Freedom doesn't go anywhere. It didn't suddenly appear when you were born, and it doesn't disappear when you die. Freedom is the truth of life. Freedom is who you are. ... If you can cross this line into conscious self-recognition, then everything that arises does so only to deepen it. Then the rest of your lifetime is lived in recognition and in the celebration and sharing of it.
Gangaji. "Crossing the Line into Freedom." In the Diamond in your Pocket.
* * *
He ~ may have been a she, the little critter, but we will use he ~ would not let go, hanging to the window. We will call him little fella. Little fella looked somewhat like a huge mosquito, but was not. Driving down the road, little fella I discovered in the cab of my truck. He was to my left, sitting. Then, missing. Then, on the front windshield to my right. He kept moving about, after I had tried to invite him out by letting the windows down. This had not worked. I decided, with ambivalence, to let him ride with me. I, generally, do not like little critters riding with me, for they can be unpredictable little species ~ like, ending up on me suddenly and scaring the heck out of me.
Engaging the inner debate led to three options. First, let little fella be and get him out after the hour trip. Second, try to get little fella flown out by the wind now, hoping he survived. Third, stop and help little fella out and now, do not wait, do not let him be swept out by a torrent of merciless wind.
While I engaged in the mental dialogue, I saw little fella reappear, after going hidden for a time. He was on the passenger window, and I let it down, to let the wind sail him out. Then, astonished, I looked: little fella was hanging on the outside of the window, a front leg clinging to the top of the window. So, almost all outside, part of a leg inside. He kept hanging on, while I drove about 55 miles an hour on the interstate. I would have been driving faster, but I was trying to manage this life-and-death dilemma, with little fella and me stuck together at the center of the evolving narrative.
All this time with little fella, I kept remembering little fella was a living, sentient being. I realized helping him out, in a safe way, might be more true to my spiritual practice of compassion. After all, I recalled, I do pray The Metta, in Pali meaning Unconditioned and Unconditional Kindness, Prayer daily, that friendly well-wishing for all sentient beings, all sentient beings, not some, not just homo sapiens. So, that, to me, included little fella, even if he did not have a brain and nervous system as complex as mine. I, also, sensed little fella wanted much to live ~ literally, now, he seemed intent on clinging to life. He was not ready to rest in peace, no, not little fella.
Now, the Prayer would go something like this, if particularized for little fella, as he clung for dear life to the window...
May little fella be happy
May little fella be peaceful
May little fella be well
May little fella be safe
May little fella be free from suffering
And little fella did not seem to be any of these things. He simply seemed desperate.
So, despite not wanting to pull over on such a busy interstate, I decided to stop and help little fella out into freedom, safely. I pulled over and little fella let go and flew like a rocket toward the woods. I felt his happiness ~ well, truly, I sensed that, and, then, decided it must be a huge projection onto the little critter. Regardless, there was happiness, and relief. Little fella was safe.
Riding onward, some contemplation on little fella and his new-found flight to freedom rolled about in the brain. It occurred to me I was well-acquainted with the plight of little fella, as is so many. He wanted out, for sure, but he could find no way out, regardless of encouragement. Then, he ended up on the threshold of out and in, or in and out, either way works. He clung on. With a little more help, feeling it now safe, or at least more safe, he let go and flew away freely into freedom.
* * *
Our spiritual evolution is much like that. Awakening begins with a sense of being stuck in samsara, or sin, or call it something else ~ we just know something down-deep is not right and we want a life free of the past. We know pleasure does not last and end up haunted by a pervasive sense of dissatisfaction. We are tired of the temporary highs. We find the conventional solutions do not work ~ overwork, prescribed or not drugs, more sex and maybe with more partners, increased religiosity or changing our religion, pilgrimage from one spiritual practice to another and all offering final liberation... ~. We spend time flying about, trying to get out, or in. Nothing works, even if temporally. Temporal releief from a pervasive discontent is not enough for us, and we are set on something more. Thankfully, we do not give up. If fortunate, we are blessed to get to a point of blessed desperation, hanging on for dear life. Finally, we let go into a new habitat, our natural habitat. A joyful release! However, letting go may not point well to what happened, possibly, it felt more like being dragged kicking and screaming. Life dragging us into Life. Still, joyful release.
What, likewise, occurred to me was the role I played to assist little fella in flight to freedom. I rejoiced to see him fly free ~ you know, when you truly love someone, you rejoice to see them fly free, even if they fly in a different direction than you would have or would have preferred for him or her. And you are glad to be an inspiration for him or her to grow into freedom. Love is like that.
Now, I can recall persons who have assisted me along the spiritual trek. They loved me enough to encourage me not to give up. They reminded me of who I am, when I could not see who I am. They affirmed the potential in me to be free, even when I seemed stuck in a past that appeared to remain a fated present. No one sets himself or herself free alone, freedom arises from the inspiration of Love, and Love implies a caring, compassionate communion, even if that communion were with only one other.
May all beings be happy
May all beings be peaceful
May all beings be well
May all beings be safe
May all beings be free from suffering
And you, too... by the Grace that arises to inspire you through a communion that loves you with metta and desires you to fly free into your natural habitat.
Grace and Peace to All
Lotus of the Heart is an interspiritual offering of Brian Kenneth Wilcox, who lives in Florida USA. Feel free to submit a query to Lotus of the Heart...
*Move cursor over pictures for creator of photo and title.