When I talk about freedom, I mean freedom from something or freedom to do something; it implies more freedom of choice. But my impression is that choiceless awareness precedes the freedom you talk about. What kind of freedom does not involve choice? Can it be defined, or is it one of those qualities like love which must be experienced to be understood?
“The freedom from something is not true freedom. The freedom to do anything you want to do is also not the freedom I am talking about.
“My vision of freedom is to be yourself.
“It is not a question of getting freedom from something. That freedom will not be freedom, because it is still given to you; there is a cause to it. The thing that you were feeling dependent on is still there in your freedom. You are obliged to it. Without it you would not have been free.
“The freedom to do anything you want is not freedom either, because wanting, desiring to do something, arises out of the mind—and mind is your bondage.
“The true freedom certainly comes after choiceless awareness, but after choiceless awareness the freedom is neither dependent on things nor dependent on doing something. The freedom that follows choiceless awareness is the freedom just to be yourself. And you are yourself already, you are born with it; hence it is not dependent on anything else. Nobody can give it to you and nobody can take it from you. A sword can cut your head but it cannot cut your freedom, your being.
“It is another way of saying that you are centred, rooted in your natural, existential self. It has nothing to do with outside.
“Freedom from things is dependent on the outside. Freedom to do something is also dependent on the outside. Freedom to be ultimately pure has not to be dependent on anything outside you.
“You are born as freedom. It is just that you have been conditioned to forget it. Layers upon layers of conditionings have made you a puppet. The strings are in somebody else’s hands.
Love is the flowering of your freedom. Compassion, another flowering of your freedom.
“If you can get rid of all conditionings, if you can think that you are neither a communist nor a fascist, that you are neither a Christian nor a Mohammedan. You were not born a Christian or Mohammedan; you were born just pure, innocent consciousness.
“To be again in that purity, in that innocence, in that consciousness, is what I mean by freedom.
“Freedom is the ultimate experience of life. There is nothing higher than that. And out of freedom many flowers blossom in you.
“Love is the flowering of your freedom. Compassion, another flowering of your freedom. All that is valuable in life flowers in the innocent, natural state of your being.
“So don’t connect freedom with independence. Independence is naturally from something, from somebody. Don’t connect freedom with doing things that you want to do, because that is your mind, not you. Wanting to do something, desiring to do something, you are in the bondage of your wanting and your desiring.
“But the freedom I have been talking about you simply are—in utter silence, serenity, beauty, bliss.”
Abridged from Death to Deathlessness by Osho
Osho is known for his revolutionary contribution to the science of inner transformation, with an approach to meditation that acknowledges the accelerated pace of contemporary life.