Spiritual Freedom?

Posted: 20/11/2011 in Freedom, Insight, ONE planet
Tags: , ,

There is a spiritual freedom that is worth trying to describe – my own experience is limited and I would love to know of better descriptions and experiences thereof. This freedom can be reached when there is a sense of self-realisation, that all personal needs and desires have either been met or controlled, and then your mind is totally free. Let’s begin by looking at these needs and desires that have to be met. The first needs are those of human survival, that the basic needs of food and home have been met. Sadly because of the 1% there are people in this world for which these simple needs are never met, if Nature was left alone and some people were not so greedy these basic needs would never be a problem.

Beyond this survival level satiating desires is far from clear. One might imagine that the 1% are free from desire but this is far from true. Such people live in a world where they have far more money and far more possessions than they could ever possibly want, and yet they still are not happy. For them desire has taken over, and they have lost their humanity to this desire – whether they admit this or not. They might live in a world where they have power where lackeys and hangers-on are subservient, and they might live with an illusion of happiness. But with their greed taking over their desire just grows, they require more even though they have far more than enough. They can never be happy whilst these desires hold them, they can never be free because desire traps them. At the same time they can never be free whilst they lack compassion, living with compassion is an essential freedom; how can the 1% ever be free?

This discussion of the needs for survival for all people, and the discontent that underrules the lives of the 1%, points to what is needed for freedom – basic needs met, control of desire and living in compassion. Let me develop these conditions for freedom. Basics need little explanation, fundamental to this position is an understanding that Nature will provide. In some ways accepting this is an act of faith, Nature will provide if humanity is not greedy. What is clearly unacceptable is that there are people in this world who have the money hidden in their bank accounts, money that could provide food and homes for the people who are dieing of hunger. How can that ever be called humanity? Whilst I am tempted to demand that these bank accounts be emptied that would not be a solution -even though correcting this financial inequity is a precursor of freedom for all, but some imbalances could be corrected with humanity – genuine humanity and not the self-interested paternalism of people like Bill Gates. His supposed generosity is simply disguised investment to promote his social desires eg increased computers in school, GM foods etc. Most of the benefaction of the current phase of philanderers can be recognised as maintaining the status quo or increasing inequalities to the benefit of the 1%. It is genuine giving, rather than giving with furtive purpose, that is compassionate, what is needed is quality rather than examining the quantity of money that is apparently “given”.

Compassion is the most important of these needs and desires, and being compassionate is a fundamental prerequisite for freedom. Freedom is an expression of the heart as is compassion, in a state of genuine compassion freedom can fly. Such freedom comes not from the amount of a gift or donation, but from the intention. If the heart is true it becomes free.

But that heart can never be free whilst it is shackled by desire. This is much harder to understand. People respond to this by saying that desire is natural – the obvious one being sexual desire. We all experience sexual desire, it is a fact of life. But the issue of desire is control, and perhaps in some ways control is not the best word. As a heterosexual male, does control of my desire mean having sex with every woman who turns me on? Is control of sexual desire satiation? Does that mean that people who are promiscuous are happy? Far from it. There is a balance, and this balance comes from placing sexual desire in a context and living with it. One example of this would be a happy family where the desires of a roving eye are not satiated, but a man and wife seek mutual satisfaction with the recognition that the integrity of their family is more important. Balancing desire is control, it is neither indulgence nor is it repression, it is simply balance – not too little not too much.

Once our needs and desires have been met, there is no internal imperative. No mind jumping here there and everywhere spinning out of control. The mind does not want to go anywhere, it becomes calm and peaceful, and from a position of self-realised satisfaction the heart and mind become free. Freedom.

Whilst this is not likely to be what Chomsky was describing when he wrote “the vital concrete possibility for every human being to bring to full development all the powers, capacities, and talents with which nature has endowed him, and turn them to social account”, there is absolutely no inconsistency with what I have described. Reaching a consensus for understanding how such a state of mind might arise is perhaps a way forward where anarchism meets spirituality.

(added to freedom page)

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