Is freedom essential?

Sounds good to me - we are questioning our relationship with experience.

Once we see that misfortune (aka the exigence of pleasure) as the basis of our existence is what it is - we still cannot choose to shy away from it. Even enlightenment is contextual, is conditioned by the universe?

The fact that “we still cannot choose to shy away from pleasure” (Doug says above) may indicate that pleasure is masking a deeper unseen reality. Pleasure may be an appearance and a clue…
Pleasure brings a sense of fullness and self worthiness. Is pleasure masking an emptiness, a lack of self worth ? (was K saying: “be nothing”).

PS: this“ be nothing”!!! - I am entering the terrain of the “I”, where the “I” is the thief and the policeman.

How do I relate to something (the “l”), that escapes every time ?

If we can see that the self is : existence via the upholding of misery, then we either shy away from the process or we continue as the process (because the potential of pleasure trumps the creation of suffering - ice cream trumps child slavery) - but we don’t really have a choice : context, circumstance and conditioning dictates which person we are.

The circumstances must be such that the seeing of the self process becomes vitally important and the accompanying rejection of suffering (aka compassion) undeniable.

The only other way to awareness is through faith in the teachings (eg. you decide to take up mindfulness or zazen, or choiceless awareness as a method)

Is it that if the brain / mind is occupied with any sort of ‘becoming’, any desire to be other than what is, enlightened etc prohibits the brain from resonating, being one with Attention, the Immensity, etc…?

Yes when we grasp at solutions, we are still being drawn along by the process/still being part of the process (ie. becoming, progress, security) rather than seeing the movement as a whole.

When we see solutions/conclusions as the normal production of the process (ie conditioning in the service of itself) rather than truth jewels, then we can watch them come and go without needing to obey.

Choosing to be methodically choicelessly aware?

Any desire is desire, no matter how humble or self-sacrificing. Desiring the end of desire is no better than desiring to be rich and powerful.

What’s a “truth jewel”?

(Quick aside: “Truth jewel” definitely relates to moments in the Talks when K would mention the truth as a jewel or something; or that, through the understanding of desire and fear (the self) we see the truth, and it’s like discovering a jewel.)

The question “Is freedom essential” is something I get stuck on a lot, particularly in relation to the assumption that truth has authority over non-truth, but I think the question of how reality relates to the self is a rather important question as well. And, with my inability to define/understand freedom, I go back to the question of self-knowledge and the resistance of the self towards inquiry.

It makes sense that the understanding of truth only comes about in daily life, because dreams (disregarding premonitions in dreams) and memories both cloud the understanding of reality in the present moment.

So, a question I get stuck on a lot is, “If freedom is essential, and it is possible I am ‘wasting my life’ by not ‘being free,’ and I continue to accumulate guilt in relation to this ideal of freedom, then what is freedom? Why am I not already free? What prevents freedom?”

Of course, the question of the observer then ixnays the possibility of “being free”, as it is not a static state of being. Why then do we observe the self as a constant state of being (fear of death/discontinuity?)

Anyways, from what I am able to deduce (or the conclusion I’ve drawn, whoops) freedom is not essential. Love is essential, because without any form of compassion, without any form of relationship with other human beings, we lose the will to live. Whether or not Truth or Love is or can be a constant state is another question (does love/care equal attention, then what is romantic love, etc).

But, freedom is not essential if we define freedom as the absence of fear/conflict, so long as we are ignorant and lack any form of self-awareness. (Is attention, then, the bridge between the absence of freedom and freedom?)

When K talks about freedom not being related to conflict (such as when he discusses how true goodness is not related to conflict), in that there is the question of the authority of truth/freedom, because when we try to consciously alter our actions, we may be acting as though we are decent human beings, but the essence of the self is inherently contradictory and selfish, so we’re acting as what we idealize is good in order to achieve the goal of becoming good, or rather in order to be perceived as good so as to preserve our sense of self-worth (clinging to disorder, the feeling of safety in a world that is inherently dangerous).

Anyway, it seems as though personal accountability for one’s actions in relation to other people plays a role in freedom, because by paying attention to how we act in the moment, there is the chance that we can see the non-truth; and in the moment, if time does not enter, there is a chance at transformation.

On a personal note, I distinctly remember a time when I was angry for what I thought was a justifiable reason. I was then promptly proven wrong; in the perception of my error, there was a moment of discontinuity, in which I blipped out for a moment, and after which I was no longer angry.

(Also, sorry for the rant Lol: this is my second post on the forum, but I’ve not really been able to talk to anyone about K since I started watching the talks.)


If I’m intending to be good, I’m not interested in self-knowledge. But if I’m more interested in my actual reactivity than in trying to be what I should be, I’m finding out what I actually am.

I’m doing this not because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s the only thing to do that isn’t what I’ve been doing up to now, i.e., stepping out of my usual pathology.

Through senses I can sense and respond to the what is, directly, and in the moment. This is freedom, and it is essential.
But guess who is invading the senses and subjugates them to exhaustion, and obstructs the seeing and the sensing of the what is ? Mrs. (or Mr.) Pleasure !! Pleasure floods the senses and blocks the direct perception.
So, yea, I see that pleasure is the driving force in life, but because I see this, I see that freedom is essential, and not pleasure.

Refusal to being the cause of suffering is the ending of the dictat of pleasure.

Everything is energy, from so called love or compassion to so called anger difference is that love is liberated energy acting intelligently whereas anger is that energy caught up in a very small field, being its source the I-thought that is forcing the brain to act in a mechanical, unconscious and not intelligent way which causes suffering to the brain leading to it to its own destruction and decadence, also because this constant, mechanical, somehow unnoticed movement deprives it of a real rest hence, the necessity of going through the state of dreamless sleep. We all know what happens to a brain deprived of dreamless sleep, don´t we?
Where does the question “is freedom essential?” arises but from ignorance? A more interesting question would be: were there not ignorance, could love or compassion be experienced the way it is as overcoming ignorance? It may be always existing and all-pervading, but experienced? I don´t know.

Edit: Yet, it seems that it is experiencing compassion what brings about the real change or shift in brain.

1 Like

If you’re honest enough to acknowledge you know nothing about freedom or ecstacy, you can’t “see that freedom is essential, and not pleasure” - you can only believe it.

For all you know, freedom may be ecstacy, which may be the ultimate pleasure.

I see what you mean Inquiry.

Then, maybe instead of saying "I see that freedom is essential, and not pleasure I’ll swap the adjective and state " I see that pleasure is essential, and not freedom.”

Can pleasure fill my life so completely that I can honestly say that nothing is missing in my life ?
If God calls me to grant me a favor, am I going to choose to pursue endlessly (until I die)
the worldly pleasures ?

Do I have the awareness and honesty to acknowledge that something is missing in my life in spite of all pleasures ?

So, the essentiality of freedom can be seen in or by it’s absence, and without the assistance of living, or experiencing freedom.

SEE IMAGE ATTACHED - K is talking about desire (Public Talk 7 London, England - 16 May 1961)

PS: I think it points to what I am trying to say above: the value/importance of something can be declared without the necessity of experiencing it first. Of course, one who is free can speak directly about freedom but here we only weight if freedom is essential or not.


That rings true because feeling well and healthy and unburdened with resentment and regret is a great pleasure, just as sickness and mental agony is pain.

Do I have the awareness and honesty to acknowledge that something is missing in my life in spite of all pleasures ?

Most of us feel that something is missing in our lives, but it may that it isn’t what’s missing, but what isn’t present that is our problem. We say something’s missing because we’re acquisitive, eager to get something, have something, instead of losing what it is that’s making us miserable.

So, the essentiality of freedom can be seen in or by it’s absence, and without the assistance of living, or experiencing freedom.

I doubt that “the essentiality of freedom” can be seen at all until/unless one is free.

Yea, I agree, pleasure and pain are natural responses of the senses, and are essential part in one’s life.

It is probably more accurate to say “the pursuit of pleasure” rather then “pleasure”. Cause “the pursuit” is overusing the senses and not the “pleasure”. Two squares of dark chocolate savored completely, are pure joy to the senses. But I see how I’ll go for more, and be in …“the pursuit of pleasure for dark chocolate”. :yum:

Whenever there is thought that measures and compares and judges, can there be freedom? Don’t those thoughts necessarily tie one to the past? Don’t those thoughts stop when there is listening?

Is it possible to be free from our thoughts and opinions? Or is freedom only in a blank mind?

By freedom do we mean some mysterious absolute? The mystical idea of nothing being free from nothing?
Does freedom have any meaning in the relative world of humans? In a practical sense as I go through life?

Unless you know by yourself or can grasp at least intellectually what K meant by the word “freedom”, those thoughts can´t be avoided because as soon as you say “freedom” you are also naming, and the other one hearing, its opposite “bondage”, whereas the freedom K talked about is beyond both of them which is to say that, actually, there is not bondage nor therefore freedom, we just think so. It is about discerning not about comparing because two things that are completely different cannot be compared only seen as for what they are. I heard once somewhere what I think is the best definition of what is false: something which appears in the locus of its absence, in this case it would be “bondage”. It is not a matter of stopping thoughts by listening or whatever but rather of seeing that it is thought what generates so called bondage and of being aware of it which naturally and effortlessly stills or slows thinking down.