As always, I am escaping the noise and fireworks of the 4th of July and backpacking out into the quiet of the woods.

Often, on the 4th of July I gripe about how we are not truly free or independent, that our minds are trapped by programing, patterns, fear and misguided egoic identifications. I still see this as true. I am saddened about the diversion of fireworks and extravagance, perhaps all orchestrated to help us escape the truth of our lack of genuine freedom. While this may all be true, let me be a bit more positive and hopeful today.

The great India sage Poonja said, “Have only one desire in your life, the desire for freedom.” More and more people are breaking free from past patterns, programming and internal prisons and are choosing to awaken, to ask questions, to expand their comfort zone, to refuse to live lives of quiet desperation, fear and illusion. This is a good sign.

We are indeed already free. At the deepest level, we are always whole and complete and completely powerful and free. Yet we must go further, and we can and will.

The great Yogi Iyengar said: “By persistent and sustained practice, anyone and everyone can make the yoga journey and reach the goal of illumination and freedom.  Krishna, Buddha, and Jesus like in the hearts of all.” He goes on to say, “Illuminated emancipation, freedom, unalloyed and untainted bliss await you, but you must choose to embark on the Inward Journey to discover it.”

This is the most courageous, challenging and also most rewarding of all paths, the path that takes us right through the heart of our shadows, fear, pain, patterns and pretense. As Poonja says, it is the only desire worth pursuing.

The Buddha himself reportedly put it like this, “My friends, it is through the establishment of the lovely clarity of mindfulness that you can let go of grasping after past and future, overcome attachment and grief, abandon all clinging and anxiety, and awaken an unshakable freedom of heart, here, now.”

That last part is important. Notice he said, “here, now”. If not here, then where? If not now, than when? Any teaching that claims that freedom is to be found in some distant land or future life is a faulty teaching. The heaven with the genuine freedom we seek, must always be available here and now if it makes any sense at all, although we do have a big dose of programing to overcome before we can allow that blissful freedom.

So I invite us all to fill our hearts with compassion, and look within. Face and feel and heal every contraction, every addiction, every and any thing in this world that inhibits our genuine freedom: to follow the flow and tao and dharma of life, to live without limits, to be the bright and beautiful beings we came here to be.

May we all awaken and remember the truth of who we are, the limitless power and genuine freedom that is our birthright and inner truth, now and forever.