We are all children of Earth. Grant us that simple knowledge.
If our brothers are oppressed, then we are oppressed.
If they hunger, we hunger.
If their freedom is taken away, then our freedom is not secure.
Grant us a common fate; that man shall know bread and peace.
That he shall know justice and righteousness, freedom and security;
and equal opportunity and equal chance to do his best not only on our lands, but throughout the world. And in that fate, let us march. March toward the clean world our hands can make.
The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.
If the negro is to be free he must move down into the inner resources of his OWN soul and sign with the pen and ink of self assertive manhood his own emancipation proclamation.
So long as the superstition exists that unjust laws are meant to be obeyed, so long will slavery exist.
Lay yourself on the slab of openness
and wait for the knife of my beauty
to gash you so deep with the Beloved’s radience
that you can never recover.
We can become authentically public only by first going to the depths of the private. At the heart of the uniqueness of the individual lies the universal. Every person’s deepest ecstasies and fears are old as mankind and common as dirt. Thus, the greatest freedom for the individual comes from the love of many stories. The strongest state is the one that keeps the fewest citizens in jails, insane asylums, and ghettos. Open the doors behind which you imprison the citizens of your private commonwealth. Form a community of teller and listener. It is a call to revolution; seize the authority to create your own story.
The true Declaration of Independence does not exist in any historical document, is not the result of a treaty or a war. It is not a date on a calender. True independence occurs when we recognize our bondage to the conditioned mind and make the decision to be free - to discover the truth of who and what we truly are.
Space and Freedom
- Can you please elaborate on what is space inside of us? Why is this good? I feel lonely sometimes. This feels like emptiness or space inside, but it does not feel good.
Space here does not mean loneliness. Space here means freedom because you are not busy inside-you don’t have a lot of worries, fears, projects, things to think about. That is space. Space here is the basic condition for you to enjoy life. If you are preoccupied with so many things, you don’t have that condition.
One day the Buddha was sitting in the wood with thirty or forty monks. They had an excellent lunch and they were enjoying the company of each other. There was a farmer passing by and the farmer was very unhappy. He asked the Buddha and the monks whether they had seen his cows passing by. The Buddha said they had not seen any cows passing by.
The farmer said, “Monks, I’m so unhappy. I have twelve cows and I don’t know why they all ran away. I have also a few acres of a sesame seed plantation and the insects have eaten up everything. I suffer so much I think I am going to kill myself.
The Buddha said, “My friend, we have not seen any cows passing by here. You might like to look for them in the other direction.” So the farmer thanked him and ran away, and the Buddha turned to his monks and said, “My dear friends, you are the happiest people in the world. You don’t have any cows to lose. If you have too many cows to take care of, you will be very busy.
“That is why, in order to be happy, you have to learn the art of cow releasing (laughter). You release the cows one by one. In the beginning you thought that those cows were essential to your happiness, and you tried to get more and more cows. But now you realize that cows are not really conditions for your happiness; they constitute an obstacle for your happiness. That is why you are determined to release your cows.”
We have to ask what is really essential to our happiness. We believe that things are essential to our happiness, but we have to look again. Many of us have cows, many cows that prevent us from being happy. That is why we have to learn to release our cows. Also there are many cows inside, so many preoccupations! Many things to worry about, to be angry about, and there’s no space at all inside.
How can you be happy in such a state of being? That is why to release the cows around us and to let go of these preoccupations inside is a very essential condition for happiness. That is the space we are talking about when we practice. I am space; within and out. I feel free. Freedom is the real foundation of happiness. Sometimes if you don’t know how to love, love will deprive you of your freedom and deprive the person you love of her freedom. That is why space is so essential in relationship.
There is a beautiful poem praising the Buddha: “The Buddha is like the full moon/traveling in the vast sky of emptiness.” Because of that freedom, the happiness of the Buddha cannot be measured by our mind.
-Thich Nhat Hanh
Let us visualize the waves on the ocean, several waves appearing on the surface of the ocean. Some waves are big, there are those that are small, and each wave seems to have its own life. A wave may have ideas like, “I am a wave. I am only a wave among many waves. I am smaller than the other wave. I am less beautiful. I last less than the other wave.” Ideas like that. A wave can be caught in jealousy, in fear, in discrimination. But if the wave is able to bend down and touch the water within herself, it will realize that while it is a wave, it is at the same time water. Water is the foundation of the wave. While waves can be high and low, more and less beautiful, the water is free from all these notions. That is why if we are able to touch the foundation of our being, we can release our fear and our suffering.