You want freedom. From your self. That pesky self that berates you when you get it wrong. Nags you for not being perfect enough. Condemns you for not living up to expectations. Yours or others.
That annoying self that coils into a tight ball of defense when it feels rejected. Lashes out like a scorpion’s tail when it feels attacked. That arrogant self that musters up all its strength to make things go according to its own wishes. And then rails against the world when it doesn’t quite go that way. The self that coerces, cajoles, seduces and begs. And then collapses into a heap of ‘poor me’ when the strategy doesn’t work.
So you set out on the spiritual path. At some point you understand it is the unending churning out of a story that creates suffering. The story of ‘this is terrible, it shouldn’t have happened’ or ‘this is not what I want, I don’t deserve it’ or ‘this is too painful, I can’t bear it’.
You do all you can to get rid of the story. To be more detached, more spacious, more equanimous. You try to be positive, blissful, in love with life. You attempt to change the story-maker from a terrorist to an angel, from a sinner to a saint. But it doesn’t work. Or maybe it does for a while and then it doesn’t.
You get frustrated. You get enraged. You wonder how to get rid of the story-maker once and for all. You want to commit murder. You want to kill the self that is getting in the way of freedom. You plot your strategy more carefully. You’ll find the best time-tested practice. You’ll find the highest teachings. You’ll find the perfect teacher. You’ll dedicate yourself to the path of enlightenment. But somehow that sneaky story-maker keeps eluding its own demise. You get despondent.
Now, a pivotal point. Everything can turn around. A true transformation is possible. If you are willing to change the question. To stop asking ‘how can I get rid of the self?’ and ask ‘how can I more deeply open to what is here in my experience?’. This one question changes everything. It transforms the waging of war within to the path of love.
Love has no violence. No need to cut out or kill anything at all.
Love sees clearly. God is in everything, everything is godly.
Love has no need for making up a story of ‘poor me’ or ‘lucky me’. No need for an inner critic, an inner terrorist that whips you into perfection. No man-made fertilizer to pump up the story. The story-maker can find no place to take root.
Here, in the gentle ground of love, only the deepest acceptance. The lightest touch. And in the lightness of being, a softening. Even the clenched fist of reactivity bows down. Even the most stubborn shell of self-protection loosens its grip in awe of the light. Even the army of inner voices engaged in a battle are finally ready to put down their weapons of war and surrender to love.
Freedom comes. But not by having arrived somewhere. Nor by having achieved something. Freedom is neither a country nor a trophy.
Freedom comes. Because the struggle is over. The attempt to become a perfect version of yourself has come to an end. You have relaxed all trying. No more trying to be perfect. No more trying to be perfectly loved, perfectly safe, perfectly enlightened. You have simply relaxed.
And now you are natural. You are no longer self-centered. You ask a different question .. ‘how can I more deeply open to my experience?’
In asking this question, you become more intimate, more present, with what is here. You get closer to your innermost. You get closer to God, closer to godliness.
– Amoda Maa