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Freedom to, not freedom from

Posted Jun 24 2008 5:07pm
This is a beautiful quote from a lecture given by Adyashanti (a spiritual teacher in the Bay Area), a response to a question about spiritual practice and enlightenment, which applies equally to the process of psychotherapy and what actually happens in successful psychotherapy. With a history of depression and anxiety, of feeling at the mercy of these moods, you naturally want control. But, as Adyashanti says here, it's not invulnerability that is attained, but an exquisite openness of being.

[There is] this myth that I can rest in some assuredness, that I will never again feel insecure, or feel fear, or feel doubt, or feel those emotions we don't want to feel—if I'm truly enlightened, I will never feel those emotions. Forget it. That's not it. That's the pipe dream, that's the opium that's sold to the masses. And they eat it up and they never get there and they end up disillusioned. That's not how it works.

Freedom is never freedom from. If freedom is freedomfromanything, it's not freedom at all. It's freedomto.

Are you free enough to be afraid? Are you free enough to feel insecure? Are you free enough not to know? You see what I mean? Are you free enough to know that you can't know? Are you free enough to be totally comfortable knowing that you can't know what's around the next corner, how you will feel about it, how you will respond to it, that you literally can't know. Are you free enough to be totally at ease and comfort with the way things actually are? That's freedom. The other thing is the ego'sideaof freedom.

(Resources: two other Buddha and the Couch posts,hereandhere; Adyashanti'sweb site; the audio clip of this quote, titled "What Freedom Really Is,"here)
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