A conversation with Jim Dreaver – a Kiwi living in California.
I gave a lecture once at a conference, and afterward, a woman came up to me and asked: “How do you know when you’re free?”
“You just don’t take yourself to be anybody anymore,” I replied. “You no longer hold onto any concept or image of who you are. Therefore, when you look inside yourself there’s no conflict, no darkness, no edges, no more tension, no fear. There’s just this ever-fresh, ever-new experience of clarity, spaciousness, ease.”
“And you always feel like this?” she asked
“Essentially, yes. When realization happens, you know the truth of who and what you are, beyond all the beliefs and stories that previously gave you your identity. And, once you know, you know. Like knowing your name, or where you live, you don’t forget. Even when your body is tired, hurting, or sick, you always feel good inside. In the core of your being, your fundamental peace and well-being remain untouched. And this is true whether you’re waking, sleeping, or dreaming.”
“You’re always happy, then?”
“Not necessarily. If you just suffered a substantial loss—maybe someone you love just died, or maybe you just lost your life savings in a stock market crash, or an investment gone bad—you are not going to be happy. But you will always be at peace. Nothing, not even a great loss, has the power any more to disturb your inner peace and equanimity.”
Her eyes widened. and her face took on a dreamy, faraway look. “It sounds truly wonderful,” she said.
“It’s just being very present,” I said, as I reached out and touched her hand, bringing her back to the now. “It’s not about wonderful states in another dimension. It’s not about being somewhere else. You know you’re free when you realize that there is only the present, this moment now, and you’re always one with it. You’re always at peace with this moment now. You, as an expression of consciousness, are juiced, turned on, by the unfolding of creation in this moment now.”
She breathed deeply, started to relax. But then she frowned. “What about ambition, hopes, dreams, the desire to do something with your life?” Suddenly, her voice rose again. “What happens to all of that?”
“Desire is still there, you’re just no longer attached to it. You still have likes and dislikes, preferences, but they don’t run you anymore. If a desire arises, to make love to your partner, for example, and then it doesn’t happen because he or she says no, there’s no sense of frustration or disappointment. Or if there is, momentarily, you just let it go. It falls away naturally. You’re always in the moment, and there’s always something new and interesting happening in every moment.”
“What about ambition, having a sense of mission or purpose in life?”
“Ambition is there too, it’s just no longer so personal, it no longer comes from the ego. You realize that this body/mind that you, as pure consciousness, are inhabiting, or expressing through, is here to do something. Once you find the freedom that is your true nature, what you are here to do—your personal mission, or destiny—becomes very clear. Startlingly so. Then you set about doing it. The beauty is that you’re no longer worried about success or failure. The joy truly is in the journey.”