For any spiritual seeker, self-liberation is a foundational practice.
But, what, exactly, is self-liberation? What does it mean to be free from the trappings of the world, and free from yourself? In this post we’ll take a look at some of the foundations of personal freedom, and how you can attain them.
What Is Self-Liberation?
When pondering self-liberation, it is easy to become confused before you even begin. We have a tendency to put this concept on a pedestal alongside one’s ability to become enlightened, and consequently we often think that it isn’t feasible or realistic for most people.
The truth is, there are many ways to be spiritual in the modern world, and self-liberation is one of them. While it is not synonymous with enlightenment, it shares many of the same core principles.
Understanding “I am.”
The first, and one of the most foundational, ideas behind self-liberation is a proper understanding of “I am.”
The very fact that you are reading this is evidence of your existence. And, since you exist, you cannot not-exist.
Certainly, the circumstances of how you exist change. You now live, and will one day die, but this does not change the fact of your existence.
Understanding this point has tremendous potential for self-liberation. It moves you from thinking of yourself on egoistic terms, and moves you into a higher perspective.
In short: you shift from thinking. “I am [name/thing].” to the thought, “I am.”
I am is broader, more encompassing, and more accurate. It is a better description of your innate essence, because it thinks beyond the physical plane, and identifies your core energy of Beingness, or Is-ness.
Freedom from Duality
Another aspect of self-liberation is to gain freedom from duality.
In many respects, this is also constrained by the ego and the physical world. The physical world is a dualistic system. There is up and down, here and there, cold and warm, lack and abundance, and love and fear.
Each of these ideas is like a two-sided coin. So long as you remain focused on one side of the coin, you cannot see the other side, nor can you see the entire coin as a single thing.
Moving beyond dualism is a move beyond physical perception, to begin to see the unity, the wholeness that is present in all things. You can appreciate that light exists because we also have darkness, each is embedded within the idea of the other.
Buddhism discusses this concept through the use of the four worldly dharmas, which are 4 pairs of ideas that cause suffering, for exapmle, the idea of pleasure versus pain. The point is to recognize that the existence of one element implies the existence of the other.
Thus, the goal is never to get your circumstances to look a certain way, or to achieve anything on the physical plane, but rather to get to the point at which you can conceptually move beyond that idea, so you are not constrained by it.
Becoming Present In The Now
Whether you are just starting your spiritual journey, or have been practicing mindfulness and meditation for years, the foundation of self-liberation rests in the present moment.
In order to accept this, you must learn to release all notions of past and future, in order to rest more firmly in The Now.
This eternal Now is the true essence of your existence, and brings with it an ineffable state of joy, peace, and love. Liberation is the act of becoming one with the current moment.
When you are mindful, when you sit to meditate, take the time to reduce unnecessary thoughts and find inner peace, you empower yourself to experience the wonder and bliss of your own presence.
Just as with the understanding of “I am” mentioned above, this act will allow you to experience more directly your own Being-ness.
This is the foundation of self-liberation.