Free Yourself From Within

December 12, 2013


Like the tattoo on Thomas Edison’s forearm depicting a quincunx pattern that can be left open to interpretation, so too does every moment of our existence tell the tale of either subjugated confinement or an excursive impatience fueled with limitless creation. The only difference may be who is doing the looking, the seeing, the observing, and whether they see a propitiated projection resulting in judgement that can swing easily one way or another, or an unbiased, non-judgmental view. It is precisely for this reason that judgement should begin solely as self judgement, and preferably should also end there. The famous maxim, “If you can’t change the world, turn within and change yourself”, is a simple observance on the futility of using arrogance as a bastion to defend self-centered idealistic views disguised as character markers, imposing them quietly on all who don’t meet a narrowly defined set of criteria, in effect mirroring the already flawed self like a reflective array dispersed across the globe in place of every other living human being, leaving no real people in its place and nothing left to learn or wisdom to gain. In other words, few change the world, yet everyone wants to and is set up to fail miserably with the first attempted step, tripping over one’s own foot, catching the fall with a knee, thrown forward with inertia desperately seeking retaliation from an elbow on the ground, all before a split second later the jaw, teeth, and fleshy facial protrusions all impact with the required force to finally put an end to what seemed at first like a wonderful idea.
The artistic metaphor of judgement of others by mere human beings is most often a flaying, or skinning alive. Whether referring to Michelangelo’s “Last Judgement”, or Rabbi Akiva as discussed in the Talmud, being flayed for publicly teaching Torah, the affiliation between judgement and a most horrendous end is quite clear. Consider what wasteful displays of pseudo philanthropy occur with each person vowing to contribute to changing the world for whatever reason, only to stand concretized in immoveable inflexibility and reticent resistance to change in any way with regard to the deepest, most intimate and defining self. This, it seems, is the human condition, yet we have a choice to do otherwise. It may however feel like a dream in which you are desperately running in slow motion or crawling on all fours through thick particulate sand-like earth, taking altogether too long and going nowhere fast until your loudest inner voice begins to console you about giving up and how quitting and admitting defeat is all right because it’s the only thing left after you’ve suffered for so long, yearning for relief. But this is the misconception; it is not the relief you are searching for. Relief will be attained by moving forward, continuing through the pain until you can smile through it and learn to await and desire it, see it as your trouvaille, and in that you are set free to attain your just rewards, unburdened by what falls away as the imperfect misjudgments of others unnecessarily attached to your shoulders, relieved at last.
Constant change, adaptation to the self judged condition, newer perspectives revealed and customized by the richness of wisdom, the discovery and removal of ballasts and moorings that hold you in one place, these simple notions can free an otherwise caged animal destined to remain so until death.