Longing for ultimate freedom
There are those who risk their lives to climb the highest mountains. There are also those who enjoy such dangerous activities as bungee jumping or skydiving. Why would some people engage in activities that could put their lives to risk? Is it for happiness? Or is it for some kind of recognition? According to Korean Qigong master Min Jung-ahm, behind adventures, explorations, dangerous activities, and challenges lies a yearning for the sensation of ultimate freedom.
Every one of us is in the pursuit of freedom in one way or another. We long to be free from our responsibilities and obligations. We long to be free from our own expectations of ourselves and of others. We long to be free from our own egos. We long to be free from the pressing sensation of inner burdens that we feel inside.
However, we do not know exactly how to achieve it. Some people focus on worldly success, mistakenly believing that external power can bring them what they want. Yet, outer success often ends up creating more burdens in their hearts.
Read the following story told by Min Jung-ahm very, very carefully.
Once upon a time, there was a salt peddler named Musik. He traveled from one village to another to peddle salt. On a hot summer day, Musik entered a village with all kinds of strange belongings. A big wood was mounted on his back. Small pouches of soil were hanging from his waist. A bulky scarf was tightly wrapped around his neck. In addition, he was carrying in his arms a huge stone. Because of the weight, he was staggering and struggling with every one of his steps. His clothes were drenched in sweat and he looked so tired that he did not seem to be interested in selling his salt.
A townsman, who saw his bizarre appearance, asked. “Hey, young man, why are you carrying a stone? It looks useless to me. “Musik glanced at his arms and saw a stone on the top of his salt-container. “He is right!” Musik said to himself, “Why am I holding this stone?” Wondering to himself, he tossed it away. Without the stone, it became easier for him to walk.
A little later, a lady from the village saw Musik and asked him why he was carrying a big trunk of wood on his back. Musik then realized a wood had been pressing against his back. He thanked the lady for letting him know about the wood and threw it away. Now without the trunk of wood and the stone, his walk became swift.
Some children from the town saw him and laughed at the pouches of soil that were dangling from his waist. Musik untied the pouches from the waist and hurled them to the ground. Now he found himself so lithe that a jovial smile was strewn across his face. He started to shout, “Buy my salt! Buy my salt. Taste the most extraordinary salt in the world.” His merry voice attracted the attention of farmers who were having lunch. They asked Musik for some salt. As they paid money, the farmers glimpsed a scarf around his neck, and asked if he did not feel stifled by such a bulky scarf. Following the advice of the farmers, Musik threw it off.
Now with nothing pressing or binding his body, he could concentrate on peddling his salt with a lithe heart and body. With his effable smile and energetic voice, he kept attracting customers and by the end of the day, he sold all the salt in the container.
Creating ultimate freedom
What do you think of this salt peddler with a big trunk of wood on his back, a huge stone in his arms, several pouches of soil on his waist and a thick scarf around his neck? Does he sound bizarre to you? How difficult must it be to carry them all on a hot summer day? However, this story is not about a strange peddler. He is a metaphor for ordinary people who are pressed under extraneous inner burdens.
Our burdens are also so weighty that they often strain our lives and derail us from our higher paths. However, like Musik who was unaware of his burdens, we do not know what we are carrying inside of us. Most of us are unaware of the fact that we are pressed under heavy inner baggage.
In order to achieve the ultimate freedom, we have to free ourselves from inner baggage. It could be anything that internally suffocate our spirits, such as painful memories of the past, rancor, sorrow, anger, a sense of responsibility, or false self-identities we have constructed albeit unknowingly. Since our inner burdens are not visible to us, we have to turn inward to find them.
When we achieve inner freedom by unloading extraneous inner baggage, our lives become easier. We become lively and energetic since the sensation of freedom unfailingly brings us more energy from the Universe. When we achieve inner freedom, we do not fear anything anymore because we are made aware of the sunny future that lies ahead of us. It is easy to create a happy future when we are happy today. Today we are sowing the seeds that will be reaped tomorrow. Therefore, when our hearts are clouded with sorrow today, we cannot expect a sunny tomorrow.
We can let go of our worries. We can let our spirits soar with joy no matter what happens around us. We do not have to take our lives too seriously. We can laugh. We can laugh at ourselves and laugh at all the absurdities of the external world. We can revel in inner freedom under any circumstances. It is our attitude, our perspective and our mindset that determine how free we feel inside. We can internally liberate ourselves from our education, religious bounds, social expectations and responsibilities.
Inner freedom is our birthright. We can reclaim this birthright and refuse to allow outside conditions to dictate our inner state. We are living in a universe which is governed by the dynamics of Yin and Yang. It means that there always will be both wanted and unwanted events in our lives. However, we have the freedom to feel whatever we choose to feel. We have the freedom and ability to remain happy even in the face of misfortune.
Ultimate freedom and absolute happiness
We achieve ultimate freedom when our inner state is no longer dictated by external conditions. We achieve ultimate freedom when we no longer depend on external conditions for happiness and well-being. Our state of being does not need to be tied to external circumstances. Our happiness does not need to be tied to external conditions. What we go for is absolute happiness, not conditional happiness. We want happiness that remains unscathed no matter what. We have the ability to achieve happiness that flourishes in all conditions. Many spiritual teachers have taught us that happiness is created from within, not from outside. It means that we can attain happiness regardless of external circumstances.
We can follow our hearts, experimenting with our lives in our own ways. When we wake up in the morning, our hearts should be overflowing with joy. When we go to sleep at night, there should be a feeling of peace and happiness in our hearts. Happiness is our natural state. We can unload our emotional baggage and return to our natural state.
Nothing outside can give us freedom. We do not have to attain anything. We do not have to wait for anything. Ultimate freedom is already here. It is already with us right now!