Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Participating in Possibility Brings Freedom

The United Nations has a declaration of human rights that states in the preamble:  "This Universal Declaration Of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction."

It has 30 sections, and the 27th states:  "Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits."

This got me thinking about what it means to participate in life.  Certainly, it means different things in different spots around the globe.  And, I can appreciate the United Nations boldly stating the ideal for humankind that includes freedom and choice.  But I wonder what it really means to participate in life, especially since in my current life stages, I have given up the ideas of goals and long term plans and surrendered, for the most part, to the calling of the moment.

I say this with the understanding that what calls me in the moment is a direct result of my life's work, my faith and my internal environment (thoughts, feelings, relationships, attitudes.)  This is to say that we never come completely fresh to each moment, we come as we are.  Yet, it seems to me, how we present ourselves to each moment allows possibility for change, growth, freedom, love...

What do YOU think?
Artwork by David Walker.  Many thanks.

18 comments:

Just Another Stupid Blog said...

With my bipolar mind and attention span of a dull two year old, I got lost from the thought of freedom and the last 2 paragraphs, even though I do see a relationship.

I really liked this article as I personal agenda about freedom and yes, if we are able to see past the sum of our experience's, then it can give us freedom.

How to do this? Purposeful efforts!

Thank you Ms. Molly!

Alija said...

I like this:

" But I wonder what it really means to participate in life, especially since in my current life stages, I have given up the ideas of goals and long term plans and surrendered, for the most part, to the calling of the moment.

"

I can say similar thing for myself. I can say for the first time in my life, or better to say..., hmm what to say. Suddenly sunny images from my life in ex Yugoslavia are running through my mind with the speed of light, no much faster. Then follow again sunny images from my 11 years hard working period in Vienna. In this period, still sunny images, I thought I have in Vienna in this period forgotten my non resistance flow, I thought I have abandoned my innate intelligence, but now I am understanding how everything was perfectly in flow.
Due to the entirely resistance free flow life in ex YU as well as to the continuation of our Viennese period followed by 5 incredible years in France with an entirely new way of life acceptance and acceptance by the surrounding I am, thanks to your introduction Molly, extremely happy by summarizing the results of all these changes.
Yes, in each new situation, and I have 5 main life periods starting from Bosnia, via Belgrade, Vienna, France and now Croatia and Vienna, in each new situation I was very fresh and ready to accept any kind of challenge. In each of these periods I had a feeling the sky is protecting me in spite of many and big mistakes I did in these periods.
This non resistance flow brought me here where all my main puzzles have been solved. This site, this forum helped me very much on my path.

However, dear Molly, I am not able to agree with your sentence

" Yet, it seems to me, how we present ourselves to each moment allows possibility for change, growth, freedom, love..."


I do not believe in a free will. Maybe in some, very limited extent. I believe in a Mental Universe for which we have more than enough proves.

tlc said...

I think it is possible for us to present ourselves completely fresh to each moment and actually live in that possibility instead of being limited by the past. If we come as we are to the moment, then we are bringing all those same thoughts, feelings, relationships, and attitudes right along with us, and they will dictate our present and by doing so, continue to dictate our future present. I love living in the moment, which does not necessarily mean that I am stupid about the past, it just means that I don't have to be limited by it.

Good post...*

Don said...

I think your comments are interesting, especially w/respect to working with the moment, or as I've heard it expressed, 'working with our karmic script'. It seems to me that to the extent that we interrupt the moment with our particular egoic self, we miss the entirety of the karmic event unfolding right in front of us. In the moment is the movement of life and the tasks we are assigned to by karma. To the extent we participate fully in that moment, in that very immediate movement, is our relationship with life renewed. Keeping free of 'me' in the moment - that seems key.

Mark said...

Perhaps that 'freshness' you speak of coming into the moment/challenge/circumstances or event is within that sentinel event & not within us as such? We bring all our previous experiences/knowledge & understanding to the moment and something wonderful is available to us then. The freshness of the new, coupled with our creative experiences offers immense possibilities for growth and service. I recall reading that Krishnamurti spoke of the importance of the passion we must bring to life and in that passion we experience has an immense energy. Meister Eckhart described us as living in the eternal moment, the American author Sherwood Anderson described life as a 'history of moments.'

This may sound odd but I wonder if the mystery of time may somehow be connected to freedom? In that perhaps time is sheer potential- and we may seize the moment and make it ours for good, ill or inertia- it's still ours to do with it as we will. The past, present & future is spent, available and unrealized potential requiring human freedom to impress ourselves upon that moment or not, 'Carpe Diem' is not just a mere catch-phrase but an attitude toward life. It just struck me that humans may be the only member of the animal kingdom or strata within the spiritual hierarchy that can seize the moment which presents itself. Just wondering...

My personal credo comes from Thomas Paine, "My country is the world and my religion is to do good." this as always served me well as a guide for participating in the cultural life of my community.

Thomas said...

Freedom comes only through knowing the answer to "who am I?" No faith, proclamations, documents, laws et al has one iota of impact on finding the answer. The whole key is awareness, the whole answer is simply to Be Here Now.

"Freedom" means freedom from the mind. Then you are simply in a silence, and in that silence you melt, you merge with the whole. And to melt and merge with the whole is to be holy. Not by fasting, not by torturing, but by becoming one with the whole, one becomes holy." Osho

Prem said...

The freedom from something is not true freedom.
The freedom to do anything you want to do is also not the freedom I am talking about.
My vision of freedom is to be yourself.
It is not a question of getting freedom from something. That freedom will not be freedom, because it is still given to you; there is a cause to it. The thing that you were feeling dependent on is still there in your freedom. You are obliged to it. Without it you would not have been free.
The freedom to do anything you want is not freedom either, because wanting, desiring to do something, arises out of the mind -- and mind is your bondage.
The true freedom certainly comes after choiceless awareness, but after choiceless awareness the freedom is neither dependent on things nor dependent on doing something. The freedom that follows choiceless awareness is the freedom just to be yourself. And you are yourself already, you are born with it; hence it is not dependent on anything else. Nobody can give it to you and nobody can take it from you. A sword can cut your head but it cannot cut your freedom, your being.
It is another way of saying that you are centered, rooted in your natural, existential self. It has nothing to do with outside.
Freedom from things is dependent on the outside. Freedom to do something is also dependent on the outside. Freedom to be ultimately pure has not to be dependent on anything outside you.
You are born as freedom............................Osho

Dan said...

It seems like common sense to fully embrace each moment, to be, act, think, feel all from now; to do anything else is to waste a great deal of our lives. And yet it is precisely that state of being which most of us have such a hard time attaining.

Our circumstances are the result of many complex processes, but if one believes in karma then it all comes down to oneself anyhow. There is nowhere to begin except where one is.

Does this mean that we should not plan for the future, or have goals that cannot be realized immediately? Can living in the moment and planning for the future find a balance?

Don said...

Time impies a past, present, future. But time is only an idea, it is only a thought - a concept. The past and future don't exist. So, does freedom, psychologically speaking, could mean to be free of the idea of time - right? And if we are free of idea-making (thought), then we stand a pretty good chance of being here in the immediate moment - no? If we're not free, we cannot be involved in this immediate moment, and in the very movement of the universe. We're stuck somewhere else. We're stuck in our thoughts and concepts. Stuck in the past, or future. Krishnamurti, as you know, has talked a lot about this.

If this is true, then why do we tolerate being stuck in the same old mess? I guess we like to hang onto our thoughts and ideas. We prefer ideas instead of freedom.

But if only we could find our way to be free to look without the filter of the past, or future, would we then really be able to see clearly? Are our notions of time (and though in itself) our only impediment to seeing? I think that there is also the matter of the 'me'.. Is that matter simply a construct of time as well - or something more fundamental?

Mark said...

I appreciate your observations. Time measurement is an artificial construct of thought as you say, but I would not go so far as to become an idealist w/ the idea & deny it's impact on sentient beings. The impermanence of the physical world demonstrates this. As Jacob Needleman said, 'time management is self management.' We have all the time in the world- but to me the question of time spiritually & psychologically is our relationship with it. As a child of the 1950's I recall seeing a children's science TV program about aliens from a planet without time who visit an Earth scientist and ask 'what time is it on our planet?' As the scientist explains to them- as you have no time on your planet- then you can decide when time begins anytime you want it to begin. Truly a mind opening experience for a kid!

Thus for me viewing time as potential energy moves it beyond the compartmentalized boundaries of past, present & future and may allow us to live in the present moment fully. It is a question that intrigues me.

Molly, sorry I have departed from the intent of your post.

Darsh said...

I also believe engaging with Possibility, which may appear to some as Impossibility, divines a great appreciation of Freedom. It conceives the Hope wherewithout We could not live possibly. I enjoy you have posted something interesting actually.

Molly Brogan said...

I don't see your post as a departure from the intent of my post, Mark, and appreciate your remarks. Observations about our constructs of time are important, as they shape our lives and experience. "Possibility, which may appear to some as Impossibility, divines a great appreciation of Freedom" This is an important statement to me Darsh, as it includes the divine in possibility and our perception in our experience of our moment.



I think the story of Abraham and Isaac on the mountain of what the Lord has seen, is a diagram for living in the moment. If we give up all our forms, ideas, constructs, loves, identity - to the divine in the moment, we get back everything we are and more. With our true selves, when we can give up of our mental constructs like memories, speculations (time) and other parts of our experience that identify us, and give divine will or the Lord or spirit - our eternal selves fully to the moment - the rest of us falls into place and is given back to us according to our highest potential.



There is no doubt that who we are, the way we manage our relationships, jobs, time, homes...is important because it is our finite individuality. It seems to me that true freedom comes to us when we are willing to give that up to the greater will that includes all possibility and is infinite (within us.) We then, get it all back, and more. This mechanism may be what some call Karma. Or manifestation. Or experience. If so, then simply seeing the whole world as the United Nations decrees - with the right to participate in and enjoy life, and living this will be enough. No?

Francis Hunt said...

Freedom is a continuous dance between the past and the future, taking place in the now.

It is an essential part of what we are and yet it can be curtailed in so many ways, by situations, by ourselves, our histories, our fears, our pain.

But we can always rise above them and experience that freedom which is always there (because it is part of us) as the people of Egypt have been doing in the past week - despite oppression, and fear, and uncertainty.

Our freedom shows us what our choices are, what is to be done in every moment. But we can, of course, blind ourselves to its possibilities. That too is our choice, in the end. And the responsibility - the inevitable twin of freedom - remains ours too.

Mark said...

The biblical story of Abraham and Issac as always seemed to me to be an example of blind faith for the secular of us and trusting in God for the faithful. I do see the point of relinquishing all preconceptions to follow the divine in the moment as reflected in the story.

Yet there is something that makes me wonder if we become more true to ourselves when we are free to question authority even the authority of a deity. Free thoughts & free deeds is a human right & not a granted or earned token from a capricious god or government. Is not Karma the ultimate demonstration of individual freedom and self reliance?

Molly Brogan said...

When individuality and unity are not integrated, there is authority separate from us and karma (cause and effect.) The paradox of integrated individuality and unity is that not only are we individuals, digging in our gardens now, but everyone that is living, ever will and ever has in all time and in unity. We move from one to the other through "awakened imagination," or our capacity for imagination that forms our living experience. Our ability to live "as if" we are unified with all life takes us beyond the cause and effect of karmic ties, beyond the constructs of time, and shows us the divine order in life. This grace is our real authority.

Sue said...

I have enjoyed reading this topic immensly. Dan, I will address a question you asked, "Can living in the moment and planning for the future find a balance?" and I will do it with a story I wrote for a blog a few years ago. It was an eye opening experience for me and one that I remind myself of often when my world seems out of balance.



Spring Story

Isn’t it funny that when we set about to teach something we somehow end up learning in the process? Sometimes it works out that way and I am grateful and give thanks to the universe when I am paying attention enough to see it. I have a niece; she is eight and quite the character. I am blessed to spend a lot of time with her. She is a constant source of education and entertainment for me. This is a story about one such time. I will call this my spring story. I am always trying to point out to her, be grateful for what you have, and by doing that you will always have enough. Sometimes I find myself in lecture mode and I hear me yammering on and on and I just can’t seem to stop myself in my quest to make her understand. Sometimes everything aligns in such a way that we both learn in the process.

It is warm here already, a very warm spring. I was out in the yard, enjoying the weather; I had cleaned the pool getting it ready. We will use it soon. It is still a bit too cool, but it will not be long. I had moved to the front yard and was weeding flowerbeds and fertilizing my roses, getting everything ready so they will bloom.

My niece came out to the yard to see what I was doing and sat on the front porch. I am always amazed at the way children go about making a point and always curious to see what they will come up with next.

She was sitting there on the porch rail watching intently, or so it seemed, and she said “Aunt Sue.” "Yes Shelbi." I said. “I want to be normal." she said. I laughed and turned to face her wondering what this was about and said “Shelbi, you are going to have to define normal for me; what you think it means?"

She said, “Well I know you told me I should want to be doing what I’m doing now, and I have to appreciate what is but, sometimes I just want stuff and I don’t want to wait." I grinned and said, “Shelbi, you are not going swimming, get over it. The water is still too cool, and the pool is not ready.”

Sue said...

(cont.)
She and I had gone over this earlier while I was putting chemicals in the pool and I was tickled at the way she approached it again.

She took in a deep sigh and said, “How did you know I was talking about that”? I said, “I know.”

I told her you have to appreciate what you have when you have it or it is just like not having it at all. I asked her, “Do you understand what I mean?" She said, “No, not really.”

I just said okay and walked back over to the flowerbed to continue my weeding. I looked down, there was a little yellow flower on one of my plants blooming so I picked it, and brought it back over to her and said, “Here, here is a flower for you.” She took it, smiled, and said, “Thank you”. I looked down and there was a little wild flower blooming right beside us. I picked that and gave it to her. She thanked me again.

I said, “They are pretty aren’t they, what do you think about these flowers?" She said, “I think they are very pretty, they make me feel good.”

I told her, “You see my flower bed here, in it there is a rose bush, two rose bushes and they are not blooming yet. It is not time. You can sit here with your pretty little flowers in your hand and look at the rose bush and think about it blooming, wish it were blooming, imagine it blooming, but it is not blooming. And if you keep your attention on those rose bushes, these in your hand, what will happen to them?" “They will wilt and not be so pretty.” She said.

"Shelbi." I said. "If you keep your focus on that rose, all you can do is imagine its beauty. If you pull your attention to what you have right now in your hand, you can see it, love it, and appreciate it. You can plan. That is what I am doing in a way. I’m cleaning my flower bed and putting fertilizer on the rose so it will have nice blooms in its time. I am anticipating possibilities. I enjoy working with the earth and love being outside so I am in this moment."

Shelbi's face was serious, set in deep concentration and then she cocked her head, looked at me, and said. “Oh, I get it.” The funny thing was, so did I.

Sharon said...

Dan you were speaking about living in the moment and asked: "Does this mean that we should not plan for the future, or have goals that cannot be realized immediately? Can living in the moment and planning for the future find a balance?"

As Ekarte Tole said, "the moment is all we have, might as well make friends with it". So while I am in this moment, I know that its important for me to plan for retirement, make out my will, plan meals for next week, plan the next article on my blog, think about the possibilities for the TS in the future, etc. These things can't wait, I need to do it now. So yes Dan I can for sure plan for the future.

We only imagine that there is another moment in time, but alas this is it, the past is a memory (thought forms which we keep active by projecting our awareness back to them and energizing them) and the future is a projection of plans or ideas.

We project ideas for the future, and turn it into a thought form that we shape our actions in the "now" towards. I guess its a fine line between remaining aware in the present moment and projecting ourselves into a thought form of the future. i.e. When I get another job I will be happy.

We need to be aware, in the present moment, of what we are doing when we make plans. We are using Kriyashakti, the creative force of visualization and will, to bring something into being (even though most people are unaware of this). Every time we think about it, more energy is added to it. Just stay aware in the present moment when you are creating the future, and be empowered to be flexible and change the projection to meet the moving moment in time. And above all - have good intention - be aware of your intention in the moment that you plan something - stay on the side of the Spiritual Light - observe yourself in the present moment. That's how I plan the future and stay in the present moment simultaneously.

There can certainly be the choice of making no future plans and let what will happen, just happen. Then nothing is coming towards you that you have projected. No plans to meet other people, no future ideas for the web site, no mandate to follow and all the "other" will take over and do its thing - with you just observing.

HPB and the masters had a vision for humanity. HPB kept the message clear and never wavered - truth!