There are those things we want and the things wanted from us. Liberating ourselves from the servitude to our wants frees us to be dedicated to what is wanted from us.
It’s time for every single one of us to be a slave to fewer things. If we want to experience a liberating free life, we need to make that happen. We all want so many things and at the very same time, so many things are wanted from us. The things we want are those self-oriented wantings, which enslave us. And what is wanted of us is the purpose we were put here for.
At any given moment you and I know that there are things that we want; I want to sleep, I want to relax, I want to enjoy, I want to indulge. And at that same moment, there are things wanted from us, to step up and do and produce and be there for, et cetera. And it’s the person who has the power, the conviction, the liberty to be able to control where their life is going and what their life is dedicated to as opposed to being controlled by their inner wants that is truly the free person.
We can split life experiences into two simple categories. There are things that we choose to do and there are things that we don’t choose to do, they are things which happen to us. There are things that we do, there are things that happen to us. And in both of these categories, we can make ourselves less and less enslaved.
Let’s talk about the first category, what we choose to do. When we have an urge to do something, when we want something, which is classically coming from our feelings and from our emotions because as much as we like to believe that we are very intellectual thinking, heady people, we are actually driven primarily by our emotions. So when we want something, we need to stop that want for a moment and go to our head and ask our head whether this want is actually good for me or is just taking me to a place of convenience and of comfort and of pleasure.
If we let our feelings lead us, we are enslaved to our feelings. When we practice letting our head lead and direct and instruct our feelings, we have begun going down the road of liberation. Because a healthy person is always led by their thoughts and their feelings are directed by those thoughts. An unhealthy person has feelings and only uses their thoughts to justify the feelings that they have. Liberation is getting less and less out of our feelings and more and more in our head.
This does not mean that feelings should be quashed, that feelings are a problem, that we shouldn’t be feeling, emotive people, that we should be stoic. No, not at all. Feelings are extremely powerful, enriching and beautiful, and we should all bring out as much emotion as we can in life. But they need to be emotions which are being directed by a perspective and that perspective has to come from everything we study and directed by the way we think. Otherwise, our thoughts become the hostage of our feelings and we become enslaved people.
When I need this candy because I worked so hard today, that is just a justification for something that I want. When I can’t help my friend because I have too much going on in my life, very often it’s just a justification of what we want. When we can get out of what we want and say, okay, but what is the right thing to do? What do my values tell me to do despite the fact that I don’t want to do it? Then our head can control our heart. And that is when a person begins to experience freedom. The more we strengthen our head, the less our feelings control us.
Then there is the second category, the things that happen to us, not the things we choose to do but just the things that show up in our life against our will. They are the things that are happening to us. And with those things we need to simply practice asking ourselves, why is this happening for me? Because there’s always light in darkness. And even when things happen to us which we don’t want in our life, we can either be enslaved to them ‑‑ and we are enslaved when we protest them and we get angry about them, why does this have to be. Clearly, there is an outside element that is controlling us and that’s why we’re protesting it. However, when we begin to liberate ourselves, what we do is realize and search for the light in the darkness. Because there is always light in every single darkness. And when we extract that light, we all know what happens. Immediately all of the darkness disappears.
We need to be willing to look for that light. If we don’t look for that light, we’re the classic person who says, oh, don’t tell me about light and darkness, it’s a bunch of nonsense. This situation is miserable and it’s unfair and so on and so forth. And we can stick there, we can stay in the darkness. However, it’s not going to make our lives any better. It will only make sure the darkness lasts a lot longer and we will be enslaved to those experiences that happen to us.
Or, we can simply say, hey, is there a way for me to turn this around? And the way to turn it around is to look for the light in the darkness. The Jewish people were enslaved in Egypt for 210 years. But out of that darkness of 210 years of slavery, which is beyond what my imagination can even grasp, they came out and were formed as a people out of that experience. We cannot be enslaved to the dark, we need to make it our ascent. We would rather we didn’t have any darkness and did not have to find the light, but that’s not reality. The reality is that we have darkness that has light embedded in it. And when we discover the light, we actually experience a dimension of life which is far deeper than what we experienced before.
So let’s turn this time into a time where we are going to be a slave to fewer things by having our head lead our heart more often and by asking ourselves, why is this happening for me?