In order to be truly free, you must relinquish dependence on the material world to conform to your expectations and bring you inner peace. You must divorce from a tumultuous marriage to a preconceived outcome. You must be willing to lose everything.
What does it mean to “lose everything”? It does not mean to nihilistically dispense with any hope of happiness, of letting life wash over you and plow you down and you just take it. It does not mean disintegrate into depression in the face of life’s meaninglessness, nor does it mean you revel in hedonism – because what difference does it make? It is not a vow of poverty. It is not a requisite order to live like a monk or a hermit. It doesn’t mean that you donate heavily to charity in hopes of redemption. In fact, this has little to do with the material world
Eastern philosophy has something inherent in its nature akin to our word quiescence. This is a state of pure awareness, of just observing. This state is at the heart of meditation, but is often misunderstood as banishing your thoughts and entering oblivion. Really it is the state of being suspended in consciousness, allowing experience to occur without any judgment or expectation. It is from that place that you can survey the domain of selfhood in relation to the whole of experience. Another way to express this state is the transcendent or as Victor Frankl names it, the “nooetic” realm – the dimension that can observe all the parts of experience and thus from where comes wisdom.
To arrive at this place, you must temporarily abandon your ties to pre-programmed beliefs and the expectations of society, but is from this place that your wisdom guides you. With the decision to relinquish as the ultimate guide your ingrained societal voices, what falls away is fear – the fear that you may make the wrong decision, the one that will not preserve your job, your money, your relationships in the forms you imagine them to be. Because you are longer bound to a fantasy, you do not fear. You are operating in experience as it unfolds. You have relinquished the pretty picture to which you were told to hold on. You have demonstrated a willingness to lose everything.
With this willingness comes something much deeper and more secure than a sure future. There comes a trust in your nature and the rightness of and wisdom of your true self. Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a meditation on freedom, contains the notion that painful separation from the secure matrix of culture can bring about a revelation of your deepest desire as well as the capacity to pursue by voluntarily sacrificing comfortable barriers. Freedom means you may be called to abandon what you think you love in order to know what you truly love– it means you know deeply that should you lose what you have, you won’t be finished as a human being. Without being dependent on expectations and outcomes to complete you, you are whole, you are a “self contained unit”. You are free.