Monday, November 24, 2008

New Name - Same Story

As you can probably see, we've changed the name from Atma Enlightenment Blog to The Freedom Blog. The reasons for this are several:

1. To far too many people, the term enlightenment has too much charge or meaning associated with it. In India, the term is referred to as mukti or moksha, which literally mean to be free, released... i.e. freedom.
2. Enlightenment (or the concept of it) has an either/or quality to it - you are or you aren't, and while there is some truth to that, it is more involved than a simple dichotomy, and again goes back to that charge or association of the concept.
3. Freedom entails much more. The basic principle of freedom (or enlightenment) is letting go of ALL concepts, habitual patterns, beliefs, etc. and that includes those associated with living in the world via body, mind, intellect, and so forth.

Enlightenment, in concept, generally means a non-dual REALization, a true recognition that there is only ONE thing going on here. By it's nature, the belief in enlightenment, often includes a kind of escapism which means transcend the body/mind stuff permanently, as opposed to seeing the all-one nature of it all. Recently I've been meditating on the Yin/Yang sign (not literally) and the Reality it represents - One thing which is so obvious, and yet is obviously also apparently two things. Consciousness/Awareness is one thing in which everything arises - the you that is aware, the things in awareness and the being aware. Where is the division between those things? So what is happening in the world is just as important as the one that is aware. It's all a part of the One thing and it is all perfect. However, the recognition of the "wrong-ness" of what is going on is also perfect.

Right now, a lot is happening, and much of it is being tuned out. First, the general "powers that be" are tuning much of it out, since they don't want you to know about it, and secondly, our own tendency to fear change is also (and mostly) tuning it out. We desperately want to hold on to what we know. We desperately want to feel safe. We desperately want to protect our sense of individuality or ego. But what we are going through now is, in fact, glorious. It absolutely requires that we either let go of our old ways of thinking OR we suffer.

Let me give you an example. On the day of 9/11 when the twin towers came down, we watched the enitre thing on television. A couple hours later I had to drive my kids into town to go to school and the youngest (who was about 17 at the time) says, "What's the big deal? In two weeks everyone will have forgotten about this anyway!"

My response, of course, was to point out that this was a huge, virtually unprecedented event, and that, in many ways, life as we knew it would never be the same. The same is happening now. "Normal" is OVER!!! The collapse of Empire is happening. The economy is collapsing all over the world, unemployment is going up, foot shortages are beginning to happen all over the world, the environment is being destroyed, animals are being made extinct at an alarming rate, and on and on and on. What we can see is only the tip of the iceberg. (We live in the country and there's an old saying - If you see one mouse in your home, it means you have at least 50 living there.) If you can see any evidence of collapse, there is probably a hundred other things you're missing. The key point is not that it is good or bad, but rather, the inability to recognize it is the illusion. Our tendency to hold onto the old, or to try to maintain the old status quo is ridiculous. While it may not be totally obvious as yet, it will be increasingly clear as the next few weeks, months and years roll on. Much of it is the slow turning up of the heat (as in how to cook a frog), so it probably will not be as obvious as the twin towers, but certain things should be obvious - like the 700 billion dollar "bailout" that helps no one but the bankers. The possibility of the automotive bailout, etc. Think of it as the looters getting their last chance at every penny before it all falls apart.

The question is, do you do something to prepare, or do you just let it catch you by surprise when suddenly your job is gone, there's no money coming in, no one to give you food (already many of the food banks have virtually no food), you can't pay or car payments, your house payment, your power is in jeoparody of being shut off, and so forth. Many of these things are occurrences you can't just wish or will or hope out of existence. They will happen eventually. And our present 'civilization' is so based on a credit/monetary system that most people won't have a clue what to do.

The big upside here is that the circumstances are giving us a huge opportunity to let go of ego. It allows us to recognize the beliefs about ourselves and society that are just not true. It forces us to either go into resistance or to let go of our wrong assumptions of what is and see/recognize reality - to honestly question how much we can depend on things remaining the same and our resistance to change.

So, those are some of the reasons for the name change. Freedom entails letting go of all concepts and moving into pure awareness, and it requires examining and releasing all of our old beliefs. Not easy to do.

Imagine that you are a goldfish born in a fish tank. You live relatively freely in this tank, swimming, eating, loving, doing all those fish things, but every once in a while, you run into the glass. Now, in many ways, everything seems normal, but there is just this weird feeling that 'something' is not quite 'right'. You can't put your finger (or fin) on it, because this is what you were born into. That glass has always been there, and your life revolves around the other stuff that you're doing that seems way more important than worrying about the glass (which you can't even see - just sense, sort of). But inherently, there is a recognition that real freedom would mean being in the vast lakes, rivers or oceans, not in a one foot by two foot glass box. (This is, in part, why the movie The Matrix was so profound.)

Similarly, we have been born into this western civilization and unfortunately, the younger you are, the less you generally recognize how bad it has gotten - like the glass is getting thicker and the walls are getting closer. But you just assume that all will continue to be fine and dandy. This is called illusion. So freedom is about seeing through all the illusions. In some cases, depending on the individual personality, that will mean trying to escape; for others, breaking the glass; for others - simply surrendering to what is happening, recognizing that it probably means a "pre-mature" death. There is ultimately no right or wrong in that, but there is a benefit in not being blind to the truth of the situation.

Speaking of the sitution - I would like to point you toward a wonderful blog I read by Carolyn Baker. She has a wonderful website called "Speaking Truth to Power" and this particular blog is called "Abdicating the 'A' word - Frantically Fighting for the Familiar". It is somewhat long, but I highly encourage you to read it!

Take care - Aja