Friday, January 13, 2006

Desire for Liberation

The Second Sunday After Epiphany
Jesus said: Do not lie; and do not do what you hate, for all things are manifest before Heaven. For there is nothing hidden that shall not be revealed and there is nothing covered that shall remain without being uncovered.
- Thomas
There are many desires we can have, most of them arise in us unseen, unknown, unconscious. They are, perhaps, the most dangerous forces within us. To have a desire is to believe it can be satisfied. But there is always an end to satisfactions, and never an end to desires. Getting, or seeming to get, what we desire is the biggest trap on the path to liberation. We are all susceptible to the monkey trap: the piece of fruit we reach into the jar to grasp, and will not let go of—even though we cannot remove our hand if we don't. And we yearn for the comfort of the trap: of seeming to have what we think we want and not having to seek further, though all it will ever give us is bondage.

We all know people who have struggled to free themselves from one form of bondage or another, an abusive relationship say, only to return to it or to something just like it. Look around you and see souls trapped in patterns that will be repeated, in chains they will re-forge if broken, until death or until the work of bringing them to consciousness is done.

It seems like an easy choice, consciousness or slavery to unconscious patterns and desires. And it is an easy choice, but the easy choice is slavery. What is unconscious is unconscious for a reason and it will not come easily into the light. There will be anguish and anxiety to deal with before consciousness can be fully brought to bear. And it is the taste of this that usually drives it all back into the unconscious—to be repeated.

The far more difficult choice seems to be to face the harsh glare of consciousness shining on the problem that has been left to grow in the dark, and that we have invested much time, energy, and identity in keeping that way. Yet the light only seems harsh because we have spent so much of our time in the darkness, and are only now coming out into the daylight. And it is only difficult and painful because of the number of times we have chosen to remain in the darkness, chosen the trap.

Sure, we can all see it in the big negative patterns: in addiction, abuse, and the like; but what of the small things? What about something as simple as desiring attention, or to be appreciated? Or the desire for love? The nature and scope of the desire may effect the nature and scope of the trap, but never whether there is one—there always is one. An unconscious desire for attention can wrap a person's entire life around it and be just as unfulfillable as an unconscious desire to find wholeness in the arms of another. The only hope of freeing ourselves from the slavery this choir of desires leads us continually into is consciousness. For in consciousness there is the only desire that will satisfy itself—the desire for liberation.

People often think that they desire liberation, but it is not often the case that they do. Those who shout for liberty and freedom in the world are most often the ones working hardest to curtail them. So that, “freedom” usually means “my own brand of dictatorship,” or, “to remake the world in my own image;” or perhaps, the freedom to sink back into old patterns and habits—into unconsciousness.

True liberation can only come from the light of consciousness revealing all that is hidden, uncovering all that is covered—bringing the truth which sets free. Even the most lavish of cells, the most gilded of cages, cannot change it's essential nature; and we can only remain inside if we keep that nature from consciousness. The desires that arise from the unconscious, all direct us towards one seemingly wonderful cage or another. Only the desire of consciousness directs us beyond the bounds of any cage, of any container.

When the Lord was asked to give rules of behavior, he said only, “Do not lie; and do not do what you hate.” The reason given is that all is known to the divine, and all shall be revealed and uncovered. This should not be viewed in the common sense as some kind of shame being poured upon those whose faults are revealed. Rather, it is simply stating the fact that we may play tricks of mind upon ourselves, and continue splits of consciousness that helped us survive earlier crises—but we are only fooling ourselves, in the smallest sense of the word.

The most effective way to lie is to believe the lie yourself, in effect lying to yourself. And what is “doing what you hate,” except a form of lying by act and deed? We might rephrase it as, 'don't try to fool yourself, and don't try to fool others—for, ultimately, no one is fooled.' How sad it would be to live out your life only to find out that it had been so much taken up with efforts to fool yourself and others—only to still be faced with the truth.

To free ourselves from a destiny of such small tragedy we must refine our consciousness, and refuse any cage not matter how much we may desire it: seeking our true freedom in an earnest desire for liberation. For it is the only desire that leads us to the only end of desires—the glory of the fullness. It is always the most difficult path, for it is the only real path that leads to the only true destination.

Readings for the day

1 comment:

Adaire said...

I'm trying, I'm really trying.