Breaking Free of the Prison of Belief
Once again the entire world is confronted with the face of terror and the prison of belief it represents. The recent terrorist attacks in Brussels and Paris is a prison of ideology deeply ingrained in the egoic feeling that we are separate. This separation lives in the proverbial ideas of good versus evil, or us versus them, or good guys versus bad guys, or Muslims versus Christians. What is perhaps more horrifying is the ordinariness of the terrorists that committed these diabolical acts. If you strip away the labels jihadist, terrorist, radicalized Islam, or even martyr you are left with the horrifying reality that these are simply ordinary people who are intent on killing and maiming other ordinary people.
The terrorists is trapped in the prison of the ego—the thirst for power, control, and domination—the deeply engrained genetics of mind that thrives in the genetic drive to destroy any perceived threat or enemy. To the terrorist they are simply killing the infidel—the phantom devil of Jihad—the proverbial struggle between true believers and non-believers. This ideology is a trick of the genetic mind—the shadow that only lives in the prison of belief—a mirage that only lives in the genetic mind.
Naturally, we are all struggling with how to deal with the alarming escalation of terrorist attacks around the world. We are all struggling with the heartbreak, stress, fear, and anxiety terrorist attacks generate. What should we do in the face of such diabolical depravity? What is the right course of action? How can we end terrorism? Will bombs kill this phantom of ideology and the prison of belief at the root of this global problem? The proverbial conversation between Krishna and Arujuna comes to mind—what is the dharma—right action? It provokes the question; does the fight of terror with terror end or exasperate the problem? What is the right course of action or inaction?
Questions of this nature are only natural, but doesn’t fighting terror with terror only generate more terror? Jesus famously stopped Peter from attacking the soldiers who came to arrest him with the famous words, “Those who live with the sword will die with the sword.” Jesus demonstrated the power of stillness—the power of resisting the tendency of the genetic mind to fight back. The great challenge here is stop and reflect more deeply on the cause of terrorism instead of the symptom that all terrorist attacks represent. It is a call to awaken to the truth of who we are, which transcends all differences that we perceive in our minds. How can we see through the prison of fear that terrorism generates?
Certainly, terrorism forces us all to confront the specter of our own mortality. Suddenly, tragically, terrorism destroys life in an instant. A person is here one minute and gone the next—this is the horrifying reality of terrorism—the horrifying reality of life—eventually we all must meet the death of our physical form. Many lives are irrevocably changed in a single act of terror. Random acts of violence are impossible to predict and the nature of its unpredictability renders terrorism deeply disturbing, deeply terrifying. It confronts the mind and ego and triggers the natural response of the genetic mind to protect.
This is not necessarily about fighting for peace or fighting to end terrorism on the outside, but rather an opportunity to deeply inquire and examine the terrorism that lives within all of us. The tendency to super ego judge ourselves and even hate people we perceive to be different than ourselves. It is the great call to awaken to a deeper truth—the love that we all are in the core of our being.
Ramana famously said, “Why worry about the world. The world will take care of itself. Know who you are and all else will be known.” His eternal pointing sets you free from your own prison of belief—sets you free from fear, anxiety, stress and so many forms of suffering that lives in the mind. The challenge is always to stop and inquire intimately into the heart—the living eternal presence that is never touched by death, fear, sadness—never touched by any diabolical act that lives in the genetic mind.
The challenge is always to face your fear, to fully meet the physical death of your body, and discover the eternal peace that lives in your heart. When you overlook this eternal presence, you remain trapped in the invisible prison of the ego—you remain trapped in the prison of the genetic mind.
We might not be able to solve the problem of terrorism in the world, but we can put and end to the terrorism that lives in our own mind. This is the great challenge and gift of inquiry—discovering who we are sets us all free from the prison of belief—the prison of the mind.
Do we have the courage to collectively awaken to the living truth that sets us all free from the invisible prison of the mind? Can we collectively end the terrorist that lurks in the genetics of our own mind?
The heart always sees through the prison of mind. This is the great challenge and eternal call of the Heart—the great call to evolve.
Can we see the world from the freedom of the heart? This is the great challenge and gift of Sri Bhagvan Ramana Maharshi!