“Happiness is not better than suffering. Liberation is not better than limitation.”
If we are desiring to explore a life free of limitations it is first important to realize that there is nothing to actually ‘seek’ in the traditional sense. To make significant progress we have to see that all ‘progress’ in itself is just happening of its own and is not necessarily something ‘better than’ what has been our experience in the past or at this moment.
What I mean by this is that happiness and liberation (life without limitations) are not ‘better than’ suffering and limitation, just different. If this isn’t officially understood before hand then we just slip into another set of ego traps of being ‘special’, ‘liberated’, or somehow ‘more evolved’ than others. This I have found, defeats the purpose and actually is counterproductive and ironically limiting, which is the opposite of what we were originally setting out to explore. It limits us because it just adds another layer of judgment that is now more sophisticated and defended through clever, intellectual rationalization, but does it really help us enjoy life more?
What I found from unknowingly going down this route is that I subtly put myself above others because I thought being happy, spiritual, and pursuing enlightenment were ‘better’, ‘more evolved’, or ‘more worthwhile pursuits’ than anything else in life, not seeing how obviously unloving and accepting of others this was. But how could I not fall into this when all my teachings were implying that the highest pursuit of humanity is enlightenment and spiritual realization, while all worldly pleasures were carnal and temptations of illusion. So what did I learn?
If we are drawn to evolving and ‘bettering’ ourselves in any way that’s awesome and purely an internal process that doesn’t actually apply to everyone else. The guidelines and aspirations that apply to my life do not apply to anyone else but me. This is tricky to remember due to our natural tendency to project our beliefs and values onto others unknowingly. (For more on projection read here) But if we can remember that our beliefs and values only apply to ourselves then we can truly feel free and also allow all others to be free as well.
For example, if I like teaching, surfing, painting, or contemplating intellectual and spiritual concepts then that is simply me being me and is no better or worse than anyone else being them. I am simply being what I was created to be and if I truly see that then I can also accept, without judgment, that everyone else is being who they were created to be. This allows me to realize that whatever I desire in life is perfect just as it is, and so is everyone else’s desires. Nothing is ‘better than’ anything or anyone else.
Now here’s where it starts to get fun to explore. What about me now desiring more happiness, life without limitation, and God-Realization while others want to seek limitation, war, violence, and suffering? Doesn’t religion and society tell us that there is a ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ and that there is such a thing as ‘good’ and ‘bad/evil’ and that we should be ‘good’ and stay away from that which is ‘bad/evil’? Isn’t life actually serious and something we should be paying very close attention to and not wasting our time with worldly things? Shouldn’t we be trying to eliminate suffering? Shouldn’t we be working to save people? Isn’t this all really important? Are you suggesting that there actually is nothing ‘wrong’ with anything in the world and we can actually just BE?
This brings us to the deepest power of this liberating sutra, truly realizing that:
whatever you are, it is perfect and exactly what it’s supposed to be without possible error or judgment.
There is not a single hair out of place, not a single ‘issue’ or ‘problem’ that actually exists – unless you want it to, which is great too. 😉 You are absolutely, incomprehensibly perfect – meaning completely accepted as is, self-perceived flaws and all. If you have emotions of anger, rage, or sadness from time to time, or all the time, so be it, embrace them and let them flow through you in a healthy way without resistance. The primary reason we lash out and harm others is because we repress our negative emotions and thus they are released in unhealthy, overcompensating ways. Ironically, if we just accepted them we’d all be at peace, as contradicting as it may seem at first, but that’s only because we’ve been programmed to see them as ‘wrong’. Instead we need to see and feel them, honor them, and let them pass – or don’t, there’s no pressure or stress with all this because in the end everything’s really okay and you are loved and accepted.
If you are pursuing life without limitations and want to seek liberation, enlightenment, or some other sort of epic adventurous pursuits, embrace them, be inspired, flow with the glory that is your life. There is no right or wrong here, you are perfect in all your desires, feelings, and exploring, just please see that whatever you are is exactly what it’s supposed to be. Allow yourself to be without judgment through realizing there is no actual ‘better’ or ‘worse’, ‘good’ or ‘bad’ actually possible in the world, expect in our own mind. And as we accept ourselves fully and release our own internal judgment, we also accept and let go of all judgments of others and unlock a whole new experience of effortless happiness and freedom.