Number 91.– Life and Freedom

Commentary on the Teaching Number 3, “Presence on the Eternal Hour”, from the Course
“The Way of Renunciation”.

“To renounce is to overcome the dimensional time in order to live an expansive, immense and eternal time.” Here is the beginning of this Teaching that, in its essence, deals with the real freedom. We are creatures of the time; we are its prisoners. So, the idea of freedom is intimately related to our relationship with the time, with its course, its use, and its meaning.

The search for freedom may be a characteristic of life. Even we see cases where the powerful survival instinct is subdued in front of the desire for freedom. Certain birds, in case of being locked up, even in possession of everything materially required for their physical sustenance, let themselves die in their confinement, or even more: they collide again and again until death with bars blocking their longing for flying.

A clamor for freedom goes through the whole planet and whole human evolution. Certainly, this freedom searched, whose meaning has multiple aspects, is a legitimate aspiration in every human being. The man wants to be owner of his destiny; he wants to decide what to do with his life, and wants to act at will.

In history and at present there are many examples of social events where the search for will or the lack of will become central protagonists. For instance, the hippie movement; let us see what they were seeking and what they have found. They proclaimed Peace, Love and Freedom. Can anyone question this wonderful ideal?

Many persons have lived this outer freedom during sufficient time. Or rather, they have lived the illusion of being free. They could not be ruled by social standards, but a little later, they were unexpectedly trapped by other nets: their own bodily, emotional and mental habits taking possession of their lives. What kind of freedom was theirs, being unable to rule themselves?

Much material has been published and many serious studies have been developed by specialists about the characteristics of the hippie movement. Here the point is to ponder on their concept on freedom. It was freedom such as “I do just as I wish”. But mainly the one acting “just as he wished” was not the inner Self, the higher Consciousness of the individual, but his body, his instinctive mind, and his undisciplined sensibility, and tied to his instinct and to emotional collective movements. One can deduce it upon seeing what the majority of those young persons got as a type and quality of life.

And what is our ideal, our reality of life? With the exception that we travel through life following the rhythm of the society while they turned their backs and rushed at the conquest of their ideal, and do not see much difference between our situation and what those hippies lived. From certain point of view, many of us are hidden hippies, camouflaged in the formal society, but with the same urges for freedom. And we try to exercise it at weekends. We are in the same situation: sometimes we can act just as we wish, but this does not free us.

Why we do not achieve the ideal of freedom? What do we need? Perhaps it is so because we focus the concept of freedom on the bodily and outer aspect, ignoring that the deep and real freedom is attained by subordinating the body, mind and emotions to the control of the spiritual being that we are. Inner freedom is real freedom.

Tyranny of the time, and life in Community

Certainly, the time is a tyrant, as the motto says. We are its slaves. We only know to go ahead in life under the control of the time harassing us permanently. We spend our labor week under a disrespectful rhythm to the human nature, and necessarily unbalances are taking place. Later, during the weekend we want to restore in few hours those energies lost by misusing the time and body. May we imagine a balanced way of living compatible with our reality? How might we “live the eternal hour”? Is something to practice and learn?

The Teaching refers to life in the Community of Cafh as ideal example of order and outer discipline, which facilitates the inner freedom, and we can find some clues there: “Through the life regulation of the Ordained Son by giving him true freedom, the Divine Mother has apparently prescribed certain severer rules of life, as if he were more tied to the time, having distributed so strictly his days and life. Seemingly one is tied to an inescapable daily rule. But really in this way the soul can get rid of the dimensional time and enter the expansive time, which can only be attained by living quite strictly in the time, through more accurate habits, and by living them very intensely”.

By means of this panorama of life in a Community, posed as an ideal, I started wondering what relationship could there be between that life and the life of most of us living in the society, with all its conditionings and lack of attention to the spiritual needs of the human beings.

For instance, I wondered how could be achieved, at least partially, that ideal of balance, of ordered life, of higher sense, in a world where the priorities of the society are different. Before these questions, and in order to widen my poor knowledge of the life in Community, I decided to ask to a person that had undergone it. The result of this consultation is as follows:

–You have spent a time in Community; so, can you tell me something about how is the daily life there? How do the Ordained live?
–You can get an idea through these comments: the Ordained got up quite early, and after their washing and cleaning in short time and silently, the whole Community is ready to pray with the intention of offering the vicissitudes of the day that is about to come. After the prayer in common, which does not last much time and after a light breakfast¸ they go and work for many hours. They work praying internally or vocalizing if it is possible. They pay intent attention to the labor, because this labor is also a prayer. The labor has a motto: attention, diligence, control and dedication.
–My retirements were some few, at Embalse, and I felt that the daily life in Community was approximately like a retirement, mainly with many hours of study and prayer, which in the world is more difficult to one.
–No! Life in Community is not like life of retirements; it is a life with much manual labor; first, six hours of toil, in addition of every necessary hour to keep order, clean, cook, wash dishes and clothes, everything; the average, some two or three more hours… Also, according to the type and quantity of necessary labor to sustain the Community, this time can extend even further. Remember that when you did your retirements at Embalse, your manual labor lasted only two hours.
–Then I was quite wrong. As prayer, exercises, meditation and study are so much emphasized, I imagined they dedicated much time and efforts to all this, thus achieving special spiritual progress.
–It is a quite common mistake to believe it. In life of Community, its achievements are not so much a result of much time dedicated to prayer, but to certain special attitude as they do things, without distractions; so, every moment is in some way a prayer.
–I wonder if something like that might be possible in daily life of ordinary people, here, at this vale of tears… Please, don’t laugh; you know I mean it, because by your own experience in the two ways of living, you are aware of our troubles to attain something referred by the Teaching.
–I don’t doubt you’re speaking seriously and telling a quite important thing: If this idea could be applied to life in the world, many souls might be able to carry out a life of prayer, without seclusion, by living normally in their families and in society.
–If one sees this as a whole, could not there be so many differences in connection with the Community and the world, perhaps with the exception of the organization and propitious environment. Because if we have the same hours of labor and the point is not so much prayer or study and meditation, where is the distinctive point, the key to focus this objective?
–I have told you, it is a difference as to attitude. In fact, we can say this: the Observance is the distinctive trait in Community.
–And what is the meaning of this?
–The Observance, as an act and attitude, is the faithful compliance –inner and outer– of what has been established. It is inseparable from living in Community, and doubtlessly, for us who are living in the world, it can become a music guiding us insensibly but without pause to renunciation integrated to daily life, to a total surrender.
–May you give me some example, even with less poetry?
–Let’s see where we can begin: if you have spiritual urges, you’ll want to dedicate some time to prayer and study, another time to labor, to live orderly, and to do things properly. So, upon trying to make something possible in your normal life, first you decide what to do, and then you do it, according to your plans. Here there is not a Superior instructing what you must do, or a Regulation indicating it; you should be your own superior by dictating your rules from within.
–And to comply with them…
–Exactly. There is the point: this is the possible Observance in living in society. Thus one learns how to be really present, entering the spiritual dimension. It is to live the eternal hour.

To Love and Construct

By trying to achieve this ideal, I have learned how as we progress in our schedule, we can get rid from unnecessary decisions: everything is established beforehand. This frame of discipline allows our full surrender at once, by applying entirely the powers of the soul to what one is living. The proper phrase is, “To be on what you stay”. This is Presence; that which permits us to live on other planes at a time makes us efficient and conscious at this plane.

But this cannot be achieved in every aspect of our lives. One shall fail in case of wanting to do a change all at once in short time. It is better to start by one or two things, and once one decides on them, we should comply hundred per cent. For example, by thinking of dedicating day by day certain time to prayer on certain schedule. On the other hand, by cultivating the attitude referred by the Teaching while we are working.

I remained thinking of this phrase: “Thus one can be really present and enter the spiritual dimension”. These words recall those exceptional moments when our soul turns up, and the mind observes a reverential silence before the miracle. We all have some vivid experience of this kind. It may occur at any moment: on a placid stroll in a moving landscape, or in the hustle and bustle of daily life. These sporadic moments, seemingly coming from the nothing, are revealing if we know how to treasure and value them. Not only to recall them, but even to learn from them the way of being present, of living the Eternal Hour.

Presence is to live the moment, such as it is, with no past or future. It is to have established, from the higher level of the soul, when both Intuition and Will of the Spirit fit together, what routine shall take place, what activities shall be developed, and to comply exactly with the thing ordered, by fixing our limits and order, our compliance and obedience; by living consciously, constructing our own reality, and flying to other dimension. “Love the reality you are constructing, and nothing will stop your flight.”

Fanny Luz