An Introduction to Freedom
I find myself writing this section of the book because of a feeling of disappointment and, at the same time, some kind of astonishment. I am amazed when I see how easily people have accepted such a distorted view of life, for which they — at least partly — hold their ‘saviour’ Jesus Christ responsible.
We rarely ever experience life directly. We instead see it through our beliefs and convictions. Our beliefs get continuously reinforced over time, because we always seek to prove them, to both, ourselves and others.
The issue is that when we look for proof for our beliefs, we begin a process of fine selection of events and careful interpretation of words so that our beliefs, instead of their validity being tested, we look for their validity to be proven. So then, we interpret the Bible, or Jesus’ words however we deem useful to us. How dare I say something like this?! Well, just have a look at how many questionable — to be gentle — things have been done in the name of God, of Jesus or of the Church over the many years of Christianity; the inquisition, the crusades, the marginalisation of people, the deplorable usage of the term heresy, the institutionalisation of guilt and insufficiency and many more.
But this is not the fault of Christianity. Actually, I feel that it is very unlikely that the presence of any other religion in the life of Europeans would have made a difference to our actions. It’s only that our justifications would have been different.
One can even imagine a secular dark age, where the following of one’s own intuition would have gotten oneself burned at the stake, where not believing in the Big Bang could get one publicly shamed and even tortured until one pled guilty of heresy and repented, where not having a well-thought-out plan for your entire life would have been considered witchcraft, where a nation would invade others which don’t share the same economic, political and moral values… Oops! Doesn’t sound too unfamiliar, right?
This part will look at the timeless wisdom that we have systematically made ourselves blind to. We chose to overlook this readily available wisdom because of our need to feel justified in our sense of self-entitlement and in our pursuit of selfish desires.
We will rediscover the teachings of one of the greatest masters, looking at them with new eyes. We will see how they have been misinterpreted and, more importantly, what their truer, deeper meaning is.
In the age when being a preacher or a priest is a full-time job, one in this position is encouraged to look for long-term clients. From their position of temporary guides, they have been made into entertainers, ticket sellers and even ‘heavenly’ real-estate agents. They are no longer working in your best interest, even though they may very well think they are. They are not looking to empower you or promote your independence. They are not trying to lift you up and then let you stand on your own two feet, but they want to be your permanent crutches. Complete healing is not their goal, matter of fact, they seldom believe in healing themselves. Dependence is their philosophy, continuous medication. That’s why in church you always see the same faces.
This is not a sermon in the way it is regularly understood. The intention is not to try to make you feel guilty, repent, feel sorry for your mistakes, apologetic for your existence, and to demand or urge that you change yourself. No. The next few chapters are written in the spirit of the sermon on the mount, a joyous reminder of your position and worth in the universe.
This is not purely a monologue, it is not a list of things you need to remember or do, but it is a dialogue. It requires your participation, your interest, your eagerness and earnestness to dive deep into your own being. It will not be a trivial undertaking. As you may have already noticed, this is not a book to read for leisure, for it aims to demolish what your parents, teachers, society, religion and even you have carefully and patiently tried to instil in yourself.
I believe that if you have gone so far as to pick this book up and read up to this point, you possess the much-needed prerequisites for this undertaking to be fruitful and I have complete faith in the One that arranged for you to be here, now.
As I mentioned before, the value of this book does not lie in its information content. It is your sincere investigation and experimentation that gives it value. All that is to be read can be known personally, not as conceptual knowledge, but as intimate experience and understanding. So don’t go on trying to memorise anything, trying to experience anything, trying to understand anything.
What you need to remember will be remembered, what you need to experience will be experienced and what you need to understand will be understood in its own time. Everything that you need to see will be revealed. Trust in this.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.
[This article is an excerpt from my book, The Shift: An Introduction to Freedom]