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Understanding the struggle for freedom (something to think about)
Understanding the struggle for freedom
The history of humankind can be viewed as a struggle for freedom, freedom from suffering, limitations, poverty, emptiness or whatever holds people back. The central aspect of this struggle is to overcome ignorance. The cave dwellers had very limited options for improving their circumstances because they had a very limited knowledge of themselves and the material universe. They did not know enough about the laws of nature to change their outer circumstances, as modern people have done. Neither did they know enough about their own psyches to change the way they responded to life, as modern people have the option of doing.
The central aspect of improving both your inner and outer circumstances is to expand your understanding of yourself and of life. Knowledge is the key to any positive change seen in the history of humankind. This is true both on the collective and the individual level. Thus, if you want to improve your personal life experience, you must begin by seeking greater understanding. You must study the knowledge that is available in the modern world, knowledge that simply was not available in the past.
Consider therefore how fortunate you are to be alive in a time when more information is available and accessible than ever before in recorded history. Indeed, you live in a time when anyone who is willing can find sufficient information and practical tools to systematically change his or her life experience to just about anything you want it to be. This book is an attempt to provide this information in a very concise form, but there are many other more voluminous sources of this information.
The logical question now becomes why you were not given this information as you were growing up? Why were you not taught how to master your life experience, if this is indeed possible? Why has humankind struggled for millennia to escape human limitations, oppression and suffering? Why has your life been a struggle to attain personal freedom from limiting outer and inner circumstances? The logical answer is that there are forces – both inside and outside yourself – that do not want you to know.
A brief look at history demonstrates the existence of outer forces, in the form of dictators and regimes – even political, religious and scientific institutions – that have aggressively attempted to suppress knowledge and keep it from the general population. As one obvious example, consider how a particular religious institution held the intellectual life of Europe in an iron grip during the so-called dark ages. The motivation for withholding knowledge has always been to control people, individually and collectively. Controlling people through physical means is always messy and leads to rebellion. It is far more efficient to control people’s minds. If people don’t know better, they might not realize they are being oppressed or they will not know how to attain freedom.
The conclusion is clear. If someone wants to control you, they must prevent you from knowing how you can free yourself from their control. What is the one piece of information that can help you overcome all forms of mind control? It is the knowledge that your life experience is NOT the automatic product of your outer circumstances. Indeed, by gaining a greater understanding of who you are and where you came from, you gain the power to take control over your life experience. You can choose your life experience instead of letting outer circumstances and your own psychology control your life experience.
If life is seen as a struggle for freedom, we now realize that the key to freedom is understanding. It is the truth that will make you free because when you know who you are and how the world works, you can make better choices. This book is designed to help you take command over your life experience. It will give you the full truth in a concentrated form. However, this truth will be given gradually so as to avoid blowing your mind. Thus, let us begin by looking at the importance of choice.
The main message of all true self-help and spiritual teachers is, “YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE!” Yet what does it take to change your life? Albert Einstein said: “Insanity is when you keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.” If your life is to change, something must change. If you keep doing the same thing, how likely is it that your life will change by itself?
There are two basic approaches to life. There are those who keep doing the same thing, always living in the dream that some day a stroke of luck, fate, magic or divine intervention will change their lives. There are those who realize that if their lives are to change, they must actively do something different to bring about change. They must begin by changing that which they have the power to change.
All true spiritual teachers talk about the eternal law that you cannot change your life without changing yourself. To change your outer situation, you must be willing to start by changing your inner situation. You must be willing to look in the mirror. You must be willing to look for – and remove – the beam in your own eye.
To change your life, you must understand the power of free will. You must choose change over stillstand. You must choose growth over comfortability. You must choose life over death. Life is all about choice. Life is a process of making choices, and only you can make the decisions that will change your life.
You are constantly choosing, and you can never turn off the responsibility of making choices. You can stop making decisions, but to do so you must make a decision. You can allow other people or institutions to make decisions for you, but to do so you must make a decision. And you can uphold this state only by continuing to make the decision not to make decisions.
Deciding not to make decisions puts you in a state of being spiritually dead. You can remain physically alive while being spiritually dead. You cannot remain spiritually alive without making choices. Life is a choice. Life is the choice to be more. Death is the choice to be less. If you do not consciously choose life, you have unconsciously chosen death.
Choices are not made in a vacuum. All choices have consequences. Being spiritually dead does not make you unconscious. Thus, it does not prevent you from experiencing the consequences of your life choices—regardless of who makes those choices. The equation is simple. Either you make your own choices or you allow someone or something to make choices for you. In either case, you are the one who must live with the consequences. Only by making your own decisions can you influence the consequences.
There are two types of consequences. Some consequences limit you and have a negative impact on your life experience. Some consequences liberate you and enhance your life experience. Consequences either make your life experience less or they make it more.
Limiting consequences are the results of choices that are based on incomplete or incorrect knowledge. Liberating consequences are based on full understanding. The truth will set you free to be more. Lack of truth will limit you and turn your life into a struggle.
Change must start with a desire to change, and the equation is simple. You must desire change so much that you are willing to reach for a higher understanding in order to bring about that change. What will it take to bring you to that point? It might help to know your options.
You have two basic options. Your life can be an upward spiral that constantly expands your life experience, leading to greater fulfillment, happiness and peace of mind. Or your life can be a downward spiral that limits your life experience, leading to lack, frustration, fear, anger and the sense of struggle. The difference is in the choices you make. You are always choosing. The question is whether you are making conscious or unconscious decisions.
If you make choices based on incomplete understanding, you will experience limiting consequences. In order to deal with these consequences, you are likely to make other unconscious choices and this inevitably leads to even more limiting consequences. Continued over time, this can lead to a state of mind in which it seems like all your available options lead to limiting consequences. This is a state of ignorance, a state of spiritual blindness. Taken to its extreme, it makes you feel as if you have no choices, you have no options, in life. This is a state of spiritual paralysis, spiritual death.
Choices based on ignorance lead to more ignorance, and this downward, self-perpetuating spiral can be broken only through an act of will. You must decide to take back your power to make conscious choices. You must be willing to make choices for yourself and you must be willing to reach for the understanding that will empower you to make conscious choices. Only by making conscious choices can you escape ignorance and spiritual death.
Once you have become enveloped in a downward spiral, it will take effort to break free. You cannot break such a spiral by continuing to apply the same approach to life that caused you to enter the spiral. You cannot solve a problem with the same state of consciousness that created the problem. Thus, you must be willing to change something.
If your life is to change, you must be willing to change yourself. You must change your attitude and your approach to life. You must be willing to reach for an understanding that you do not currently have, “With all thy getting, get understanding.”
Last edited by Kathrine on 05-23-2008 at 10:48 PM
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