An excerpt from Freedom From the Ties That Bind (Llewellyn Worldwide)
Human beings are a unique creation in the cosmic scheme of things. Unlike the untold billions of other life forms teaming on the Earth — whose nature is an open-and-shut case — human nature is not fixed. What does this mean to you? Only everything!
The tiger, the horse and the bird must express their nature. They have no real choice. And even though they may be free to choose which part of the jungle, or open range, in which they want to feed and roam, these animals have no choice as to the kind of world in which they must dwell.
The tiger can’t choose to live above the jungle floor any more than a shark can decide to soar through blue skies. The tiger, horse, bird and shark must live where they do because of what they are. Try to see this deeply.
The tiger’s nature determines its life. And that life is a part of the jungle floor. They are inseparable. The tiger’s nature and its life level is one thing. The tiger’s life level determines the world it must inhabit. Its nature and life level are as fixed as its stripes.
But your nature is not fixed. This is spiritual fact. And now you must turn this powerful fact into your discovery and personal experience.
You do have the freedom to choose the kind of world you call your own. Why spend your life in a steamy jungle of roaring thoughts, or in a dark valley filled with sad and worried emotions when, by choosing higher, you can live happier? Your days can be as cool and relaxed as a clear mountain stream, if you decide that’s the life you want.
But, decide you must. What very few men and women ever come to realize, spiritually speaking, is that life is a ceaseless series of inner choices about where they want to live. And even though we may not fully understand the nature of these choices, or why they must be made, to not choose is to lose. Here’s why.
The complete range of life-level possibilities, from the conflict-filled jungle floor to the serene mountaintop, all exist right within your own uninvestigated nature. And to not choose the upward path through this life is to resign yourself to the laws of gravity — which always choose in favor of their own nature: down.
A mental picture will help bring some of these important invisible concepts into clearer view.
Imagine a huge mansion with unlimited floors. Now, further envision that each floor in this mansion represents one life level out of all of the countless possibilities. If it’s helpful, think of this mansion as representing your True Nature.
The level of each of the floors in our inner mansion determines the life choices available on it.
For instance, as long as you live in the basement of this mansion, you can’t choose to enjoy the unrestricted cool air and natural sunlight of the first floor resting just above it. Similarly, on the second floor you can’t choose to see the beauty and panorama of the view that only the fifth floor and higher can offer. And so on it goes, all the way to higher and higher floors.
Each floor represents a possible life level. But, while each of these inner levels and the natural events attracted to them may be fixed, you are not. Unlike the tiger that can’t leave the land of the tiger, you can leave any troubling part of your own present nature far behind you.
Picture a set of stairs that winds its way up and through this immense inner mansion. These steps start in the darkened basement and lead up until they go out of sight. Each step of the staircase is also a part of your True Nature, but none of them belongs to any one floor level through which they pass.
This means you don’t have to remain on any level not of your choosing. You have the power to climb. You can change your life experiences by walking away from any of those unwanted worlds within you that create your unpleasant days. In this way, self-departure is the same as self-elevation. Your life is meant to be an upward journey.