The Freedom Of Choice

Published: 04.02.2008
Updated: 17.05.2016

....Meditation is to free oneself from bitterness and sadness of past conditions and judgments. Because of our programmed beliefs, even religion, which means to right, is used to separate one from another. Many people have narrowed their life and placed themselves in a fold by thinking, "I am Moslem." "I am Hindu.“ "I am Jain." "I am a Jew." "I am a Christian." "They are not like me; they are all outsiders." By belief, one has blocked and alienated oneself from mankind and living being who are helping our existence in many ways, visibly and invisibly. Meditation helps to break the self imposed limitations on oneself and to live liberated in a "uniting" universe...

The philosophy of Jainism does not build our life on the past but on the living present. To me, a good life is a healthy loving life. A good life is a creative life. It is that life where we want to the awareness that we can choose what we want to choose and make the choice to accept and let go of the dead past and live in the living present.

If we don't let go of the past, we cannot move forward. I am reminded of two friends in India who decided to cross the Ganges River by boat in Benares. They were drinking bhang, a stimulant, and were feeling energetic because of intoxication and the beautiful full moon. They decided to cross the river to another town to get good food. The whole night they rowed and rowed. But when it was dawn, they saw people on the shore who looked like the people from the night before. One of them said, "this place looks exactly like Benares." So, they stepped ashore and asked, "where are we?" They were told that they were in Benares. "Benares? But how can that be? We have been rowing and rowing the whole night. "Only then did they find out that in their intoxication they had forgotten to untie the rope from the jetty. The rope was over 200 feet long, so that had moved from here to there, but what about us? We want to move forward, but we don't untie ourselves from the anchoring past habit and beliefs. Whenever we talk, we talk about the past and go on playing the old worn-out record. Even in therapy for years, our mind roams in the empty rooms of past phantoms. Clinging to the past dogmas, we turn from a plum into a prune.

Mahaveer said, 'Don't go to your power within.' Ask yourself: "Who am I and what is my power? How do I see myself? Why did I not choose the right things? Do I allow others to tell me what I can and cannot do? Remind yourself that others are only projecting themselves onto you. What they say does not reflect you; it reflects on them. If they deny certain things, they are not denying you; they are denying themselves. Their statements do not apply to you.

A couple of years ago several students from the United States came to India with us, and visited Shatrunjaya in Palitana. In this group there were two people who were trying to come to terms with their guilt. They were not happy with the past and had been going to various types of therapy for many, many years. I had known both of them for a long time, and now they travelled all the way to India to have some special time to study for self-awareness, for self-realization. They visited the mountains and caves where many people became enlightened. We climbed Mount Shatrunjaya, where a cluster of temples adorns the top of a holy mountain. On top of the highest of the highest of the temples, we had a special ceremonial meditation to let go of the past, to let go of the mind.

Meditation is to free oneself from bitterness and sadness of past conditions and judgments. Because of our programmed beliefs, even religion, which means to right, is used to separate one from another. Many people have narrowed their life and placed themselves in a fold by thinking, "I am Moslem." "I am Hindu.“ "I am Jain." "I am a Jew." "I am a Christian." "They are not like me; they are all outsiders." By belief, one has blocked and alienated oneself from mankind and living being who are helping our existence in many ways, visibly and invisibly. Meditation helps to break the self imposed limitations on oneself and to live liberated in a "uniting" universe.

Anyone who wants to free oneself from wrong belief, guilt and sin is free to oneself from wrong belief, guilt and sin is free to choose the Jain method of saying this mantra: Savva Pava Panasano, which vibrates to liberate. Here savva means all; pava means guilt and negativity; and panasano mean destroyed. All guilt and sins of the past are destroyed. The next part of the mantra is: mangalanam cha savvesim. From that moment mangalanam benedictions and blessings start pouring on us from all directions. This is the greatest among all benedictions, all blessings. In this way one goes deep into oneself. Deep into the source one creates a fine inside and incinerates all the negativities. One accepts oneself as gold, purified of all dross. 

Of the two people, I mentioned before, one came up out from the mantra meditation and said with joy. "I am free! Free from the burden of the load of past negativities." What she had not been able to do in twenty years happened spontaneously in that moment. Collecting all the junk of the past, collecting all guilt of the past, she incinerated them, cleansed herself of them, and forgave herself. She did not need to go anywhere to be forgiven, to be saved. She said, "I burned the negativity and threw the ashes away, and I came back to my clean self." But the order person said," How can you burn all your past and your mistakes, your guilt? You can't. It is impossible." It was true for her because she believed it to be impossible. Her belief became her reality, a fact for her.

Often when we want to cling to our past, we can find arguments to support our condition. We are logical people - human being are reasoning animals - and to make life miserable we find so many logical reasons. We pick up a book which was written by one person, who heard a second person quoting a third person, and then edited by a fourth person. We now take this as the real message and we say, "It is written! It is our original sin and it cannot be undone. We believe it!" It is written that a saviour is needed or else we risk damnation and will go to hell; we believe it. But none of this is what the master the interpreter said. A master is he or she who does not insult human dignity. Do you think the master will say, "If you don't embrace me, you will go to hell." Such an idea cannot come from any master; it comes from the egotistical interpreter. The master helps you see beauty. They give you their shoulders to climb up onto see more us taller not smaller. They don't want to see you shrink; they want to see you grow.

Real parents are those who expect their son or daughter to be better than they are. Parents aspire to see their children one step farther than they went. The son or daughter draws inspiration from the parents. If a child makes mistakes, the parents do not put the child down, but see it as a growing process and lack of experience. Experiencing the pain of mistakes, the mind gains wisdom. To see the light of goodness behind the clouds of mistakes, we first have an eye to perceive goodness in oneself; only then can we se beauty everywhere.

Earlier I mentioned two people who were pare of our meditation in letting go of guilt and negativity. One of them found many reasons to hold on to the past; the other willed it to be free and her seed blossomed into a smiling flower. You may think, "that does not happen." but with her it did. She let go of old thinking and discovered she was free. Such an experience brings inner peace. Not only she but anyone can recover from guilt by getting in touch with all pervading loving energy to discover one's pure nature. Believe in your freedom to let go of the past! Be free and open to let the blessing pour in. Go deep into yourself, experience yourself, believe in yourself. This is an understanding that comes only from your introspection, from your self-realization. Visit all the corners of your consciousness. See your strengths and erase your weaknesses. Accept yourself. Gradually build your self-image. Feel your thoughts of "I am free and I choose to be happy. I choose to be peaceful; it is my nature. " So, let us realize the past and have peace. Let us experience the presence of the divine energy, which is within each of us.

Let us share a final universal blessing: "Let the whole universe be blessed. Let everyone be engaged in one another’s well-being. Let all faults and mistakes of the past be effaced and vanish. Let everyone, everywhere, be healthy, happy peaceful and blissful. Om Shanti. Peace."

Sources
Jinamanjari Journal (Editor: Mr. Bhuvanendra Kumar), Volume 29, Number 1, April 2004, A Bi-annual Published Of Bramhi Jain Society (Est 1989), United State of America and Canada.
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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Benares
  2. Consciousness
  3. Jainism
  4. Mahaveer
  5. Mantra
  6. Meditation
  7. OM
  8. Palitana
  9. Shatrunjaya
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