on freedom, suffering and intimacy

What’s the most life-changing thing I’ve encountered this year?  No contest.  It’s the in-your-face gut-gripping truth about freedom.

We are taught to associate freedom with something:  freedom from…, or freedom to…  But freedom stands free of this or that or from or to.  Freedom is its own omnipresence, and it is as free at the beginning as at the end – if there were beginnings and ends to be found.

Freedom, for me, has been a long fishing line that has trawled deep and gathered up a submerged shoal of stuff I’d never have imagined would be of remote interest to it.  It has fished up pain – both personal and global.  It has fished up lostness, failure, grief, contrition, alienation, futility, sadness and depression.  It has fished up fear.  It has brought all these precious human qualities to the surface to be acknowledged, fully felt and wept over.  It has held my pen as I scribbled its dictation, and kept its ruthless gaze focused as my eyes inundated.  (Tears!  A lifetime’s quota in a year: where were they all stashed away?)  It has broken my heart again and again and yet again as I groped for some kind of relatedness that might make me feel known and needed by family and friends.  It has showed no mercy, while lovingly embracing my every tiny surrender.

Freedom is simply beyond comprehension.  It liberates every known corner of consciousness and every unimaginable one as well.  Freedom is a place where there are no life-buoys, no search and rescue teams, no hand-holds, no paths or maps, no cozy cults or religious refuges to retreat within.  It is a place beyond time.  Imagine that!  You can’t.  Me either.

No wonder we invest everything we have in serious avoidance of freedom.

So, ok, it’s been a challenging year or three, but going backwards isn’t an option.  It’s a one-way tide:  destination unknown.  But here’s the bonus:  freedom has made suffering history.  And that’s what has utterly amazed me this year.  Suffering is an extinct notion.

Suffering is needing – demanding – that ‘my’ experience of livingness be other than what-it-is.

Freedom is uncensored, unedited and unqualified intimacy with everything, just-as-it-is.

Warts and wondrousness and all.

~ miriam louisa


imagine a life without suffering

Gratitude to Joyce T for introducing me to the writing and teaching of Jan Frazier – we welcome her to our list of wideawake women.


Imagine a life without suffering. Not because bad things have stopped happening in the world or in your personal life. But because your orientation to them has changed. Your orientation to yourself has changed. The end of suffering comes about when you find your way to that primeval sweetness that has never left you, which is the essence of every human being. This essence has never known the swelling of pride or the grip of fear. It has never been lonely or ambitious. When the familiar sense of who you are has softened and grown light, when it is allowed to fall away, what remains is a pool of calm delight. You no longer ask things of your life. Each moment is enough, as it is. Life lived within that awareness is heaven on earth. It is human nature allowed to come to full flower.

~ Jan Frazier