Monday, December 22, 2014

Are you free?

One of my favourite philosophers of the 20th century is Jiddu Krishnamurti. I've read and listened to many of his lectures and every time I'm amazed by what he has to say. Today I want to share the following quote and discuss it a bit.
"A conditioned mind is not free because it can never go beyond its own borders, beyond the barriers it has built around itself; that is obvious. And it is very difficult for such a mind to free itself from its conditioning and go beyond, because this conditioning is imposed upon it, not only by society, but by itself. You like your conditioning because you dare not go beyond. You are frightened of what your father and mother would say, of what society and the priest would say; therefore you help to create the barriers which hold you. This is the prison in which most of us are caught, and that is why your parents are always telling you – as you in turn will tell your children – to do this and not do that. - Jiddu Krishnamurti

I couldn't agree more.  We like to think that we are free but in fact we live within walls so guarded that we are afraid of our own thoughts. From when we are little we are conditioned how to think, what to think and how to act. Nearly everything we do has been ingrained in us long time ago. Whether it is religion or societal norms, we are afraid to go beyond their boundaries, and instead wonder within narrow walls of predicable existence.

How many times did you want to say something or do something but you stopped yourself because you were afraid what other people would say? What would you parents say?  What would your neighbours say? What would your friends say? Why would you even care? You care because it was instilled in you to behave a certain way, follow certain norms and your mind is working hard to keep you there. You even dress like everyone around you following the latest fashions, afraid of lagging behind and falling out of the line. Why does it even matter?  As long as you're not hurting anyone, none of it should matter.  Period.

During our adolescence we try to fight the norms forced upon us and and we go through what they call the "rebel years". Sometimes we are successful and go on to become an original but often times we give up and fall back into the line and into the spot that has been reserved for us ahead of time. This is not living.  This is merely existing.  I've seen this happen to some great young people that I've known and I find it very sad.

You can't break these shackles without some serious work. For the past several years I've been working on un-conditioning myself, unlearning all I've been taught that keeps me within these narrow confines of thought and behaviour. I've been successful so far but still sometimes I catch myself putting brakes on something I want to say or do because of what other people may say.  These tendencies are rooted so deep it's hard to get into every nook and cranny.  More and more however, I am succeeding and it feels great.

You too can do that.  You too can set on the journey to freedom.  Step out of the box and be yourself. Don't be afraid. You are the only copy of you that exists. You are an original.  Behave like one.

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