A Good Day to Escape
Dear old and new friends,
Living in Leavenworth, Kansas with its three prisons—state, federal and a maximum military facility—we are familiar with “prison breaks” when some inmate creatively finds a way to escape. October is an ideal time for your prison break!
Yes, “your” since each one of us came forth from our mother’s womb into a prison that isolated and separated us from one another, from creation and the rest of the cosmos. We are incarcerated in the prison of the Self with its inborn sense of separateness that divides us from all other life. Albert Einstein in a 1950 speech in New York City said, “A human being is part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe’; a part limited in time and space. One experiences oneself…as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of one’s consciousness…. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison.” Yet freedom is never cheap, so we resist the hard labor of escaping, of tunneling our way out to freedom. Einstein rightly calls it a “task,” and in that same speech he tells us how to gain our freedom, “…by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
A good religion is one of an evolution of consciousness, a constantly expanding of the circle of connection to others and to creation. A really good religion encourages that we become a faithful permanent escapee since the “self” always catches runaways and brings them back prison. Einstein spoke of ever-widening the circle of compassion or love as the heart of our escape plan. Whenever we encircle in a uniting love those who “appear” different by skin color, politics or religion, paradoxically we discover more clearly our true self as one with the cosmos. Einstein spoke of embracing “the whole of nature in its beauty,” which is why earlier I said October is an ideal time to escape.
The peak of autumn season is when tree tops turn into beautiful golden orange and scarlet clouds, and provide us a wonderful exercise in escaping. Upon seeing a flaming golden tree, pause and say with intensity, “How beautiful are we!” This identifying oneself with a beautiful artwork of creation instead of being simply an admiring observer is to break free! To continue escaping use it frequently and expand your escape-expressions to include peoples of other races and creatures tame and wild.
Your identity also is imprisoned—sadly shrunken—by old fashion tribalism since by its nature it excludes non-tribal others. Religion is a very powerful form of tribalism. Beliefs, dogmas and worship rituals unconsciously create frequently a regrettable spiritual superiority over those with different beliefs and forms of worship.
There is only one true religion—Love. And lovers are inescapable permanent escapees.