One morning in my balcony I had an unspoken conversation with a bird, a blooming flower and the wind. They are very lucky, I thought to be free all the time since rules and traditions did not chain them down nor were they slaves to their material needs. The whistling wind, the smiling flower and the chirpy bird urged me to open my blindfold, look inward and find my own freedom . Thereon it has been a journey and I have defined these 7 steps from my own experience of being there, felt that. I am fluctuating between Step 5 and Step 6 and have taken a step towards 7 by writing a letter to Thought. If you resonate with what I experienced, I would love to hear from you.
Step 1: Slave of Negative Thoughts – Feels hopeless often wallowing in self pity that the world is against them and nothing is going right. Highly sensitive, often plays the victim role, seeking sympathy from the world around. Generally, refuses to believe that it is not the world but them who need to make an effort to change and tends to slip into depression. They are unaware of a pattern playing out in their lives which they need to break and when they do the next step makes an appearance.
Step 2: Looking for Help – Reads Self Help Books and there are occasional flashes of sudden awareness that life is not cruel after all. However feels that everything written in the books work for a select few and the probable results mentioned are too good to be true. Is extremely critical about self and strongly feels that luck is not on their side. Wallows in self pity frequently. When they realize that all the barriers they face are created by the cobwebs in their mind they look for the next step to take charge.
Step 3: Desire to Take Charge – Strong urge to apply all that is written in the books they read or lectures they hear. Frequently posts quotes read in books and heard from others in social media and parrots the lines in social do’s. The eyes and actions speak otherwise since the conviction is not as firm as it should be. With doubts in mind, swings between bouts of positive emotions and the negative, often questioning, if all this is for real in solitude. Awareness and Thought run in parallel where awareness takes the lead for a brief while but Thought quickly catches up. Has a deep issue(s) for which they are seeking instant solution. If only they realized, nothing happens instantly, patience and determination are key. When they are ready to take the plunge they start evaluating the various paths available.
Step 4: Choosing a Path to Freedom – Comes out of the closet and goes spiritual shopping. Attends all kinds of spiritual courses, buys books and CD’s, goes in search of gurus and strongly believes that at the end of the course and a few days of practice all issues will be solved. After a few days of practice, slowly becomes irregular, loses a bit of faith in the guru(s) and tends to give up looking for the next course or the next guru. Here ego in the form of thought is playing hide and seek with awareness. Ego loves its slaves and cannot bear to lose one but the wise one manages to break through with the realization that all paths end up at the same place and a guru is but a guide and not a magician.
Step 5: Identifying the Suitable Path(s) to Freedom – The sudden glimpses of freedom generates a strong desire to follow a path. The gravitate towards the path that serves their need and respects all other. Slowly, gives up reading self help books, and the spree to attend every and other spiritual course almost comes to an end with the strong realization that all that is outside is within us waiting to be discovered. The mind and the body are aligned and ready to walk the chosen path. Sometimes there is a tendency to force everyone on the chosen path which results from the fear of being alone.
Step 6: Walking the Path to Freedom – Begins to contemplate, journals feelings and understandings and evaluates self without judgment. Every situation, every interaction is viewed with 360 degree awareness and mistakes, regrets now appear to be lessons that were difficult to learn since they resisted it. Realizes all that happened in life was nothing but a tough exam. The mind is generally positive occasionally tending to slip into judgement or a negative train of thought which is immediately thwarted by the calling of inner voice. Awareness overpowers Thought and a strong desire to get out of the clutches of thought begin.
Step 7: Freedom at Last – Finally, its only awareness and thought has disappeared, lives in the now harnessing the power of now and the glow of the smile is noticed by all. The person easily becomes an observer in every situation and disconnects from the ego I which leads to a state of Bliss.