The Four Jailers
There are four major entrapping forces that you, meaning any human being in western
culture, encounter in your adult life.
- Your landlord
- Your boss
- Your mate
Actually, in order of importance or depth of entrapment, this is the reverse order. But
in terms of making escape, it is much easier to start with the least pervasive, therefore,
Why is your landlord your jailer?
Calculate what percentage of your working time is spent working just to pay the rent. This
time is in reality spent working not for yourself, but for your landlord. You may think, I
am working for myself, because it pays for my essential need for shelter. But consider the
fact that that shelter will never belong to you, even if you should actually pay its worth
many times over. You are paying the mortgage, the taxes, the upkeep, and yet you can be
asked to leave at any time. (Oh, you have a lease, OK, what about when the lease runs out?
Suppose you have paid all these expenses on a place for even 25 or 30 years, when the
lease comes up for renewal, you can be kicked out. Your landlord can decide to turn your
home into a commercial establishment, condominiums, or even tear it down.) Imagine you
made payments on a car for years, including all the upkeep and insurance, and yet all the
time the car still belonged to the car dealer. Absurd.
If, on the other hand, you buy a house and are paying back a
loan, to the bank or the previous owner, once that loan is paid off, that house is yours
and no one can take it away. You are not working for someone else's benefit.
There are other ways to escape the landlord jailer - living
in a mobile living space is one possibility, such as a raft, boat, or even a truck.
Ask yourself this question, and try to give a truly honest answer: If you were not
gettiing paid, would you show up at your job? If the answer is no, then your boss is one
of your jailers.
What is keeping you there, other than the rent? Is it the
lure of consumerism, the acquisition of objects? One reason consumerism is so pervasive
and continuing to grow is that in western society most people have lost touch with their
emotional and spiritual parts and therefore feel a deep emptiness, which they try to fill
with things, not knowing the source of that emptiness.
Of course, everyone has needs food, clothing,
shelter, books and so on- but there are many many ways to fill our basic needs that do not
require becoming a slave to a job that brings only the reward of money.
Another reason the a boss is your jailer is that you must
turn over your timing to the boss. You cannot work when and where you please, at your own
scheldule and speed. As a result, you must ignore all the inner signals that come from
your various different parts crying out for expression and fulfillment. All must be
subordinated to the timing of the job, then you try to cram in the satisfaction of all
your other needs on the weekends and vacations.
How do you escape this jailer? "Do what you love, and
the money will follow." Be creative and daring. Start something totally new. There
are innumerable possibilities for ways to acquire your daily bread and other basic needs,
and if you do so on your own timing, you have the possibility of being able to pay deep
inner attention to yourself on all levels, and arranging your life so that all your needs
can be satisfied.
Your mate is your partner, your helper, your lover, your
comfort, and much more. How can s/he be your jailer? As soon as two people become
committed to a mate relationship, they unconsciously and automatically begin to restrict
and control one another. They each carry unstated assumptions and expectations of how the
other should behave, which lead to never verbalized, but insidious agreements about
what each will or will not do, in and out of the relationship. Much of it comes from
unconscious conditioning and patterning that has gone into you from your own childhood and
all the cultural input of society. Some of it comes from your fears fears of being
left or abandoned, fear of not being loved enough, fear of becoming less important in your
mates' eyes, and so on. Some of it comes just from inertia routines set up which
become habits, and life begins to lose its freshness and spontaneity.
Without prolonged and conscious efforts to overcome these
tendencies, all mate relationships inevitably fall into these patterns. Our own approach
to escaping this jailer is three- fold:
- -to know your own and your mates three deepest desires in life
- -to give one another total freedom and mutual support to pursue those dreams
- -and total honesty and exposure.
I remember a scene in the movie "Don Juan de
Marcos" in which the psychiatrist character, played by Marlon Brando, turns to his
wife as he is about to retire from his successful career and says to her, " I need to
know you, I want to know what your dreams are, what you long for." And she begins to
weep, whispering, "I thought you'd never ask."
You are your own best friend and your own worst enemy.
Ultimately, you have only your own weaknesses and negative behavior patterns standing
between you and total self-fulfillment.
To truly know yourself and to learn how to overcome all of
your own faults and lacks is a life-long study and struggle. As Gurdjieff said,
"Man's redemption entails his wholehearted and lifelong struggle against egoism,
habit, lying, chattering, fantasy, negative emotions, and hypnotic sleep; and a
complementary struggle for attention, presence, unity, being and understanding."
The tools and processes with which to tackle the path of
self-knowledge and self-fulfillment are myriad, and in our age, new and better techniques
and information are being developed and expounded all the time. It is a long and difficult
struggle, but for those willing to tackle these four jailers, the rewards are grand.
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