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Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose (Concluded)

When you graduate from the grade school of jail and move on to college level you have made it to prison. The food is still bad, though considerably better. The guards are often more polite and given a chance even friendly. Quarters are still overcrowded, but conditions are decidedly improved. The headspace of your fellow convicts is less confused and the terrible uncetainty of not knowing what will happen is gone. The most dramtic change is being able to go outside and feel the sun and the wind and see the stars once again. The worst part is over. You have made your mistakes, acknowledged to varying degrees your responsibility and now get down to doing your time...

I asked Usha to send in a book on yoga, and I began to diet and do twenty minutes a day of yogax which soon became thirty minutes, then an hour, and eventually three hours a day. My disposition brightened and became more positive. I lost weight and altogether started to feel much better. Usha started sending in books on ethnobotany, anthropology, psychology and most important the works of the enlightened masters. And, after so many years of working, I was finally able to catch up on my reading! I realized that freedom was the burning issue in my life, and that even though my physical freedom had been eliminated, my ability to trip inwardly was completely my choice. Naturally I was regarded as an oddball...

During this time also, quite spontaneously and irresistably, I began to write. Every morning my hand picked up the pen and dragged me to the table and made me write. So there was my day. Three to four hours of writing in the morning, yoga in the afternoon, and study in the evening. This was really good for me, and I began to realize that whining about my situation was idiotic and I would be much better served by learning how to do my time. Instead of mourning over my situation and bleak prospects for the future I learned to see that no one exists in misery who cannot find someone who has had a worse deal of the cards. In fact we are all doing time in the jail of life for as long as we don't stay completely present, responding to each situation as it arises. Reliving the past, through regret and depression, or worrying about the future are unreal activities that have no relevance to the present. The advice of the old-timers in prison is to do one day at a time, and so I moved into this timeless mode and the days passed with increasing tranquility.

It was at this point that I realized that every calamity that befell one in life was governed by a compensatory mechanism. Within each dark cloud there really was a silver lining, if only one would look for it with enough diligence. As I looked deeply into each misfortune I realized I was looking at my expectations and attachments. If I let go of them I could see I was undergoing no misfortune at all. It was just my mind. The reality of the situation was that in fact I had no problems. I had free living quarters and food, hot water and light; my clothes were provided for. Great books were being sent in by my beloved. If I simply accepted the life of a monk there were no problems at all. If everything went wrong I would still be cared for by existence. I would still be alive and vital in the world; my heart would beat, my eyes would see, I could still be surprised...

Once you are free inside external freedom is extraneous and illusory... I began to move into two or three hours unmoving meditations which were quite surprising as meditating more than 40 minutes had previously always given me a backache. Now nothing of the kind occured.

During this time I was writing to Eckhart Tolle. He read one of my letters and commented to Usha that I would be getting out even earlier than I expected. When Usha relayed this message to me I asked why he said that. He said it was because I had completely surrendered.

One of the things I felt as I realised that once again I had lost everything I had built up on the material plane for 20 years was a burning feelinbg all over my body as the realization that everything I had been clinging to for some support, for some transient trite reward was gone. The work was gone, my distractions were gone and all that remained were my attachments burning up in a blaze of purification. And when this was over and I could laugh about it again I realized that I had regained my freedom, and that every activity I found myself in was a meditation in motion, and I was lucky enough to have been ripped loose from everything but beauty and truth and love. Janis Joplin expressed this exactly when she sang "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose..."

Yearning is the desire for freedom and oneness. Only by going beyond our boundaries and limits into the vast field of consciousness, beyond word and time, will we find that beauty of love and unity, and total freedom, Until that timex as they say in prisonx we are all doing time...

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