What the Buddha came to see is that who we are is an ever-changing stream of experience. And when we cling—to our firmly held ideas, beliefs, roles, and identities—we freeze-frame reality, turning flowing water into frozen ice, and then we find ourselves pinched and bound, locked into tiny cells. Our cold, sharp edges become a prison. We are in here, and everything else is out there.

Understood this way, freedom is less about getting or becoming than it is about melting. As we loosen our grip and step into not-knowing (or at least being-not-so-sure), we have the opportunity to free ourselves from the self-imposed prison of ignorance. As we soften and melt, we cultivate the capacity to remember and return to our original, oceanic source. From there we can respond appropriately and creatively rather than reacting habitually.

From A Bigger Sky: Awakening a Fierce Feminine Buddhism by Pamela Weiss © 2020. Reprinted with permission of North Atlantic Books

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