What is true freedom?

For years I had the mistaken belief that lasting freedom was just beyond my grasp. I thought that if my circumstances were different, then I could be free from suffering. I just needed a different job or to travel more. I needed my kids to be ok, and my marriage more stable. But over time, I started to realize, as each of my ‘ways to freedom’ got ticked off, that I was often brought back to a state of being miserable. The income was enough, kids were good, travel extensive; but still I felt trapped in suffering even in the most beautiful places in the world. I began to understand that finding true peace and joy was not something that happened outside of myself.

I went on a quest to change what was broken on the inside of me. I spent years in traditional therapy, while also reading and studying many self-help books. When that didn’t alleviate enough pain, I turned to alternative healing from around the world. Through many years of diving deep into an intense healing journey, I turned into my wounded shadow side, which brought more wholeness to my fragmented past. This eventually lead to profound healing of the trauma from my childhood.

I was convinced if I healed from my past trauma, I would be totally whole and free. Still I felt like I was in a frustrating cycle of endlessly trying to escape suffering. I was given advice to be grateful and meditate. And so I entered ashrams and satsangs, looking for enlightenment to transcend my pain body. Still, I was in and out of inner angst, finding only temporary relief. Out of desperation, I left all advice behind and turned inward. At some level, I knew the answers had to be inside. Through a long dark night of the soul, I came to find true freedom from my pain and suffering.

As I moved deeper into Stillness and my true essence, I stopped running and faced my fears, and began to sink deep into whatever was presenting itself at the present moment. Through embracing and pulling in the rejected aspects of myself and any woundedness, while staying still and grounded in the present moment, I discovered a wholeness of being and the freedom I had been searching for all my life. To me, this is true freedom; to fold the woundedness into the Stillness, as I hold the wholeness of my entire being. This knowing is what finally set me free.

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