Each of us strives for freedom, but not everyone succeeds in achieving this state.
The concept of freedom cannot be explained logically. Everyone understands it in their own way. Let’s think about freedom from the yoga perspective.
Is there Freedom in this Universe?
There are two opposite opinions on this subject. According to one opinion the Universe is deterministic. Everything in the Universe is determined by the strict laws of cause and effect and there is no place for freedom. The other opinion is that the Universe has no rules. All events happen at random. The truth is somewhere in between, as is often the case.
It is believed in yoga, that everyone has the Higher Self, which is absolutely free.The law of cause and effect, knowledge of our past or its ignorance does not affect the freedom of our Higher Self. However, we consider ourselves to be our manifestations, and they are subject to the law of cause and effect. If we can manifest brighter and stronger in our lives, we believe that our freedom has expanded. If our manifestations merge with some circumstances or events, we believe that our Freedom has decreased.
When we expand the freedom for our manifestations, we will be able to put them under our control and understand that we are not these manifestations. So we will be able to come closer to understanding our true nature and to get rid of suffering, which occurs in response to the need to protect these manifestations.
What determines the amount of freedom a person has?
Each of us at this moment is absolutely free to some extent and to some extent totally predetermined. It depends on the degree of our ignorance. We take a part of our freedom and direct it to the area where we are not free yet, thereby we expand our freedom.
When we study, work or create, we expand our freedom. There is an opinion that if we follow the way of expanding our freedom, we live our life more efficiently and we become freer in future. If we unreasonably dispose of our freedom, reduce it, we become not effective and exhaust all our potential.
How do our debts affect our freedom?
Our debt is a factor of our predicament, the lack of freedom. We seldom think about the fact that somebody reduces their freedom to expand our freedom. А memory of the past helps us determine our duty to living beings. Being mindful about our duty, we understand that we should set priorities in our lives to use our freedom better. If we use our freedom correctly, we expand it. We will not go ahead the way to freedom until we pay off the debts of the past. If we don’t pay our debts, we reduce our existing freedom.
What is the nature of our desires?
Our desire is a motivation for actions that expand or limit our Freedom. When we decide how to behave in a situation, we act according to a pattern. We recall a similar situation from our past. If it was good for us, we have a desire to get involved in it. If the situation was bad for us, we have a desire to avoid or ignore it. These desires are associated with our previous experience.
There are desires that are imposed on us by other people. For example, marketing experts find the keys to evoke the desires that we did not feel originally. But it seems to us that this is our desire. So we begin to utilise our resources on their implementation.
If there is freedom, our behavior should not be a hundred percent determined by conditioned desires. There are desires that are not conditioned by anything. Such desires answer the question “Why?” with the phrase “For no reason.”
We express the will to do something: bring benefits, change the world, create, fall in love, give birth to children, be kind. This happens when we become aware of the will factor within ourselves.
How should we use our desires to expand our freedom?
Until we learn to use our will, we have been using only conditioned desires. Yoga says that there are no bad or good desires, we should learn to analyze and control them. We should weigh the freedom that we waste to fulfill our desires, against the freedom we gеt from fulfilling them.
All exercises in yoga bring us to the same thought: how should we use our desires now to discover the will within. As we come closer to the unconditioned manifestations of our will, all our desires are fulfilled faster than we can formulate them.
To be free means to show your will without being a slave of your desires.
An analysis of the nature of our desires will clarify which of them are worth fulfilling, and where we should show our will and not give in to temptation. A memory about the past will help us determine our duty. Understanding our duty will lead us to prioritizing our actions. This will allow us to expand our freedom.
Practise yoga, discover a powerful tool within yourself – the will, fulfill your desires and be happy!
Article author: Eva Rati
Editorial: Kerigona, Mirra, M. Sarasvati-Bhavani
Project Curator: Kerigona
Translator: Way, Tatiana Atishaya Tatiana Sugrue