Today's theme is about freedom...but in how letting go of your attachments makes you free.
I heard one of the strangest things on the radio yesterday. I was listening to Rush Limbaugh when a black gentleman called in to discuss the use of the "n" word. He was saying that certain words only became offensive to him when someone else or society told him he should be offended by the use of the word. He felt that if all people of all colors were able to use that word freely, and if black people made the choice to not be offended, how freeing that would feel. He went on to add that
he, himself, has tried many times to offend white people with words but finds he can't because "white people will just not get offended." He said, I want that feeling because it must be so freeing.
I am not making this up; this is what I heard from a caller on November 18, 2013 sometime around 1pm.
I pause in writing this, because I am not even sure which tangent to run off with first! First, let me
say that I am not writing about the specific word alluded to above at all; it happens to be the word the caller chose to discuss. I am not getting into the debate of are we too politically correct so as
not to offend. So, if you think my theme is about either, detach yourself from that thought and read on...
We went out over the weekend to try to buy a car for the new driver in the family. Car buying
is an entire theme unto itself, right?! We went to a dealership that seemed to have a huge inventory of the make and model we were looking for and took along our own list of requirements for the car we would buy. After driving several, we were down to own that met the checkpoints on our list except, for the fact, it had a loud issue with the venting system. We sat down with the salesman and the three different managers who came over to pressure us into feeling that this was our car and if we were to just fill out the paperwork on it, they would do everything they could to ensure our satisfaction with the noise. Let me point out that this is just like what the caller was saying when he said he wasn't offended by words or things until he was taught that he should be. It wasn't my car but they wanted me to feel it was. People, in various ways, want to make you feel attached to certain outcomes. They rely on your guilt to get what they want from you; they count on your fear pushing you towards their suggestions.
Rely on your yoga tools as a guide to your truths, your inner Self, and just say no.
I explained to these men that I was not attached to the car. I didn't care if I bought a car today, next week or next month. This non-attachment is freeing, like the caller said. I freely left with my husband and we bought the same make and model somewhere else later that day with half
the miles on it, in perfect condition and with a warranty all for the same price.
I love the word "choice"; it is such a powerful word.
Choose to not be offended. Choose to not be attached.
I literally can hear the counter-argument in my head... but you don't have a personal connection with the "n" word so, of course, you are not offended. Stop. Just stop. I can think of a word that I cannot stand (so can we all!). I have never used it nor will I. And, as I stop to think about this, I could totally allow myself to find this word offensive if I chose to. It is more that I find the word disgusting. Its use causes to me to question in my mind the person using it. If I chose to be offended, what would ensue is anger. My blood pressure would probably rise, my heart would beat faster, and I would want to shout to the word-user, you are wrong! I am free from all that. The caller was right, in a sense, but hasn't yet figured out how this applies to him. He said
that "whites will not get offended." I would argue that it is not a white, black, yellow or purple issue; it is an individual choice. I choose to feel that the user of such words is bound and attached to those words; not I.
And you aren't bound and attached to them either.
"The Spirit of the Warrior
Although we have been made to believe that if we let go we will end up with nothing, life itself
reveals again and again the opposite: that letting go is the path to real freedom.
Just as when the waves lash at the shore, the rocks suffer no damage but are sculpted and eroded
into beautiful shapes, so our character can be molded and our rough edges worn smooth by changes. Through weathering changes we can learn how to develop a gentle but unshakable composure. Our confidence in ourselves grows, and becomes so much greater that goodness and compassion begin naturally to radiate out from us and bring joy to others. That goodness is what survives death, a fundamental goodness that is in every one of us. The whole of our life is a
teaching of how to uncover that strong goodness, and a training towards realizing it. "
- Excerpt from The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying By Sogyal Rinpoche