The Freedom of No Escape
One of the secrets to living a free and fulfilled life is giving up the choice to escape from yourself. In many situations, of course, escape is appropriate. Freedom does include the freedom to escape. But when your life is dedicated to serving the effortless peace that is the core of your own being, then it becomes a life of surrender, free of the need to escape: not running from yourself, not hiding from what is here in this very moment. From that stillness and attention, appropriate action naturally arises. Then you must expect enormous temptations to appear.
You must expect all the gods and demons of your past to arise to tempt you. In your resolution to not escape you are wide open to see, to tell the truth, and to surrender more deeply to the knowledge that you are free, here, just as you are. No movement necessary.
When you take off the covering of your heart, and you say, “Okay, I am here!” you invite whatever is in the deepest recesses of your subconscious to appear. You can expect it to show itself in the most unexpected forms. It may be physical, mental, emotional; it may be death or life. It may be your deepest fear, or your deepest bliss; excruciating pain, or extreme pleasure.
The impulse to escape whatever appears is uncountable ages old, and it has driven you to reinvent yourself over and over, even in the space of a single day. I am speaking of the willingness to not move, to stop, to burn up in the midst of the huge fire of the desire to escape. It has been rare for anyone to be willing to be burned up all the way. It has been rare, but it needn’t be.
So this is my invitation: no escape. “I close the option of escape. No longer am I open to escape.” Not, “Oh well, I am just open… ” No. I am not open to escape from myself.
You do have free will. You have the choice to escape into the fantasies of your mind. You have exercised this choice over and over. But now, when you have a certain maturity of mind, you can give up this poisonous choice. This is freedom.
We believe that freedom is always having a choice. When you give up the choice to escape, you give up the choice to indulge and deny. Escape is a movement of mind.
When escape is no longer an option, then you can find freshness, and natural innocence. You will recognize the power and the potential of simply being—not moving toward pleasure, not keeping away pain, not getting another life, and not avoiding the facts of pleasure, pain, and death. Then you will see the most subtle denials, the most subtle self-hatred, and the most subtle self-aggrandizement, and you are true to your choice.
Why not stop and investigate your own impulses toward escape? Not because it is the right thing to do. Maybe it is simply something you have never actually experienced.
I invite you to take a few minutes to honestly look within and investigate both the impulse to escape and the possibility of not following that impulse, of bearing the impulse with no story, no strategy, and no preferred outcome. Simply here, doing nothing.
Can you allow the mind to surrender to the certainty of no escape?
Tell the truth in this moment: Is there still hope of escape? A search for escape? A denial of the inescapability of this moment?
If so, just let it all go. Give up every effort to escape, and recognize what truly holds you: the peace of your being. Meet yourself, naked of all strategies of mind.
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Gangaji is the author of The Diamond in Your Pocket, Freedom & Resolve: Finding Your True Home in the Universe, You Are That, and Hidden Treasure: Uncovering the Truth in Your Life Story.