Monday, August 29, 2005

Guest Blog - Courtesy of Ma Dukes: The Freedom of the Dry Leaf

[Ed note: coming back from a 4 hour walk 'til 4 am, where oddly enough I stumbled upon a bust of South American revolutionary hero Simon Bolivar in a local park and had a quick polite conversation, I checked this email...]

I think this is a good one. love. mom


The Freedom of the Dry Leaf

The highly esteemed Astavakra Geeta compares the enlightened man (or woman) with a dry leaf (shushka-parna, verse 18:21). Having no desire of his own, without a personal agenda at all, he moves about in the world in utter freedom.

Fear drives us into activity many times and desire does so at other times. Talking of fear, some are afraid of gross things like physical punishment, financial loss or losing some facility or privilege. Others are afraid of not receiving attention, love or regard. We are afraid that our image in others’ eyes will suffer if we do not act in a particular way. Alas, many dynamic people among us are active out of sheer attachment to their image.

The truly free are those whose actions are not prompted by fear. Leave alone clinging to an image, they do not have a self-image! This makes the matter a bit abstract obviously for we cannot generally think of living without a certain self-image. Yet, in true freedom, one lives in a different dimension altogether. The dry leaf has no force inside it that drives it. It just goes with the wind.

Coming to desire, we have typically some imagination of a happy life. We believe happiness comes from certain objects, certain comforts and conveniences and certain ways of being received or talked to. We want them. How did we develop these beliefs? It is surely a set of conditionings. It is the work of memories of our past experiences. With our limited intelligence, we fondly cling to the memory of some objects or people while actually those objects or people may have changed a lot in the meantime.

The truly free are those whose mind is purged of all the psychological memories. They live in the present and are open to new avenues of happiness. A new place, a new acquaintance and so on are welcome. There is no resistance or aversion to change. The dry leaf does not tell the wind not to take it in certain directions.

Fear and desire are psychological factors that drive us from inside. These bind us; factors outside do not. The truly free are those who respond to situations with a fresh mind and go with the flow. Their yes and no arise from a pure evaluation of external factors and there is no personal prejudice, safeguard or agenda at all.

Swami Chidananda

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


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