Most people won’t believe they are enslaved, though some believe they are enslaved by the ruling elite. But when we look deeper into this predicament, we may be able to see that we are in fact enslaved or trapped by our own minds.
Man is a slave. He is not born as a slave, he is born free. He is born as freedom, but he is found in chains everywhere. He lives in chains, he dies in chains. This is the greatest calamity that has happened to humanity. – Osho
FEELING VS. EXPRESSION
We have a feeling, and then there is the expression of that feeling. The feeling is the intent, the motivation, the driving force. The expression is the action we take to express this feeling. This operates throughout life in everything we do. But conflict and suffering arise when the expression does not match the feeling – and I believe this is the predicament of most of humanity.
For example, an artist has a strong feeling about something, which is authentic; she expresses it on canvas. This expression pleases some people and they buy her work; she gains money and reputation. Her expression gets noticed and becomes fashionable. She seeks to reproduce something of similar quality, and the expression becomes habitual and stylized. Inevitably, the expression becomes more important than the feeling, and soon the feeling evaporates.
When expression becomes all-important because it is pleasurable, satisfying, or profitable, then there is cleavage between expression and feeling. When the feeling IS the expression then the conflict doesn’t arise, and there is no contradiction. But when profit and thought (desire, power, money, status, ego) intervene, then this feeling is lost through greed, and we become a slave to money, desire, and ego. The passion of feeling is entirely different from the passion of expression, and most of society is caught in the passion of expression.
Let’s take a lawyer, for example. How many lawyers do you know of who are really passionate about upholding the law, and making society morally and ethically positive? Or, perhaps do you think their driving force and intent is the money and status that comes with being a lawyer? You only need to look at what lawyers charge to answer that question. Lets take a doctor. Totally interested in healing people? Or perhaps money has some say in it? I think you’d be hard pressed to find anybody who isn’t in their career for what they can get out of it – money.
To be brutally honest, I feel that it would be very rare to find somebody whose life and career totally reflects their feeling, and doesn’t care one iota about the remuneration. Maybe it was like that in the beginning for most people; the excitement, new prospects. But as with most jobs, the feeling withers and is replaced by the need to survive from it.
IS LIFE A JOB?
We live in a world where life is basically a job. We believe it to be “normal” to have our alarm set in the morning, to wake up and rush around, to sacrifice the whole day in order to make money, and then look toward the weekend for respite. Is this the life we imagined as a kid? Are we truly on this wondrous planet to make life mostly about earning money?
And then we trap ourselves again – because we are thinking, “Well yes, I have to provide for other people, I sacrifice myself in this job so that others can be happy and healthy.” And we do this without ever looking or stepping foot outside the box we have created for ourselves. We get trapped by fear; fear of the unknown. But in truth, there are millions of people all over the world who live on essentially nothing, who have a fraction of the possessions we do, and are ten times happier and content.
But! If you see this in yourself, if you understand the way in which you have sacrificed the present so that you may live happily in the future; if you see the way you have sacrificed time with your children so that you can earn money; if you see the cleavage between your truest, deepest feelings about life and the actual way you live life – then this is an opportunity! If you can see yourself doing all or any of this, then why not make changes? Do you really need all that stuff, the upgraded car, the bigger house? Do you need to work so many hours? Are you bringing to life your deepest passions and feelings?
You can tell when the feeling is the expression: when you are feeling creative, spontaneous, excited, passionate. When you jump out of bed, when the world just seems like a big playground. That’s a pretty good indicator. Whereas it’s also just as easy to tell when the expression has become all important, and the feeling has dissolved. It’s the exact opposite. When you struggle to get up in the morning, when you want to be somewhere else, when you look toward the weekend, when your mind is set on pay day, etc. Why not have a go at changing things up?
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