The search for true freedom is what all my communications are ultimately about--freedom of the self and from the self. Freedom of the self means literal freedom: freedom from oppressive environments and relationships, the freedom of a satisfying career, and the freedom to make life meaningful.
Freedom from the self means freedom from domination by addictions or passions, and the freedom to rise above the effects of fears that keep you from becoming all you are capable of being. These fears take the form of emotions, such as anger, worry, selfishness, jealousy, hate, repression, greed, possessiveness, envy, anxiety, guilt, inhibitions, egotism, malice, resentment, blame and fears such as the fear of intimacy, responsibility, even fear of success and the fear of failure.
Enlightenment is a matter of rising above the effects of these and all the other fear-based emotions. In practice, this would be a matter never getting upset by circumstances or the actions of others, never judging others, and totally accepting what is.
Easier said than done? Of course.
Here’s the response from a seminar participant:
“How is anyone ever going to rise above all the fear-based emotions?” asked Jennifer, a pretty blond woman in her thirties.
“Well, it certainly won’t happen unless you give it importance and set it as a goal,” I said. “It can only result from the expanded awareness of self-actualized thinking. Change takes time. You have to work at it.”
“But it’s such a difficult task, why even bother?”
“Because your life will work better and better in direct relationship to your ability to rise above the fears. Even a little effort at understanding will result in improvements.”
“I’m sure you’d claim fighting with my husband is based on fear,” she said.
“Sure, You want approval or control or you wouldn’t fight. Both actions are manifestations of the fear of not getting what you want.”
“I don’t understand.”
“You want your husband to approve of your actions or reactions, or you want to control his actions or reactions. He wants the same thing.”
“I want him to stop criticizing me.”
“You want to control his actions.”
“Well, I guess so, if that’ what it takes to get him to stop.”
“You make my point, Jennifer. But let’s take this a little further and explore it from a self-actualized viewpoint. Is your husband normally a critical person?”
“Yes, he’s always been critical of everything and everybody.”
“Always? Then do you think he is going to change?”
“No, not really.”
“You married him, knowing that he was a critical person?”
“Yes, but . . .”
“Do you want out of the marriage?”
“No, absolutely not. I love him.”
“Okay, you can’t change another person. He has to want to change and be willing work at it. That doesn’t sound too likely, although I would suggest that you calmly express your needs in this area. But for the moment, if you don’t think he’ll change, and you are upset by the criticism, it sounds to me like it’s up to you to change how you respond to your husband.”
“Hmmm,” she said.
“What if your husband were married to a different woman . . . a woman named Sally who looked different, but did the same basic things you do. Would he be critical of her?”
“Yes, I know he would.”
“Then the real problems is that you’re taking the criticism personally. Most problems in life are not resolved by an actual change, but by a change in viewpoint. If you could develop ‘detached mind,’ you’d stop taking things personally. You’d know someone else’s reaction to you, good or bad, is a viewpoint based upon their past programming. It has nothing to do with you. The way they relate to you is the way they would relate to anyone who represented to them what you represent. In this case, your husband is a man who would criticize any wife.”
“So, I have to change my thinking.”
“If you want to end the conflict, let go of your old beliefs about reality. Reality exists as a manifestation of your viewpoint. If you let your husband’s criticism flow through you without affecting you, you rise above the effects of fear. If you can do that, you’ll no longer have a problem, although nothing about the problem situation will have changed except your viewpoint.”
“Maybe I could use some assertiveness training techniques, too,” she said.