Nondual realization shows us that true freedom is not freedom from, but rather freedom with. But what does that really mean? Let me try to explain.
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What I want to talk about now comes from my own direct experience, so it’s not something I believe in but rather it’s based on direct recognition.
True freedom is not freedom from, but freedom with.
When a human being experiences something that we would typically describe as being negative, e.g. what one might call negative emotions, anxiety, nervousness or the like, then the typical reaction pattern is that these emotions have to go away.
You feel that life is limited because you are constantly subject to the emotions, you are so to speak, in their power. It therefore seems, as the most natural thing at all, to want this discomfort to disappear immediately.
The reason why this seems to be the most natural stems from two reasons. Firstly, this is what we have been taught, secondly, we live in a world that is constantly bombarding us with the notion of perfection, and if we do not experience ourselves as perfect, then we will strive for this, ergo, the negative emotions must go away – NOW!
The question is, does it work? Can we truly make our negative emotions disappear on command?
You know the answer, and I know the answer. We cannot. In fact, it seems that the more we insist that they disappear, the more they stick.
This is very beautifully worded, in a proverb familiar to many. What you resist, persist. What you oppose, you are bound to.
Although this is the reality we experience, we usually continue to demand that the negative emotions go away, simply because we do not know of other possibilities.
But do other options exist?
Yes! – but before I get there, let’s just look again at why we’re tied to something we oppose.
The solution lies partly hidden in the language and the way we, through our thoughts, speak to ourselves.
When we say to the negative emotions, and thus to ourselves – go away! So what exactly are we saying?
We tell ourselves that the negative emotions are there!
We thus confirm ourselves directly in that the negative emotions are there, and we confirm ourselves in that they are undesirable.
You probably find this logical enough, but the question is, do you truly understand that it is the very thing you are telling yourself that binds you directly to the emotions?
You will probably say, well the negative feelings are there after all, to deny this would be lying to oneself.
I am not asking you to lie to yourself, on the contrary, I am asking you to be 100% honest with yourself. To realize that the fight against the negative emotions is a fight one can never ever win, is to be honest with oneself.
So what I’m saying to you is, give up! Stop fighting with yourself. Your notion of yourself will never be perfect, nor is it necessary, for you are already perfect, completely and exactly as you are, with all the negative emotions included.
What I appeal to is that you realize that when you let go of your negative emotions, they let go of you …..
It sounds too simple, it sounds too straightforward, and it’s simple, and straightforward. There is just one small challenge associated with it.
Just because you let go of your negative emotions, it is not certain that you will immediately notice that they let go of you. There are several reasons for this. One of them is that it is possible that you think you have let go of the negative emotions, but on an unconscious level, you do it only because you simultaneously demand that they go away.
I hope you can see that in no way is it to let go of the negative emotions?
You can not fool yourself, you can not cheat yourself. You have to be 100% honest with yourself, otherwise you will never find that the negative emotions let go of you.
How to get rid of negative emotions?
How do you drop a piece of red-hot coal that you hold in your hands? You drop it instinctively because you know you can not argue with it. You know that no matter how long you argue, the red-hot coal will win.
In the same way, you release your resistance to your negative emotions. Because you know you can not win! When you get there, you will find that you can easily be the “space” in which the negative emotions exist. You have made room for the emotions, you have created “air” around them.
Initially, you will continue to experience what we call discomfort, and you will probably also find that old habits of struggling with emotions revive themselves, but be patient with yourself.
Get yourself back on track. Be the “space” where the emotions are allowed to be expressed. When you do this, you will quietly experience something magical.
Before I tell you what it is, let me remind you that you will never be able to experience the absence of a feeling! It is simply not physically possible to experience the absence of an emotion!
How would the absence of an emotion be experienced? Like nothing …. – and where there is nothing, there is also nothing that can be experienced. Do you see that? This is the very reason why fighting with oneself does not help anything. When we fight with ourselves, we demand that something disappear, and as long as we do, it is there!
What is this magical thing I wanted to tell you about?
This is directly from my own experience. What I have experienced, not because I have read about it, not because I have heard someone else tell about it, but rather directly through my own experience.
When I make peace with myself, when I allow everything to be like it is, when I stop being at war with myself, when I let myself be the “space” where in the emotions are allowed to live – unconditionally – then something magical happens.
It takes patience, admittedly, but this does not matter, because there are no other options, and it requires 100% honesty, but when these prerequisites are in place, then you will find that after a while, in some life situations, you suddenly will stop. And astonished, you will then say to yourself “What is happening? Previously I would have reacted emotionally troubled in this situation, but now there is nothing!”
This quiet discovery in your own mind is the only indication you will ever get that the negative emotions have begun to let go of you.
You may be amazed but you will definitely be happy and you will thank life because when you get “there” you will discover that everything you have been through was meant to be. It was meant from the beginning that you were to experience it, because only through it, could you “arrive” at the whole human being experience.
That is why true freedom is not freedom from, but rather freedom with. Freedom with what? Freedom with life itself – the life that you are!
In conclusion, in this article I have used the words: Always and never. These are words I rarely use, as, never and always is not possible. Therefore, take these words “with a grain of salt”, as far as I can see, a rule does not exist without an exception.