You are born, you live for a while, and die. Your whole life is a series of experiences in all sorts of colours: from nice to not nice, from saddening to joyful, from angry to happy.

But don’t you just want to be happy?

You try to find love, solace and security: in a relationship, in money, in a beautiful house. But however beautiful and comfortable it is – if you manage to get it all together – this happiness is so fragile, it can slip away any moment.

Sure, that’s just the way life is.

It may be that your life is like this: always looking for happiness and fulfilment outside yourself, in a continuous effort to keep fear and loneliness at bay. This hankering dynamic steers your life. You are continually working on creating conditions that are going to guarantee your happiness. This striving is a breeding ground for the development of resistance, your will to keep control, and your urge for perfection.

Yes, I see it like that too.

What you overlook is that the project ‘I want to be happy’ is based on an essential misunderstanding: assigning reality to ‘I’ itself.  With this conviction you have placed yourself outside the totality of life. You experience a difference between I and the other; between I and the rest of the world; and I and nature. The fragment ‘I’ is always looking for wholeness, in whatever form that takes. Most people are not aware of this division, but when this dynamic is laid to rest, you realise the poverty-stricken loneliness of your life.

The assumption ‘I’ seems to be so true, you would swear that you are someone. But every mystic and every quantum physicist will tell you that this is merely an assumption. Before this idea can even be, You are – your true nature, complete in itself. It is only hidden by your claimed identity and your thoughts that you presume to be true.

See that this sense-of-I is an assumption, a thought. See that all thoughts are in essence empty. They have neither meaning nor content.

Isn’t that very barren?

You don’t need any belief to live life in all its radiance.

Always is this light – this mysterious light – that illuminates you and all life’s experiences. In your heart lives this light illuminating your pain, your loneliness and your joy, it illuminates night and day, darkness and light.

Turn round, turn inward and realise that you are this radiance – free, unassailable and total in itself.

All religions point to this universal secret, embedded in their own culture and tradition. It is an open secret that anyone can discover – veiled only by fixed ideas, assumptions and conclusions.

Whether you are a Christian, Buddhist or Muslim or don’t believe in anything at all, this light shines through everything and everyone. You can do nothing to get it, and you don’t have to believe in anything. In the light of this radiance there are neither believers nor disbelievers. Give this light the opportunity to reveal itself to you. No longer cling to any kind of idea – which, by the way, you have made up yourself or taken over from others.

But I am so afraid to let go.

What do you keep needing to hold onto? To your upbringing, your sadness, your guilt and sin, your depression, your new kitchen? Your alleged deficiency, your negativity, your judgements, your being right? Are you going to continue to imprison yourself in thoughts, in your self-spun web? What are you doing to yourself?

If I let go of that there is nothing.

Well, discover that: no-thing. Prior to nothing You are – knowing itself as unknown.

I don’t want to die.

What you think you are will die. Your thoughts are no more than a collection of images floating by, glued together by memory. Have the courage not to take your ideas so seriously anymore and acknowledge that actually, they have no substance at all.

Don’t restrict yourself any longer. Let all your ideas and feelings drift by. Let your whole life just drift by. Don’t be a beggar to existence anymore, craving fulfilment, searching for the missing piece in the form of love, comfort, control or protection. You – the one searching for enlightenment – are that missing piece.

So now what? Are you going to continue filling up your life, to ensure that the uncomfortable sense of separation stays covered up? Do you want to remain weighed down by worries and fears? Will you ever get round to your real life? Where is your lightness? Where is your innocence? You covered it up yourself, so you can dis-cover it as well. You will find it in your heart. Give it a chance and be prepared to receive: what you are is radiant and free, unborn – always present – everywhere, also here.

Don’t just believe this, investigate it yourself and become aware of who you truly are. Then your life will be free, playful and light, where shoulders need bear no weight.

I don’t have anything to teach – I just clarify the path, show you the way, encourage and empower you. But you yourself need to find the longing and the enthusiasm to realise this. You already have the key in your hands. You are free, this is your life – make it a huge success.

This is a text from the book Wings of Freedom