Courage of Freedom
Cracking the Code of Enlightenment
The word freedom can evoke many different ideas about what it means to be free. Often we think of freedom as doing whatever you want, but the freedom of enlightenment has little to do with what you are doing or not doing or what you are feeling or not feeling. We like the idea of bliss or feeling good or doing whatever we want, but freedom has more to do with facing what is uncomfortable, facing our fear and pain directly—an uncomfortable, intimate, examination of what is really here deeper than the circumstances of our lives.
What is known, as enlightenment is free of the sense that you are the doer or the idea that you are in control—enlightenment lives in a much deeper realization that you are not and never were in control of your life. An invisible presence, a predetermined destiny, ultimately is the guide of everything that happens in your life. If you accept this truth it is a great relief, but if you resist this truth it can be the source of great anxiety, even a kind of raw uncomfortable terror.
The courage to stop everything for a moment and deeply examine this invisible presence directly, intimately, for yourself is the essence of real freedom. This investigation requires a certain amount of courage—the courage to face what you are most afraid of, the courage to face the lies you have been telling yourself, the courage to meet death, and the courage to meet the demons of your past and future—the courage to tell the truth about what you really want in life.
Authenticity is one of the great golden keys of freedom—it is a ruthless kind of honesty with yourself essential to see through the many tricks and traps of the genetic mind—the great illusion that you are an individual separate from everyone else. It is this supreme illusion that keeps you trapped in your circumstances, thoughts, feelings, and ideas of the future—like a fly stuck on fly paper it is your natural tendency to give your attention to your thoughts, feelings, and circumstances that keeps your trapped in seemingly never ending cycles of suffering.
Just the thought of meeting your own death can make you want to turn and run, but what is the nature of death and how does it hold the secret of eternal life? Deep down if you tell the truth—you feel invincible—like there is a force that defies description within you. This invisible force is veiled by your thoughts, feelings, desires, attachments, and the deeply ingrained physical sensation that you are your body. In fact, your feelings, desires, and attachments are in effect the food that feeds the deep feeling that you are your body—a unique, limited, and fragile human being that must be protected at all cost.
It is the natural movement of the genetic mind to protect ourselves that is the root of many different forms of suffering—it is the genetic code to survive, to avoid pain, to avoid anything uncomfortable, to avoid our eminent death, that is the root of all complex strategies to survive. Suffering lives in the complexity that evolves in your mind to protect yourself, get whatever you think you want, and keep whatever you think you have. Cracking this genetic code is essential in order to break free of the deeply ingrained nature of suffering.
Cracking the code of enlightenment is the intimate discovery of who you really are beyond all ideas of who you thought you are. The courage to face the illusion of you to the deep discovery of the reality of you reveals a kind of peace and freedom that simply defies description—the living eternal presence within you and all around you that is the essence of who you really are. The essence of freedom is that you are freedom itself—in the core you are the enlightenment you seek.
This freedom is always at peace, always free, always silently waiting for your attention. Awakening is the immediate discovery of this hidden presence, but what is know as self-realization or liberation from the karmic wheel of suffering requires the courage and maturity to do the real work of freedom—cleaning out the garbage of lifetimes of suffering. It is a deep cleanse of the soul.
We love bliss and seek to always maintain this deep sense of euphoria—the sense of limitlessness that awakening reveals. Yet, to be truly liberated you must have the maturity and responsibility to do the deeper more uncomfortable dirty work—a deep look at the arrogance of your own mind. It is a fire of grace initiated by the first deep look at yourself that ignites the sacred fire of purification required to become fully established in the freedom that is simply always here.
This purification is the great invisible fire generated by the courage to stop and examine for yourself what is free of everything—even your ideas of freedom. It is the courage to be naked to yourself that unlocks the ancient code and ignites the eternal flame of the heart that burns through the deep feeling you are the doer. It is a naked intimate meeting with yourself.
Do you have the courage to be this ruthlessly honest with yourself, this vulnerable—this naked? The courage to be open, naked, and intimate with yourself is the ruthless fire of grace that sets you free from life times of suffering. The courage of freedom is the willingness to burn in the naked openness of your own heart—the reality that is eternally naked, open, and free—the living eternal truth that needs no protection.
This courage lives in the eternal now that you are and always will be. The moment your surrender to this eternal flame is the moment the organic awakening of freedom begins to evolve in your life.
Ultimately, the courage of freedom is the courage of now—the fierce urgency of this eternal moment cracks that ancient and mysterious code of enlightenment.