What does true freedom mean to me?
For years I had the mistaken belief that any lasting freedom from suffering was just beyond my grasp. I thought that if my circumstances were different then I would be able to feel more peace and joy. 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 that even if my circumstances changed, I would often come 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. More and more I would turn in towards my wounded shadow side, and pull together my fragmented past. This eventually lead to profound healing and being able to let go of the devastating effects from the trauma of 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. I found temporary relief but still found myself struggling with going in and out of inner angst. Out of desperation, I left all advice behind and turned inward. At some level, I knew the answers had to be inside.
As I moved deeper into the stillness and essence of my true self, 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 deep healing and a feeling of complete wholeness. This knowing is what ultimately set me free.