Three keys to personal liberation that Shakespeare didn't get.


2. Liberation from Society.

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A temple wall painting in Thailand portrays the moment when Prince Siddhartha renounces the world, including his sleeping wife and son, and goes in search of spiritual enlightenment.


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Gautam Buddha is portrayed sitting under the Bodhi tree, becoming an awakened being as the last morning star disappears.


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Meditation in the marketplace: the modern approach to spiritual search is not to escape from the world, but to explore non-attachment while enjoying what ordinary life has to offer.



Rebellion against authority is a good start, but it is not enough to ensure personal liberation. Outward revolution changes the structure of society, but inward revolution is needed if we are to throw off the burden imposed on us by social programming. Our personal identity is made up of whatever we are taught to believe in: our nation, our religion, our profession, our race, our ethnic roots and so on…
In Chapter 19, the mysterious character called ‘Nobody’ tells Hamlet that a conscious effort is required to slip out of the personality created from these labels, and this happens by learning the art of ‘not to be’.
In the spiritual tradition of India, ‘not to be’ was achieved by renouncing the material world, giving up one's possessions and living as a beggar. A classic example was Gautam Siddhartha, a prince who renounced his father’s kingdom in search of buddhahood.
But this tradition again created an outer role: the monk, bhikkhu, sadhu, yogi, or sannyasin. Instead of leaving the material world behind, the sannyasin became just another dimension of society.
A more modern approach is to remain in society and become free of its fetters by dissolving one’s attachments through mindfulness and meditation.