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Freedom is a complex concept. There are many ways to conceive and understand freedom. In preparation for this Journey, I have compiled some of the concepts that have lead me to this place, to this Journey. I love thinking about freedom. Do you have anything to contribute? Email me (Susanwithpearls@gmail.com) or put your thoughts in the comments below.
I’ll be adding more substance to these references before the Journey begins… stay tuned.
Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains. Here’s one who thinks he is the master of others, yet he is more enslaved than they are. How did this change come about? I don’t know. What can make it legitimate.
J.J. Rousseau, The Social Contract
Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-incurred immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one’s own understanding without the guidance of another. This immaturity is self-incurred if its cause is not lack of understanding, but lack of resolution and courage to use it without the guidance of another. The motto of enlightenment is therefore: Sapere aude! Have courage to use your own understanding!
Laziness and cowardice are the reasons why such a large proportion of men, even when nature has long emancipated them from alien guidance, nevertheless gladly remain immature for life. For the same reasons, it is all too easy for others to set themselves up as their guardians. It is so convenient to be immature! If I have a book to have understanding in place of me, a spiritual adviser to have a conscience for me, a doctor to judge my diet for me, and so on, I need not make any efforts at all. I need not think, so long as I can pay; others will soon enough take the tiresome job over for me.
Immanuel Kant An Answer to the Question: “What is Enlightenment?”
The soul, in its intelligence, searches for its Self, slowly ascending the path that leads to enlightenment and liberation. It is an arduous, delightful journey through the cycles of birth, death and rebirth culminating in Self Realization, the direct and personal spiritual experience of God, of the Self, of Truth. This alone among all things in the cosmos can bring freedom from the bondages of ignorance and desire. This is the highest realization. There is none greater. Hindus believe that all men and women are on this path and that all will ultimately reach its summit. It is a glorious and encouraging concept—that every single soul will reach Truth, moksha,none left to suffer forever for human frailties and faults.
Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami. Dancing with Shiva: Hinduism’s Contemporary Catechism.
Himalayan Academy, 2003. P. 24.
[In Tibetan] Changchub means enlightenment, or buddhahood, because chang, the first syllable, means “totally free from all obscurations,” totally free from all our emotional disturbances or garbage. The second syllable, chub, means “attainment,” attaining all the qualities of wisdom; it also means “realization,” realizing the wisdom aspect and the compassion quality of our mind. Therefore, changchub means enlightenment, which has the quality of being completely free from all the obscurations as well as having attained all wisdoms. [A second word added to this] sempa means: sem– “heart,” or “attitude,” referring to the enlightened attitude, enlightened heart, or enlightened aspiration and pa means “warrior.” Sempa therefore means “warrior,” “heroic,” or “the courageous one.” We might translate changchub sempa as a person who has a brave mind that has been purified and expanded.
The Dogzchen Pönlop Rinpoche in In the Presence of Masters edited by Reginald Ray, page 91
Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counselors, “Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said unto the king, “True, O king.” He answered and said, “Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”
Christian Bible, King James version. Daniel, book three
Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, “Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.” And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of music brought before him: and his sleep went from him. Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: “Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?” Then said Daniel unto the king, “O king, live forever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.”
Christian Bible, King James version. Daniel, book six
The voice of one crying in the wilderness, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”
Christian Bible, King James version. Luke, book three
If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to show unto man his uprightness; then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom. His flesh shall be fresher than a child’s: he shall return to the days of his youth: he shall pray unto God, and he will be favorable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness. He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not; he will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light. Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man, to bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.
Christian Bible, King James version. Job, book 33
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Christian Bible, King James version. Matthew, book five
A Course in Miracles
In our remembrance of EACH OTHER lies our remembrance of God. And in this remembrance lies your freedom because your freedom IS in Him…This is our gift of gratitude to Him, which He will share with ALL His creations, to whom He gives equally whatever is acceptable to Him. BECAUSE it is acceptable to Him it is the gift of freedom, which IS His Will for all His Sons. By OFFERING freedom YOU will be free…
Freedom is the only gift you can offer to God’s Sons, being an ACKNOWLEDGMENT of what THEY are and what HE is. Freedom is creation because it is love.
A Course in Miracles, original edition Chapter 8, section 5, paragraph 33