Swimming toward freedom

There is a deep truth and tragedy to life, and I'll spill it like this...All we love, all we value, all we hope to be, all we once were, all we knew and all we will ever know, will be stripped from us. All our friends, family, possessions, and even our body will wither and vanish. As this process unfolds, we will experience the pain of having the carpet pulled from beneath our feet. And as twisted as it can seem, this is how the universe speaks truth. By taking away the physical world bit by bit, the universe cleverly points us toward the non-physical truth of existence.   

What is physical is temporary. And we suffer when we tie our primary sense of happiness to that which is temporary. Let's say you tie your primary sense of happiness to your closest friends. You think, "as long as I have my friends I will be happy." In this case, as you lose your friends one by one, so goes your happiness. Friends are people that you share happiness with but when you tie it to them, the rope will break, and suffering will happen. As a pretty damn vain person I can relate to tying happiness to physical appearance: “As long as I look a certain way, I will be happy." At some point, looks will fade. the rope will break, and suffering will happen. 

After experiencing this cycle again and again we can wake up and realize that tying our happiness to the physical world makes us suffer. When we realize this, the spiritual path becomes an option. By spiritual, I'm referring to that which is not bound by the physical world. And what might that be? Well, how about this moment? 

Really look - not at the circumstances in the moment, but at the moment itself. Is it physical? Can it be touched, disturbed or broken? As far as I can tell, the nature of this moment is not bound by physical laws. It is stable, constant, and unwavering. The spiritual process guides our intention from being about the physical to being the non-physical( it does not discount the physical world, but rather teaches us to relate to it in a way that will not cause suffering).

When this leap is made, we can rest in the warmth and stability of the non-physical, while playing in the temporary physical world to whatever extent we want. The sweet spot unveils itself when we hold the physical content of life within the non-physical context of this moment. In this space, we have the freedom to risk everything and lose nothing. 

So how do we make this leap? Well, I can tell a story about how the process feels to me, but everyone is unique and will experience the same journey in a different way ....

Let's say that after a series of unfortunate events you have been sentenced to life in prison on Alcatraz island. On Alcatraz, your have to deal with the brutal day-to-day suffering that accompanies being an inmate. It's unsafe, it's lonely, and you're treated like shit . One morning at breakfast, you notice a lapse in security that gives you an opportunity to escape and swim to freedom. At that moment, the possibility of getting caught, the sharks, the freezing water all become secondary; you're done with suffering in prison, so you swim. You choose freedom at all costs. 

In my experience the spiritual process is a bit like this. When we continually find ourselves suffering or getting caught in the boredom or disenchantment of the physical world, we look for another option. A way out. And when the urgency becomes strong enough, we will risk everything for freedom. We will swim through the inner waters of fear, grief, and self-doubt until we arrive at an absolute truth. It doesn't matter what comes up, we will drift wholeheartedly through it toward the boundless truth of life. This process of urgently moving through muddy water towards truth is a profound spiritual path …

So when is it time to go for it? How much longer will you wait before you start swimming?