Freedom and self-mastery

“… the truly free individual is free only to the extent of his own self-mastery. While those who will not govern themselves are condemned to find masters to govern over them.”

(From The War of Art by Steven Pressfield)


Heaven of Freedom

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

— Rabindranath Tagore (born 7 May 1861)

Admiration Vs Possessiveness

When you see the beauty somewhere, when you fall in love with something, the next impulse that comes in you is to possess it, have it; and, when you have it, it looses all its significance.

— Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

When you see a sunset, in that moment of beauty there is a spontaneous, creative joy. When you wish to repeat that experience again, there is no joy in the sunset; you try to receive that same creative happiness but it is not there. Your mind, not expecting, not wanting was capable of receiving, but having received it is greedy for more and it is this greed that blinds. Greed is accumulative and burdens the mind-heart; it is ever gathering, storing up. Thought-feeling is corrupted by greed, by the corroding waves of memory. Only through deep awareness is this engulfing process of the past brought to an end. Greed, like pleasure, is ever singularistic, limiting, and how can thought born of greed comprehend that which is immeasurable!

— J. Krishnamurti, Ojai 6th public talk, 18 June 1944

A true yogi may admire a beautiful horse, for instance; but those who feel a wish to possess the animal become entangled in Sankalpa, ego-instigated desires. He is a yogi who can remain in any material environment without being involved in likes and dislikes.

— Paramahansa Yogananda, God Talks with Arjuna, p. 593.

Have you not experienced in moments of great ecstasy the cessation of time; there is no past, no future but an intense awareness, a timeless present? Having experienced such a state greed begins its activities and re-creates time, recalling, reviving, looking to the future for further experience, rearranging the pattern of time to capture the Timeless. Thus greed, the becoming, holds thought-feeling in the bondage of time.

So be aware of the present, however sorrowful or pleasant; then it will unfold itself as a time process and if thought-feeling can follow its subtle and devious ways and transcend them, then that very extensional awareness is the timeless present. Look only to the present, neither to the past nor to the future, for love is the present, the Timeless.

— J. Krishnamurti, Ojai 4th public talk, 1945

So, the present moment is all that matters. Drop all efforts to recreate a beautiful experience that you’ve had in the past, for what you think is past is only your own account of what actually happened. Any attempt to recreate your imagination will be a failure. Drop all efforts to possess something you admire. When the feeling of possession comes in, the feeling of admiration goes away. When you try to possess or recreate the past, you are craving, you are being a beggar. But when you can really live in present moment awareness, you are the master of your reality, you have more than all you’ve ever wanted.

So then, start living in the present moment, be open, free your mind, know that the present moment is the only reality, what you think as past and future are just constructs of your mind, figments of your imagination.