Freedom is one of the rights every human being should be entitled to. We human beings should have and enjoy freedom. It is our birthright. Every person probably has their own way of understanding freedom and their own way of exercising it. – YUAN TZE, 2021
What is freedom?
There are many different kinds of freedom. We can roughly put them into two categories:
- External freedom
- True internal freedom
When we say freedom, we are usually referring to external freedom. It is the freedom that is protected by all kinds of institutions, e.g. in the rules and regulations of society such as the constitution or other important documents of a country.
It is necessary to protect external freedom. And it is also necessary to continue to develop and improve the ways in which freedom is protected and also the ways we exercise our freedom.
The external freedom we enjoy today is the result of many struggles, sacrifices, and lost lives. So it is really worth our protection and shouldn’t be taken for granted.
However the focus of our discussion here will be on internal freedom.
The five treasures of life
There are 5 treasures of life most people are born with:
These 5 treasures are our birthright, too. A truly free life is a life with all these treasures fully manifesting so we can enjoy life and not feel restricted. That’s the natural way – the natural state of life. This is the internal freedom – the true freedom of life. But this is not something we can obtain by seeking external freedom.
We should enjoy these treasures in life and as life goes on they should be developing, growing and thriving. But the reality is that as time goes on we lose them bit by bit. So we have less and less of them and we have more and more problems instead. We seem to get into problems easily. Problems make life difficult and bring a lot of pain and suffering to life. So why does this happen?
What is the obstacle to true freedom in life?
No matter how much external freedom we exercise, it will not necessarily give us true freedom. If we dare to face ourselves honestly we will probably see that in our life many patterns are present. Some people may have fewer than others but there is no doubt that everyone has patterns. And when unhealthy patterns exist they just do what they do – they create problems in life.
The consciousness plays the biggest role in determining what we do and it is a law of life that the consciousness operates through patterns. So our unhealthy patterns will definitely have a big influence on everything we do.
We also experience all kinds of activities on the heart level and the patterns of the consciousness can have a huge influence on what happens on that level, too.
Our unhealthy patterns don’t do things that are truly positive for life. They cause harm to us and to the world outside as well. So when the consciousness is controlled or run by unhealthy patterns those patterns have become the master of our life.
How can we exercise true freedom?
So how can we be truly free when we are run by a false or surrogate master (our unhealthy patterns of the consciousness) rather than living from our true master – our True Self?
When your heart returns back to its original pure state and your Shen (True Self) is manifesting its true nature you will be manifesting realization and wisdom. This is the state when you are truly you. You are the true master of your own life. So when you are at that stage and the true you is present, you are free. And you realize that when you have true internal freedom the external freedom doesn’t affect you much. In other words when the external freedom is restricted or somehow taken away it will have minimal effect on you. Because when you are truly here and you are truly free the 5 treasures are there with you. You have them all.
This article is adapted from Yuan Tze’ s teachings about true freedom during the November retreat 2021.
Learn more about Yuan Tze’ s teachings and join us for his next online workshops.
Follow world-renowned Qigong and life cultivation teacher YUAN TZE, the founder of REN XUE, into his early years and childhood. Find out his origins and discover how he became who he is today. A film by Kim Shelton.