“The first rule in answering, if there is one, is to wait,” writes Lillian Firestone in the new issue of Parabola, “Liberation & Letting Go.” This brief, powerful essay stopped me in my tracks when I first read it because I happened to be on the train coming home from teaching a beginner’s meditation course. I had just answered quite a few questions. “The part of our brain that has the ‘right’ answer for everything is a dull place, built of endless chains of associations, everything we knew in the past. This knowing may be factually correct but there’s a problem with it. It is dead.”
To respond in a way that is alive takes courage because it means waiting, not saying the “right” answer, but sitting there open and vulnerable and not knowing, hoping a response unique to the moment might arise.
Riding home on Metro North that cold night, I realized Firestone was right. And more. It dawned on me that liberation does not consist in letting go of our connection with others and with the world around us, but in letting go of our separation. Liberation begins when we can be still and know that if we restrain ourselves from saying any old thing that happens to stacked up under the dust in the kingdom of our own mind, there will be more. A fresh response from a new impression from the living world will come from a deeper place.