For thousands of years the crown jewel of the spiritual quest has been Enlightenment or Spiritual Freedom. Any truly liberated soul will tell you that you are already awake. The big cosmic joke that is revealed to us at the end of years of tireless seeking is that what we find is something that was already ours.
In my last post I wrote about how spiritual freedom can only be ours once we know deep in our hearts that it is possible. Now I want to go one step further and say that not only do must we know that liberation is possible, we also need to know that it is already ours.
We are already free.
Once we realize this then there’s nothing left to do other than accept the fact. In the context of meditation, liberation is simply the state of being exactly here in the present moment where nothing is missing, nothing is wrong, nothing needs to change, and nothing needs to be different than it is.
There is no tension around needing to be anywhere other than here or needing anything to be anything other than what it already is.
When I say that liberation is already yours, I mean that there is already a place in your being, a part of your current experience, that is completely at peace with the way things are, completely at one with whatever arises in the present moment, and already has no need for anything to be other than what it is.
This insight is crucial because it completely changes our relationship to meditation. It is easy when we meditate to consciously or unconsciously assume that we need to go someplace other than here in order to be free.
When we realize that there is a part of us that is always already free, and that always already exists in this moment, as freedom, then we realize that the only place that freedom can be found is here. The only place that perfect contentment can be found is here.
There is a part of you that will never feel perfectly content. No matter what happens and no matter what your experience is, part of you will experience whatever is happening as somehow wrong, deficient, or simply “not it.” If your attention is on this sense of deficiency in yourself, then you will not experience perfect contentment.
And here is the whole point:
The fact that you may have your attention on the part of your experience that will never be content doesn’t mean that some other place in your being, some other part of your experience, isn’t already perfectly content now.
The practice of meditation is not a practice of changing your experience. It’s not a movement from an experience that is “not it” toward some other experience that is. It is not any form of altering the experience you’re having so that it can become the experience of freedom.
It is simply allowing yourself to know that perfect contentment is already yours even if your attention happens to be somewhere else. Even if your attention is on a part of yourself that feels discontent, unsettled, unresolved, incomplete, uncomfortable, or whatever else it might be, freedom and perfect contentment are already yours.
There is a part of you that has always been free, has always been content, and has always been at peace with the way things are—even with the fact that your attention is often captivated by a part of your experience that is not at peace.
The movement of meditation is not a movement from one consciousness to another, or even a movement from one place in consciousness to another. Meditation is an acceptance of the totality of who you already are regardless of what your experience might be.
Freedom is literally already here.
This is so hard to truly get that it will be a theme that we return to over and over again throughout the rest of this post. The liberation you seek, the freedom you seek, the contentment you seek is already here no matter how it seems.
There is no reason to try to understand that. There is no reason to try to convince yourself of the truth of it. Your mind will probably never accept it. It is true anyway.
You simply surrender to the reality of it and then see what happens. You place no demands on your experience to shift. Whatever you’re experiencing right now, whatever it is, does not need to change one single bit.
Freedom is just as available in the experience you’re having right now as it is in any other possible experience you could be having. Freedom is always completely available. All we have to do is be available to it.
Perfect contentment is always already yours regardless of what you are experiencing and regardless of what your attention may be focused on at any given moment.
The reality that can be so difficult for us to accept is that freedom is already ours. There is no reality other than the one we are already in.
There is no place to go and nothing you need to do with the experience you are having right now, even with this feeling, even with that thought, even with this experience, even with that, and even with anything else that might possibly arise.
None of it makes freedom any less available because a part of you is already free, already perfectly content. Meditation is just an expansion into the totality of who you already are.
We are so conditioned and so trained to limit who we are by the sphere of what we happen to be consciously aware of. It’s like being in a darkened room, using only a narrow flashlight beam to see by, and thinking that the only things that exist in that room are what that thin beam can illuminate. We assume that nothing exists out beyond the edges of the light.
But the part of your experience that happens to be illuminated by the light of your conscious attention is not the whole of your experience. Your experience extends way beyond the edges of your conscious attention.
If the experience that is currently illuminated by the light of your conscious attention is not one of freedom and contentment, that doesn’t mean that freedom and contentment are not already yours. It doesn’t mean that freedom and contentment aren’t already a part of your experience.
Just because the flashlight beam in the darkened room happens to be illuminating only one wall doesn’t mean that the others aren’t there.
When you discover the freedom that exists outside of the bounds of your conscious awareness you stop needing to manipulate your conscious awareness. You know that freedom is already there and so you don’t feel any need to locate it to be certain.
It is like knowing that the sun is still there on a cloudy day. You never fear that the sun is gone. You know it is there and it will return into view when the clouds part. The discovery of true freedom doesn’t mean that you will always feel free, but you will never forget that you are.
Liberation will always be yours once you realize that there is a part of your experience that is, was, and will always be free, even if it exists beyond the bounds of your conscious awareness. In this realization you realize that freedom and contentment is always already yours.
At that point, which is now, you are free from any need to have your experience be anything other than what it is because you are already free and content, totally awake and aware anyway. You realize that your experience expands far beyond the illuminating light of your conscious awareness.
You relax into the totality of your being, needing to do nothing, needing to go nowhere. Then the miraculous reality of who you are has the opportunity to unfold in whatever way it will.