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It feels so good when walls come down

ElkRmnpIt may be the strongest urge that is in us. The urge to be free.

I came across a great post at www.huffingtonpost.com from the American author and teacher, Gangaji, entitled The Call to Freedom. Gangaji, at www.gangaji.org, is author of The Diamond in your Pocket. Her post was about the infamous Berlin Wall, some portions of which still remain, perhaps as a reminder of history.

When the wall was pulled down, said Gangaji, "it became the proof of freedom's ultimate uncontainability."

She pointed out that while it is easy to see the forces of repression at work on the world scene -- just recently in Iran, for instance – “there is a status quo in our own minds as well as in the governments of the world.

"Freedom's call is usually initially met by our own mental tendencies of repressive containment. We may be called to freedom in the deepest sense, and yet resist that call by our own mental internal guards and censors. Our fear of the unknown can harness our creative, free impulse to soar. We build imaginary walls of separation to try to control what is allowed in or out, and then we cry out against those walls."

Gangaji continued, "We can see that freedom of body, mind, and spirit requires vigilance. The force that builds walls of separation, within our own minds or towards others, requires particular types of thoughts -- thoughts of control, protection, and punishment. When we allow the cry of freedom to arise within us, it penetrates all thought in its promise and revelation of limitless spaciousness of mind."

We all have walls of prejudice and conditioning in us, of course. It is a cause for true celebration when we recognize these walls – face them, acknowledge them, and let them dissolve.

There was euphoria in Berlin when the wall between East and West was removed. And there was joy in me the other day when I saw, as if for the first time, how a little habit of mine was putting up a wall between me and JoAnn sometimes.

I would come across something interesting in the paper, or on the internet, and think to myself, JoAnn needs to see this. So far so good. The trouble was, no sooner would she get settled and start to read whatever it was than I felt this urge to add something into the picture -- explain something just a bit better -- rather than letting whatever it was speak for itself.

It never worked, of course. JoAnn would just get frustrated. “Do you want me to read it or not?” was the response, one way or another, that I got.

The other day I suddenly saw that little quirk for what it was -- saw it before it manifested. Instead of opening my mouth and making a mess of things I just kept quiet.  In a nice, quiet atmosphere,  JoAnn quietly read through whatever it was, and then we considered it together.

A little thing? Sure.

But just as the highest wall starts with just a single brick, so the reverse is true too.  

The beautiful thing about freedom is it already exists. We don't have to make it. It’s already present in each one of us. It's part of our divine nature -- the very core of our being -- just waiting to redeem us and bless us as we let it grow and expand in our lives.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Jill Campana July 15, 2009 at 5:43 am

Gangaji has a wonderful book, “The Diamond in Your Pocket”. She is an exciting author with much to offer into the world of conscious awareness. Thanks for your post!

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Christopher Foster July 16, 2009 at 9:27 am

Thanks Jill. I love “The Diamond in your Pocket.” I bought another book by Gangaji recently, “You Are That.” It’s an ‘expanded collector’s edition.’ Has a lot of great material as well.

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Linda Baran July 20, 2009 at 12:23 pm

Hi Chris,

I love the examples of real life that you give. It helps me stay out of the theoretical and apply your thoughts to my own life. So would you say that freedom is providing space? And providing space sometimes means waiting, giving others (and oneself) enough time to respond on their own? In that sense, freedom requires patience, a quality which I continually have to work at cultivating. Our own society, which we think of as so free, has not cultivated patience. The last time I went through a drive-in at McDonald’s (yes, I do that), the person who gave me my food at the window said, “Sorry about the wait”. It had taken about 2 minutes from the time I placed my order, paid and picked up my food. I don’t think 2 minutes was very long to wait for an entire meal, but our fast-food culture has decided it must be so. This wall of impatience we’ve created for ourselves must be interfering in many ways in our daily lives. I think I’ll spend the rest of the day noticing any time that I’m being impatient and how it might be building a wall between me and others.

Linda Baran

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Christopher Foster July 20, 2009 at 12:43 pm

I think that’s a very good way of phrasing it Linda. “Freedom is providing space.” It turns it around so I’m not just thinking about my freedom, but I’m thinking about someone else’s freedom, how can I enhance that. Then I think we do find when we do this that we inevitably create our own freedom as well. I mentioned the example that was coming up between JoAnn and me. The same circumstance exactly still comes up, where I ask her to read something. It’s a real delight to consciously exercise that patience you’re speaking of, and give her space to do what I asked her to do in the first place. Thanks for your great comment, much appreciated.

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Ingrid Boedecker July 20, 2009 at 7:19 pm

How very true and practical your words are. This has been a topic of consideration for me, of late, and I have discovered those little walls of separation that I had not recognized before….probably from not being in a clear enough space of honesty heretofore. In my world, I also recognize that I have passed many of these walls on to my 14-yr-old daughter, also without having recognized it at the time. So now, as they are coming into the light, I have the opportunity to clear them out for myself and to set a new model for her.

Good to share this work.

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