What is Freedom?
Freedom is your natural state of being, your true nature, when you are free from any bondage to your mind.
Freedom is found to be a state of pure self-awareness where you are balanced and settled in your own free self. You find your best you, your happiest you, living with health, clarity and confidence. In this state of freedom, you can relax and enjoy life. You’re no longer driven to behave in ways that make you unhappy. You’re free to be happy!
Freedom also means free from anxiety and fears, and when anxieties and fears are gone, then you’re naturally happier and more joyful. Freedom is a space of perfect contentment, satisfaction and fulfillment, with a deep sense of security and wholeness.
What is Meditation for Freedom?
Meditation for freedom is your direct experience of your innate freedom and joy. In this meditation, with the goal of freedom, you take a pause from following what’s going on in your mind. In this pause, you just watch what’s going on, without reacting to it. This pause is a powerful practice, as it gives you some moments for a new perspective on what you’re thinking. It’s in this pause that you can notice all the kinds of thoughts and perceptions in your mind.
First, sit quietly in meditation and simply watch for some time. Then, start to observe that your mind is forever changing, but you, the watcher of the mind, are forever unchanging. You are always simply present as the watcher of all these happenings. You observe that you are not any of these changes in your mind: you are always watching and knowing the changes.
This unchanging watcher is yourself, and this you is never attached to or caught up in the ever-changing mind.
You might think that you are not meditating because you’re noticing so many thoughts. But the fact is that these thoughts and perceptions are going on all the time in your mind, all day long. In meditation, you simply take some time to pause, sit, close your eyes, and watch your mind’s activities.
Your mind will continue as usual: thinking, perceiving, dreaming, and carrying on a running commentary! But during meditation, you are just watching all the activities, senses and thoughts.
By sitting regularly in meditation, day-by-day, you start to relax about all the activity in your mind, and not be concerned about it. You come to realize that your mind can be more active or less active, but it doesn’t disturb you. You continue to sit and watch throughout any thinking that goes on. You get the sense that the content of your mind might be happy or might be upset, but you are still just sitting in meditation, still, relaxed and watching anything that comes.
Instead of expecting to change the contents of your mind, you come to see that you are already free from what your mind is thinking. You don’t need to worry about what your mind is doing, because you are just sitting and watching it all, like watching a show on television.
Your mind’s attention normally notices what you perceive through your senses, as well as what you’re creatively thinking or remembering. As long as you continue only to pay attention to all of this activity in your mind, without awareness that you’re doing this, then you’ll continue to believe in whatever you happen to perceive or think.
The way to cultivate and grow into freedom consciousness is, firstly, to become aware of what you’re paying attention to at any given moment. It’s been observed by people who meditate, that the mind is infinitely creative in putting its attention on a vast number of things and thoughts. There’s no end to the mind’s power to pay attention to every possible kind of form and event. The more you are aware of what your mind is paying attention to, the more you can become the master of your own mind, and not merely following the mind, being a slave to its constant fluctuations.
Real freedom is found when you can see that your mind is always full of sense perceptions and thoughts, but you know that you are never bound by any of these.
Even if you observe thoughts or emotions in your consciousness, you never need to become attached to any experiences, highs or lows. You observe that your mind still goes through all of these various, ever-changing states and experiences, but now you know that you are always the pure and free watcher of all of your mind’s activities.
You are like the Lotus flower – completely immersed in and one with all the wonderful and changing happenings in the world, and yet forever remaining pure and free and un-mixed in your knowledge of who you really are.
Founder, Padma Meditation
Padma’s New, Online Meditation Course, Finding Freedom, begins May 11, 2016!