Every soul has the eternal desire to be ABSOLUTELY free. No one can ever be content with being partly free, because our intrinsic nature is to be completely free.
What is Bound?
The mind is bound by ignorance of our Absolute Nature. In other words, when the mind is unenlightened it is in a state of bondage. From the standpoint of this human existence, man is the mind and the mind is the man. (“Man” of course means “human being.”) The man that is a prisoner of his mind is a prisoner of himself. Another way to say this is: a person who is self-involved is NOT free. A self-involved person will suffer from “bad feelings” which are vibrations produced by the mind in a darkened state. The “darkened” state of mind is Ignorance, and the “enlightened state of mind” is Enlightenment.
What is Free?
The mind is free when it is Enlightened. True freedom is only found in Enlightenment. If we are ignorant of our real nature, we are not free. Our real nature is that we ARE free, but this is only evident when we think and act with freedom. If our thinking is reactionary and our actions habitual, then we are creatures of habit.
It is necessary to form good habits to break bad ones, but it never helpful to form the habit of ego. Ego is a habit of false identification which originates out of association. Due to the natural association of the mind with the body and senses, our ego takes shape in the mind. Prior to this association, our ego is simply the principle of pure self-consciousness (somewhat like that of an infant child).
Little children are somewhat free but not completely free, not truly free. To be really free the mind must be inundated with the Wisdom of Consciousness so that the ego-infection can be warded off (in the case of children) or removed (in the case of adults).
Unless the mind-ego connection is broken (by dissolving our images with Wisdom), we will remain caught up in our mental reactions and physical attractions. This distracted state of the mind (caught up in its reactions and desires) is completely contrary to our true nature, which is to be free from all of this.
The first step to freedom is to go against our selfish whims and desires. In other words, it is necessary to revolt against the tyranny of our ego-mentality and assert our real nature. We have to deliberately practice doing good and thinking good. “Good” is simply that which is beneficial to our well-being (which is the same as the general and genuine well-being of everyone).
It doesn’t take much intelligence to know right from wrong. Mostly it is just a matter of being honest with ourselves and not making excuses for our shortcomings and weaknesses. If we misuse our intelligence to justify our false identification (ego) we will become very unhealthy and unhappy.
We cannot be healthy if we live an unnatural life or have unnatural habits. We cannot be happy if we are in our ego. We are so much more than just a “person” with memories, emotions, and desires. If our happiness is measured by the fulfillment of our images, then that happiness is imaginary. To be happy WE HAVE TO reach our full potential, and that potential is LIMITLESS HAPPINESS. The Sanskrit word for this is ANANDA, or BLISS, which is absolute freedom from unhappiness (a by-product of ego and ignorance).
Until we attain the ultimate BLISS (SatChitAnanda) we have NOT measured up to our full potential.