How We Present
What is Liberation
by Janet Hoffman
Transcendental Meditation for Women Blog Translate This Article
12 October 2014
When ancient traditions talk about liberation, what do they mean? Liberation from parents? From an oppressive government? From school or our marriage? At the most fundamental level of a human's experience, liberation denotes the fullest development of a person's consciousness, which gives us eternal freedom from all suffering.
Our intellect discriminates among boundaries, identifying this as separate and different from that, it locates and attaches the mind to the distinctions in life. It causes the mind to identify with the parts of life and lose the comprehension of the wholeness of which life is made. I am a student, I am a mother, I am a businesswoman, I am short, I am tall, I am frightened, or happy or excitable. I am not her or him or like them. I am separate.
Like being caught up in the waves of an ocean and not realizing that the waves are just the surface activity of the unbounded ocean, in our minds the consciousness of boundaries predominates over the ultimate pervasive reality that all boundaries are ultimately just appearances or waves of boundlessness. In bondage, the essential Unity of life—the unified field discussed by physics—is hidden and the changing aspects of life seem real. All suffering is attributed to this mistaken identification. It diminishes us, it gives us the sense that something is missing, that we are incomplete, that we are separate from what we need, and we continually feel compelled to find it somehow—in seeking more pleasure, more love, more success, and so on.
Because the desire for more in life is built into our very nature, we continually seek more fulfillment—I really must buy those beautiful shoes, I want a better relationship, I want to get married, I want to get married to someone who can get me beautiful shoes, and so on. In our material world, we habitually, through the senses, seek outwardly for the object of our desire-of-the-moment in order to be fulfilled.
The easiest way for us to fulfill our desires is by taking our awareness to the source of our desires deep within us. The Transcendental Meditation technique takes the mind's attention from the concrete ever-changing field of thought to the silent absolute ocean of awareness within. The experience of this field of fullness not only satisfies the mind, but also gives us the intelligence and creativity to fulfill outward desires in accord with our highest aspirations that become apparent through practice.
Liberation is achieved when the consciousness of the individual innocently locates in its nature that eternal non-changing Unity of life—when our consciousness expands and identifies with our true nature as the ultimate reality of life within ourself and also within all manifest creation. Then the individual mind identifies with the eternal unity of life. In this evolved state, the perception is that change rides within non-change as waves on an ocean-their only reality founded in their source of pure eternal consciousness. In liberation, each separate experience is like a wave rising and falling—we can enjoy the waves while firmly anchored in that which is their source, their course, and their goal. Life is wholeness—and living is the bliss of playing in the variety of the waves of wholeness. This is liberation.
It's completely natural to life to evolve to its full potential—to its wholeness. This is the essentially purposeful, teleological, nature of life—'teleological' means there is an inherent tendency and goal of all phenomena to advance toward the realization of its completely evolved state.
More than half a century ago, Yale botanist and genetics professor Edmund Sinnott gave a clear example of this teleological nature of life. He showed how you can cut off the growing shoot tip of a plant, put it into water or moist sand, and it will regenerate its entire root system. Not only will isolated bits of stem do this but often so will leaf stalks, flower stalks or bits of the leaf blade. In many cases an entire plant can grow from a single cell and presumably every cell has the power to do this in the proper conditions.
Dr Sinnott said, 'This tendency in every living system—to integrate its materials and processes in conformity with a norm which it persistently seeks to reach—emphasizes the essentially teleological character of development and function. The Unity of the organism seems to inhere in the end toward which it is moving.'
So we can understand why our status as an individual is never sufficient until we can incorporate the wholeness of our nature, the Unity of our consciousness, into our otherwise endlessly seeking conscious mind. This is the state of liberation that results from repeatedly transcending thought to the silent unified depths of consciousness during the Transcendental Meditation technique.
Janet Hoffman is the US executive director of the TM Program for Women Professionals
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