We have to dare to be free. Why? Because fear prevents us from taking the decisions that lead us to live and feel our full freedom. We should dare to let go because dependencies trap us. Let us look at a story that shows us what happens.
It is the story of a bird that, after having flown for a long time, leans on the branch of a tree to rest. While resting, it finds the wellbeing of staying there until, little by little, it gets the idea that its life is on the branch. When a day arrives on which it asks itself why it doesn’t carry on flying, it says “Oh, this branch is stuck to me and I can’t fly!” The bird blames the branch. In reality, the bird has got stuck to the branch. It has the capacity and the wings to fly but its perception is clouded. It no longer sees its purpose with clarity or its potential to reach it. The freedom of the bird is in its wings but it has got stuck onto the branch. That is the reality that it has created for itself.
The freedom of a human being is in his or her awareness. But when their awareness has got stuck onto the branch (the object of their attachment) and they begin to blame the branch for their impossibility to free themselves, then they are trapped. When our awareness is clouded and we are clinging on, we do not see with clarity and neither do we exercise our freedom and let go.
Another example of how dependencies trap us, is that of the monkey; you can trap a monkey by giving it a jar with peanuts in it. The monkey puts its hand in the jar to get the peanuts. On having its hand full of peanuts it can’t get it out of the jar, so it has got trapped. To free itself the only thing it has to do is let go of the peanuts and that way it will be able to take its hand out. That is how we are at times; we don’t let go and we stay trapped in situations, in people, in the past.
Along the way, we will find a lot of jars with peanuts in and branches to settle down on – many scenes that will attract us and please us. The dependency begins, almost without our realizing, when we begin to feel the desire to be in these situations. The pleasure turns into desire, the desire turns into need and the need turns into habit, then to dependence and finally into an addiction. It is fine to enjoy the branches, but let us keep awake and alert – conscious of our freedom – in order not to fall into dependence; enjoying the branch or jar without it trapping us.
An example of how the pleasure turns into desire, the desire into need, the need into habit, habit into dependence and finally the dependence into an addiction – process (explained yesterday) takes place can be seen in some smokers. The smoker, little by little, liked smoking, then desired to smoke, then needed to smoke; he/she created the habit of smoking, it turned into a dependence and finally into an addiction. It began because he liked it but it ended up generating that addiction.
We live disconnected from ourselves, with a lot of unnecessary dependencies and needs. When you think that you need to smoke, you believe something that is not true. What does it mean that you need to smoke? Negative effects of smoking on the body are well known; we already breathe in enough pollution from cars and we do not need to breath in more unnecessary smoke. However, the person who smokes believes that it is a need and, while they believe it, they don’t realize, or if they do realize, they don’t want to accept that it is an unnecessary dependence.
This process can happen in many other cases: emotional, mental and physical dependencies and addictions towards people, objects and ideas. When we are hooked we lose emotional, mental and intellectual control over our inner selves and in our awareness. The solution is in knowing how to let go.
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