Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Freedom's Dream

Wednesday, August 20 ~ Albuquerque, New Mexico

"To the Vilda'aa it marked The End of the Known World. To me it promised a new beginning."
— 
The MoonQuest: A True Fantasy

I had a dream last night.

I dreamed I was on a large prison campus, large enough that it seemed like a small city. 

As I stood there, watching prisoners and guards and at least one politician walk by, all dressed in civilian clothes, I knew something that none of them did: This prison campus had no walls, fences or gates. Anyone could leave at any time if they opened their eyes to the truth and made that choice. 

In the dream, a friend and I had made that choice.  

I remember kneeling on the lawn in front of some official building, going through the contents of my backpack as I decided what to take with me and what to leave behind. I remember now only what didn't make the cut: a variety of maps, articles and documents that linked me with my past. 

When I woke up soon after, I was both exhilarated and disconcerted. 

Absolute freedom does that. We both long for it and are disoriented when we get it.  

The irony is that, as my dream demonstrated, we all have it. All of us. Always.  

But it's our choice whether we claim it, whether we act on it...whether we open our eyes and heart to a truth that has always been present, to a choice we have thus far declined to make. 

As my dream also demonstrated, our past is often a big part of that prison.

How often do we view and thus limit our choices through a prism of the past? How often do we assume that the way something has always been done proves that it's the best way, or the only way? How often do we let the burden of our past slow our awareness of the present and hinder our walk into the future? 

For me, one of the most powerful scenes in my novel The MoonQuest remains the coronation, where Crown Prince Kyri is directed to throw all the jeweled accoutrements of the old king's regalia into the fire as he and his subjects-to-be chant, "The past is passed. We let it go." 

Only when all that has encumbered Kyri to the old reign is consumed in the ceremonial flame is he ready to chart his own course as monarch. 

Later, King Kyri honors his father, now a simple subject, by kneeling before him. His father pulls Kyri to his feet. 

"Do not bow to me, my son. I stand here as the past, and you must never worship the past. ... Set your sights on the future by seeing to the present. Don't, I beg, let your vision linger longingly on the past. Let it go, my son. Let it all go. ... Let me go." 

Of course, the past is not without value. It's one of our greatest teachers.

Yet we not only condemn ourselves to repeating our mistakes by ignoring the past, we condemn ourselves to paralysis by residing there, by refusing to recognize each new moment as its own life with its own imperatives — imperatives that must be informed by the past but not directed by it. 

Of my Ten Rules for Living, the first two speak powerfully to that concept. 

Rule #1: There are no rules 
Rule #2: What works today may not work tomorrow  

Only by stepping away from the limitations of "how things have to be" and "how things have always been" can we free ourselves to step beyond our known world and into the limitlessness of our infinite potential. 

Only be seeing the prisons we have created for ourselves can we recognize that nothing but our own choices keeps us locked within them. 

Only by daring to see the truth of our innate freedom, can we live all the wondrous, as-yet undreamed-of gifts that our freedom has already granted us. 

In my dream, I tell my prisoner friend that he, too, can be free, that there is nothing to keep him locked away. I then invite him to leave with me, to walk out of the prison city and be free.  

Won't you be that friend? Won't you leave with me? Won't you walk with me into the freedom that's already yours?   

Photo by Mark David Gerson: "Flying Free," Mission Beach, San Diego, California

3 comments:

Hunee Royo said...

"Only be seeing the prisons we have created for ourselves can we recognize that nothing but our own choices keeps us locked within them."

Only because as human we are scared that it might happened again and we try not to go through it again because it somehow caused us pain.

I once thought avoiding something will not hinder my growth. Sadly it made me bitter in life. But now I've walked out of that one and yes I'd like to leave something again.

Thanks Mark. Very good article :D

Ivan Chan Studio said...

I just read your article again for encouragement, Mark David!

I think it's so true that freedom is both exhilarating and disconcerting (even scary). It explains a lot of why people behave the way they do in the world.

Why choose freedom? And what does freedom mean? And what is lost when one accepts freedom, and what is gained? It hurts sometimes, even to move in the direction we want to move in, or must move in.

Thanks again for sharing your insights.

Take care,

I.

Rhoda said...

Mark,

I've been going through similiar experiences lately. And yes, I'm pretty nervous and scared at times. I'm at a crossroad with both my job and the place I've been living in for the past 7 years. I have to decide on both - taking a new job and also moving. Yikes!

Like you, I wanted to stay just one more year, just one more year, I kept telling myself. I think my year has finally run out. The house needs numerous repairs and I'm feeling forced out.

The good thing is the Universe has put another home (Just out of the blue)to rent right in front of me. A friend of mine who knows someone just happens to need a tenant to rent out her house.

Like you, I had to be reminded to trust and know that all will be taken care of.

Thank you for sharing your story. I think many people are being pushed into change - Ready or not here it comes. You're not alone.

Take care,

Rhoda