Assuming that you are not an actual inmate in a jail or penitentiary, do you have any escape from your quandry? In quiet times, perhaps you have devised ways to flee from your circumstances. Maybe you’ve even fantasized about ways to fake your own death.
Either consciously or unconsciously, you develop beliefs about the state of the world and the restrictions that prevent yourself from escaping from your inner prison. In your search, you might ask an advisor, or guru how you can be more free and happy. Before you know it, you have adopted a new philosophy, a different religion, or a particular code of conduct, or other system of thought. Eventually, you feel the constraints of that new line of thinking and once again, you hunger for the freedom you know exists somewhere.
Then, you shift your point of view. You stumble upon another state of mind that gives you a feeling of security and stability. It’s a different state of consciousness that lures the mind away from it’s struggle for total freedom. You find yourself adapting to this new socially acceptable faith or credo. It feels like second nature, you think that it was meant to be. Fate has smiled upon you. Your ultimate future is promised and assured.
Another quiet evening arrives and you ponder the Earth below and the sky above. You again realize you have imprisoned yourself. Although you have the sense of security and well-being, this is offset by the notion of authority. You might say you’re afflicted by a high rate of recidivism. You notice you’re trying to balance aloofness from and attachment to view.
That’s what it is, isn’t it?
Although a person can crave independence from government, society, and family, she or he is dependent upon all of these things in one form or another in order to merely exist. A person can more easily cultivate wholesome relationships to the larger structures and institutions of humanity. However, one finds it more difficult to look objectively because of subjectivity.
Sometimes circumstances conspire to keep a person in dire straits. Whether or not you or I feel imprisoned in ourselves is a matter of point of view. Life doesn’t have to be a struggle to escape an inner prison. Life challenges one to engage an inner workshop and sanctuary.
One sunny morning you awaken with the realization that you have always held the key. You discover the compassion needed to release yourself from inner captivity. It is the mindful awareness that you are the only one who can grant your reprieve.
The Blue Jay of Happiness likes this teaching from the Vietnamese monk, Thich Nhat Hanh: “The real power of the Buddha was that he had so much love. He saw people trapped in their notions of small separate self, feeling guilty or proud of that self, and he offered revolutionary teachings that resounded like a lion’s roar, like a great rising tide, helping people to wake up and break free from the prison of ignorance.”