, but waiting around for the sky to part is not the best use of your time. Instead, the work is really learning to be in the present moment fully. No past, no future, just now. When the thoughts stop, answers come. But they come not as thought-answers, but instead as a widening of consciousness.
Today, on Independence Day, make a commitment to yourself to carve out time each day to work on being fully present in the now. Whether through meditation, prayer, yoga, being in nature, sitting on a park bench, or even watching fireworks…learn to be present and true freedom will come your way.