In all things, be a master of what you do and what you say and think. Be free.
Freedom is the ultimate goal of true religion—not God, not paradise, not even truth, but freedom. This has to be understood because this is Gautam Buddha’s essential message to the world. Freedom is the highest value according to him, the summum bonum; there is nothing higher than that. But by the freedom he does not mean political freedom, social freedom, economic freedom. By freedom he means the freedom of consciousness.
Our consciousness is in a deep bondage; we are chained. Inside is our prison, not outside. The walls of the prison are not outside us; it exists deep in our unconscious. It exists in our instincts, it exists in our desires, it exists in our unawareness.
Freedom is the goal.
Awareness is the method to reach that goal.
And when you are really free you are a master; the slavery disappears. Ordinarily we may appear free, but we are not free. It may appear that we are the choosers, but we are not the choosers. We are being pulled, pushed by unconscious forces.
When you fall in love with a woman or a man, do you think you have decided it, it is your choice? You know perfectly well you cannot choose to love, you cannot force yourself to love somebody. You are not the master, you are just a slave of a biological force. That’s why in all the languages the expression is ‘falling in love’—you fall in love; you fall from your freedom, you fall from your selfhood. If love were your choice you would rise in love, not fall in love. Then love would be out of your consciousness, and it would have a totally different quality, a different beauty, a different fragrance.
The ordinary love stinks—stinks of jealousy, anger, hatred, possessiveness. It is not love at all. Nature is forcing you towards something which is not of your choice; you are not just a victim. This is our slavery. Even in love we are slaves, what to say about other things? Love seems to be our greatest experience; even that consists only of slavery, even in that we only suffer.
People suffer more in love than in anything else. The greatest suffering is that it deluded you—it creates the illusion that you are the chooser, and soon you know that you are not the chooser; nature has played a trick upon you. Unconscious forces have taken possession of you, you are possessed. You are acting not on your own; you are just a vehicle. That is the first misery that one starts feeling in love, and one misery triggers a whole chain of misery.
Soon you become aware that you have become dependent on the other, that without the other you cannot exist, that without the other you start losing all sense of meaning, significance. The other has become your life, you are utterly dependent; hence lovers continuously fight, because nobody likes to be dependent, everybody hates dependence. Nobody likes to be possessed by somebody else because to be possessed means to be reduced to a thing. The whole humanity suffers for the simple reason that every relationship goes on reducing you, goes on making your prison smaller and smaller.
Buddha says: This life is not true life. You are being lived, you are not really living. You are being lived by unconscious forces. Unless you become conscious, unless you take possession of your own life, unless you become independent of your instincts, you will not be a master. And without being a master there is no bliss, no benediction; life remains a hell.