Freedom

Some years ago, just before a meditation practice, the Buddhist nun conducting a retreat I was attending stated, as a means to inspire effort and determination, that the relative peace in this country is fragile, delicate, one when given the proper conditions could change without a moment's notice. 

The statement led me to reflect upon and stirred gratitude for the freedoms and comforts afforded me, those fought for by military and social activists now and from generations past.  It helped me appreciate even more the freedom to practice the religion of my choosing, allowing me to practice it (through meditation) relatively undisturbed, without the looming threat of unimaginable violence. 

This is certainly one sense of freedom worth celebrating.

Another has to do with the fruits of the practice itself.  

As we lift the veil of ignorance through insight, we come to understand the mechanics of how suffering arises, we begin to free ourselves from troublesome habitual patterns of the mind that lead to added, unnecessary pain and suffering. The practice provides a unique opportunity to reach an incomparable freedom, one that relies heavily on our ability to practice within this mundane, relative peace, but eventually leads to a balanced state of mind better equipped to navigate the inevitably choppy seas of life, ultimately reaching the shore of a more lasting, undisturbed peace.

So as we celebrate the mundane freedoms and the lives of those that defended and defend them, let us also be determined to keep our practice steady so as to experience the promised supramundane freedoms that lie ahead.