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The Elevenfold Liberation

Featuring the Passions and Perspectives
of Contemporary Spiritual Leaders
by Douglas Harding

blunted and shrunk by society into small, limited, perishable things called human beings—separate, lonely, full of fear, locked up in the prison of our conditioning.

Various escape routes seem to lie ahead of us, such as hard work, TV, shopping, sex, drugs, spirituality. We imagine there's no simple and straightforward release from our prison, but in fact it offers no fewer than eleven wide-open doors to freedom. As we are about to see.

What I need is liberation from guilt and every kind of selfishness and delinquency.

The overriding aim and passion of my adult life has been conscious union with its Source. Yet I seem to get worse all the time instead of better! (Probably what's happening is that I'm becoming more aware of the ingenious tricks the ego's playing in order secretly to survive and flourish.) Anyway I'm increasingly appalled at Harding's nastiness. He'll take some saving! No ordinary rescue bid will do.

What I get is eleven lifelines, eleven distinct liberations, any one of which would be sufficient to haul me to safety.

Such is the lovingkindness, the overflowing generosity, the sense of humor, the thoroughness, the sheer prowess of my Source and Center. It's impossible to exaggerate the combined force of the Eleven, as I find, to my utter astonishment, that already


When I point to what I'm looking out of, I find that it goes on endlessly in all directions—up and down, left and right, in front and behind—with undiminishing energy. Almost as astonishing is that I can be this big, this burst-asunder, without noticing it, let alone valuing it.

Look now at what your finger's REALLY pointing at when it points to what's above your shoulders and you'll see exactly what I mean.

To be the superbenevolent, subnuclear Explosion that's forever would have been liberation enough and to spare. But for good measure there are ten more in the pipeline, each eagerly awaiting its turn to pop up!


“Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” So sings the prophet Isaiah in the Old Testament.

The forgiveness of sins is, of course, one of the chief themes of the New Testament. What it's all about, you could say.

In his book Intuitive Awareness, Ajahn Sumedho, who heads Theravada Buddhism in the UK, writes: “Consciousness is already pure. You don't have to purify it, you don't have to do anything
. . . . When we begin to realize and fully trust and appreciate this, we see that this is real. It's not theoretical, abstract or an idea—it's reality. . . . You've always been pure.”

As for myself, I have only to turn my attention around 180 degrees, and look in at What's looking out, to see that it's absolutely uncontaminated and uncontaminatable.


Spontaneous, unpredictable, at liberty. I don't know—no one knows—what I'll get up to next. Furthermore, there are clear signs that creatures of all kinds are as free-range as I am.

I watch the zigzagging flight of the butterfly as it flits from flower to flower, the erratic behavior of the housefly as it darts back and forth on the windowpane or the tabletop, the random gestures of this hand as it waves you welcome or goodbye. God knows what sense or nonsense this pen of mine is about to divulge. Correction: He doesn't know! If He did know, He would have shackled me hand and foot and turned the free spirit that I am into a robot, a cybernetic automaton vastly inferior to a housefly.

“You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free,” says Jesus of Nazareth. And the Tao Te Ching—that ancient Chinese classic—attributes to the enlightened sage the spontaneity of a newborn babe.

But apart from such clarion calls to freedom, all the great religions teach that true piety is submission to the all-powerful will of God. If slaves and slave-drivers have a religion, it is this, it is this. No wonder our churches are empty!

To put the matter crudely, God has changed His mind. And instead of surrounding Himself with servants, He's looking for friends—dear friends who have freely chosen that superb relationship.

4. I'M ONE

Not fragmented, all-of-a-piece, whole.

“Tell the mind there is but One,” says the Katha Upanishad.” He who divides the One wanders from death to death.” And the message of all the great Upanishads—those ancient scriptures of India—is that you and I are none other than that strictly indivisible One, the One who heals and wholes us. How can I make quite sure of this?

Well, I have a wonderful teacher who confirms it absolutely and unceasingly.

Twenty, fifty, a hundred times a day I hear myself saying “I AM.” I AM tired, I AM lonely, I AM very well thank you very much, I AM rather busy, I AM anxious, I AM all right today”—and so on endlessly. And as Meister Eckhart says, only God has the right to say I AM. Which means that essentially and at root I am Him, QED.

The awesome truth is that I can't be without being BEING ITSELF, without being the Only One Who IS.

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