Our Bondages Live Only in Our Mind
My guru, Baba, once told me a story. In an ashram, a cow was always tied up at night so she would not wander away. One day, the rope used to tie up the cow could not be found. A student tried to guide the cow into the cowshed so that she would be safe and dry in case of rain, but she would not go inside. The student went to his guru, who told him that the cow was used to being led by a rope, but since the rope was missing, he should pretend to tie a rope around her neck and lead her with the imaginary rope.
It worked. The cow got up and came along meekly.
However, when it was time to go out and feed on grass the next day, the cow would not go out. Once again, there was no rope to lead her. As before, the teacher instructed the student to pretend to tie the rope and lead her out. Again, the ploy worked.
The rope of thought was enough for the cow to behave as if she were in bondage. She was free all along.
You are either in bondage – dependent on objects and people to give you happiness – or you are free - independently established in happiness, which is sourced from within you. The perception of either bondage or freedom is merely in your own mind.
Bondage is created when we depend on the world, objects, and relationships for our happiness. Dependency expresses itself in different forms. Sometimes we feel that we must manipulate the world; at other times, that we must beg the world for what we want. In both instances, we are dependent, like a slave. After all, when in bondage, we cannot guarantee that happiness will be ours.
This dependency is pure powerlessness. However, your mind also holds the key to a unique kind of power and freedom. It can lead you to abiding peace and happiness, irrespective of what is happening in the world outside of you.
Ultimately, all my students are Self.
As a spiritual teacher, I simply pretend to untie the imaginary ropes around my students’ minds, even though they have been free all along.
I tell them, “You are free,” and interestingly, they start leading freer lives. They become more powerful, spiritually greater versions of who they were just moments ago.
Bondage and freedom, power and powerlessness, all occur in the realm of thought. By understanding the mind and its deepest tendencies through the lens of Vedic wisdom, we can free ourselves from sorrow and reclaim our inner joy.
This, by the way, is an excerpt from my forthcoming book tentatively titled Sovereign Mind Sovereign Self by SoundsTrue (Sept, 2020)!
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Acharya Shunya is a globally-recognized spiritual teacher and Vedic lineage-holder who awakens health and consciousness through the Vedic science Vedanta, and Yoga. She is the driving force behind Vedika Global, an online not-for-profit wisdom school and worldwide spiritual community, and the author of best-selling book on the Vedic art of mind + body + soul well-being and health, Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom (Sounds True, 2017) and forthcoming second book with Sounds True to be released in 2020, Sovereign Self. Acharya Shunya is a keynote speaker at national and international conferences, and serves as an advisor to the Indian Government in matters pertaining to global integration and cultivation of Ayurveda and Yoga. Receive her free online teachings and browse her current eCourse offerings here or see more about her on Facebook and follow her on Instagram. Subscribe to her YouTube Channel where she holds live Global Satsangs once per month.