Free to be Captivated
If freedom would mean ceasing to feel, care, and be sensitive to another, I'd rather be held captive. If freedom would mean I couldn't cry for the loss of a lover, I'd rather be enslaved by the pangs of my love. If to be free means to detach, disconnect, dissolve... please let me always stand behind bars.
For as long as we can remember, traditions of old have taught detachment. Taught of a lonely path climbing up the mountain. A path, a bridge so narrow that only one can cross. Only one can pass. For as long as we can remember, the message has always been the same. In order to find god, to find divinity, you have to go alone by yourself. The same old analogy -- you came here alone, and you'll leave here alone. All by yourself.
I don't disagree. That is absolutely true. You have, and you will. But what concerns me is neither the beginning nor the end. What concerns me is what's in between. You were given life, and you are given death. In the grace period that's in between, you get the most miraculous gift of duality. Of two-getherness. Of marveling at the incredible existence of others. The amazing gift of exploring who you are in the reflection of who you are not. Without the other, without distance, without the illusion of separation, you would never get to experience the awe-inspiring self that you call – me.
Attachment - the dreaded demon. Feared by all Yogis, spiritualists, and devout religious followers. That three-headed monster that devours everything and conquers all heroes. The impossible mountain you can never cross. The abyss. The darkest of nights. She, my dear, is your greatest of friends. A true reminder of your absolute glory. Of your conscious decision to forget so you can remember. To impose a beautifully thin veil just so that you can blindly see an-other. Without this miraculous elixir, life as you know it will lose all flavor. All hue and color. Without attachment, life would have so much purpose but profoundly lose its meaning.
Your relationships won't truly matter. Your individuality won't truly matter. Your gifts, talents, your voice... nothing would matter. Because without attachment, your choices have no meaning. Don't you see? Your ability to choose fully, to surrender into your choices, your free will, to fully forget you are one, whole, complete, supposedly perfect is in and of itself the holy grail of holy grails. If you could either choose nothing in this short life span or choose everything, every possibility, date or love every person, master any skill, any profession, listen to all types of music, and see every part of this world from every angle, life, as you know it would turn to be the most boring and monotonous experience.
The factual reality of your limitation is the greatest of gifts. The fact is you have to choose. You have to select with whom you spend your days. What do you fill your time with, what type of music you listen to, or what type of dessert you will have for lunch. Your attachments, your preferences, and, ultimately, your choices are what governs your free will. The diversity and multiplicity of choice lead you to the possibility of experiencing freedom.
I often see "freedom fighters" choosing their freedom over someone or something. It's a fight. It means that for me to be free, I have to overcome, subdue, win over your freedom, or suppress your choices and your reality. The choices I make imply that your choices are wrong. That only mine is the right way, the only way to be. If you live differently, you just don't see it yet. You just don't "get it".
Freedom cannot be a fight. You can't win freedom by subduing another. By forcing your reality onto someone else. That truly means you are still a slave. A slave to your limited perspective, blind to the vastness of life. Here lies the destructive form of attachment. Attachment not as a practice of choice but as a form of limitation. Attachment not as a reflection of preference but of narrow-mindedness. Freedom comes with harmony. When you have the possibility to consider all angles. Seeing yourself through the eyes of another. When your choices will maturely reflect the understanding of our profound connection to one another. Where the choice of my actions takes the other into account. Because even though I do not remember you as being me, I am aware enough that to be me, I need you to be you. If my choices undermine your freedom of being who you are, in that same instance, something in me dies. My ability to feel and connect to all that is. My capacity to feel deeply enough into your reality. As your point of view diminishes, with it, my capacity to feel, sense, and appreciate my own reality and the world around and within me.
When I oppose fighting for freedom, I don't mean not fighting oppressors and tyrants. I mean fighting among friends, among lovers, among ourselves. To be free requires the ability to set boundaries. To define, very clearly, where you begin, and I end, where I end and you begin. To clearly communicate your needs, desires, understanding, and points of view. To be free definitely means that, but also so much more. To be free means learning how to listen. How to be hollow enough to allow another's perspective to shine through. To affect us. To touch our understanding and experience of life.
Only those who are truly free can accept. Can embody the song of another. Can allow someone else's choice to be their guiding light. Only those who are truly free can be inspired. Can choose to paint with the colors of another, to sing with the voice of anyone else.
Freedom is a choice. It is your birthright. But to choose your freedom would mean, first and foremost, that you allow yourself to be just as you are and, in that same notion, everyone else to be everyone else. To be, you cannot imply negating another. To be you, cannot imply hardening your heart from receiving anyone else. To be you, means softness, acceptance, and utmost consideration. If for you to be you, you require an act of unkindness, of non-integrity, of acting without harmony for anyone else involved, be assured -- that choice, that action, will not come from freedom.
You want to be free? – It is simple. Love. Care for everyone around you. Offer all that you have and all that you are. Consider the well-being of everyone you get to encounter. When you do just that, your freedom will mean so much more than not having shackles on your wrists. Your freedom would mean soaring like a condor into the vastness of the sky. Your freedom would be the majestic gesture of the divine creator. Your choices, your actions, your words, and your presence would mean nothing less than the symphony of life playing itself through you.
Deep gratitude and special thanks to my dear friend Dvora (or Dvorable) for editing this post. Thank you, Dvora, and your beloved Paul, who has always been an inspiration, reminding me of the existence of real enchanted love.