By Gurudevi Nirmalananda
I loved this song when I was growing up, for I wanted to fly. I wanted to fly free, like the bluebirds in the song:
If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh, why can’t I?
My multiple attempts to get beyond the rainbow led me to living with a Guru in India. It worked out really well, for he gave me yogic freedom. It is freedom without escapism. It is both “freedom from” and “freedom to.”
“Freedom from” is freedom from pain, freedom from fear and freedom from the self-doubt that paralyzes you. “Freedom to” is the freedom to love, to create and to give with generosity. This yogic freedom comes from its inner source, described powerfully in a yogic text:
Caitanyam-aatmaa — Shiva Sutras 1.1
Your own Self is Consciousness-Itself,
imbued with freedom of knowledge and action.
When you describe yourself by age and gender, by profession or relationship status – you’re describing what you do, not who you are. These change, but you are still you. Your size and shape, along with the color of your hair or skin are simply physical characteristics. Your body changes over time, while your essence remains unchanged.
Peggy came to me in her 80s, wanting yoga therapy to make her able to walk freely again. She didn’t like using her cane. It took about 5 sessions for her to throw away her cane. Then she confessed she wanted more. She didn’t want merely to walk. She wanted to dance, to sprint and to turn cartwheels like she did as a kid.
She looked straight at me with her startling blue eyes and said, “Inside, I’m still 5 years old.” It was true. I could see the timelessness of her innermost being shining from inside. It was just her body that was old, not her being.
Your being is that same Beingness that she showed me. My being is that same Beingness as well, for there is only One Beingness. That One is being all, including you and including me. When you feel your own essence, your own Beingness filling you from within, you know something that you always wanted to know. You know your own Self. And once you have your own Self, you are free.
In such freedom, nothing and no one can bind you. You can stay or go, it’s simply a choice. Most peoples’ choices are made out of fear or clinging, trying to avoid something or trying to get something. Without fear or clinging, how do you choose?
Your choice comes from freedom that is imbued with knowledge and action. I call it intelligence, that you can use your mind to assess the probable outcomes of different options, then choose one wisely. You can even choose to do nothing. Yet your own deep sense of Self arises within, bring creative options as well as the sheer joy of sharing, moving you into giving generously.
One who knows Self is one who cares and shares. This type of enlightenment is engaged, contributing to the world, but from a place of Knowingness and Beingness. Best of all is the bliss…