Free from Suffering
As your own consciousness evolves you realize that wanting
to be free is actually a barrier to awakened living.

When you want to be free the broad-ranging, systematic identification and renunciation of life situations that are motivated by conditioning is called Courageous Deconstruction.

Buddha said: “Difficult is the way that leads to life and there are few who find it.”

This initial phase of your trajectory towards the spiritual path is titled courageous because the volitional evolution of consciousness, at least at this early stage, is not for the faint-hearted. I do not wish to mislead you by making it sound like a walk in the park - well, perhaps Jurassic Park!

No one can account for the unfolding of grace, so spontaneous awakenings can and do occur, and such an unfolding can instantly unravel years of dysfunction and conditioning. Forgiving an unexpected descent of grace, the work of courageous deconstruction can eventually lead you to Awakened Deconstruction: the very beginning of an authentic spiritual path. And, yes, I said the beginning of the path.

The difference between these two stages is subtle but critical. Courageous deconstruction, and wanting to be free of ego, define a seeker on the long and winding way towards the start of their spiritual path. To awaken, you must leave behind your wanting to be free, or in extreme cases of ego, your wanting to want to be free.

For example: If you have been a full-time student—for more than two or three years—of a teacher whom you have confirmed to be liberated, and you have not yet awakened yourself, the issue is not be with the teacher or the teachings. You will find that there is a willingness to abandon your initial phase of courageous deconstruction. You have to be on the path before you can awaken. If you are not on the path you are with the ego. Oil and water do not mix, just like awakening and conditioning do not mix.

The only way you can find out if someone is indeed free is by watching their actions closely to see that there is no ego present—no ego—ever, never, not even once, over a period of two or three years. (See Dr. David Hawkins for more about his work on kinesiology and how to verify if a teacher is fully awakened.)

It is important to remember that someone who can perform miraculous healings, or manifest visceral visions of light, ecstatic states of bliss, or even blast you into samadhi with a flick of the finger may not be free from ego. There are many such individuals whose public relations departments are far more advanced than their levels of consciousness, and with the help of some siddhi powers they could look like the ego impression of an enlightened person. The motives of such teachers are often: money, security, sex, or fame, much the same as their students because the same ego in is in charge of both.

Example: Martin was excellent in yoga. At a long-term meditation retreat, before the silent practice and teachings began, he would stake out his chair and return to the lobby to do his asanas where everyone could see him. He considered himself to be quite spiritual and advanced on the path. Martin engaged the teacher regularly, but mostly on questions of process and the rules the teacher had laid down in regard to conduct during the retreat.

One day, the teacher asked Martin if he wanted to be free from suffering more than anything else. His reply was, “I want to want to be free.” The teacher smiled and said, “You know, if I was younger I would have gone after that answer to crush the ego that spoke those words.” A ripple of knowing laughter moved through the crowd. What Martin did not realize is that he had just escaped from a direct dialogue with this great teacher who was known for roasting the ego alive in full view of the host and the audience.

As your own consciousness evolves you realize that wanting to be free is actually a barrier to awakened living, and that your real life and your spiritual life merge when you make the awakened choice to cross from courageous to awakened deconstruction. It is that simple.

Awakened deconstruction begins when you declare that you are free regardless of what your past or future happen to look like or how you feel about that decision. This declaration places you firmly on the path, and you will see that what you originally thought was a legitimate spiritual quest was mostly just the ego masquerading in ochre robes.

In awakened deconstruction, the work of renouncing ego continues, but you are now undertaking this task as a person who is free, not one who wants to be free. This offers you a powerful vantage point on your own liberation: the top-down perspective.

If it seems vain to simply admit you are free, then consider that a favorite mask of the ego is fake humility. False modesty allows you to avoid responsibility for your actions by pretending you do not already know what to do. It is only the ego that has you waiting for some person, feeling, or experience so that it can claim enlightenment based upon anything other than what is. Now you know.

Awakened deconstruction is your spiritual birth—the beginning of the end of eons of needless suffering. Many seal their fate as seekers here by never opting to make this transition. They select, instead, to remain on their quest and—along with the ego—attend one more lecture, or meditation retreat, or have one more spiritual experience, so remaining lost on the way to the path.

For many, it seems impossible to accept their lives—just the way they are—as the lives of awakened people. Those objections are only the ego screaming! You don't have to worry about them. They will eventually fade away.

As a direct consequence of accepting your birthright of salvation—in this lifetime— there is very often a natural progression from courageous to awakened deconstruction. From this point forward, your experience will be dramatically different, and you will begin to live an awakened life. You will find that it is impossible to return to the old ways, and it is only a matter of time—two or three years—until you realize a full awakening.

The subtlety of the ego is not to be underestimated, so you must have a way to verify that your declaration of independence is not just a figment of your imagination, or the ego wanting to get enlightened. This proof ensures the ego’s retreat—and its ultimate demise—as the presiding motivator of your actions.

One way to know that you are on the path is that you have not caused any unnecessary emotional or psychological suffering to yourself or others for two consecutive years. If this sounds like a tall order, it is. Is it possible? Of course it is. Freedom is your choice.
Example: Patricia ends her search. Patricia had her own business, a large group of friends, a sporadic but fiery love life, and a busy and intrusive relationship with her family. She yearned for peace. She did not know where to start or what to do. How could she begin to dissolve thirty-five years of conditioned living? It seemed impossible.

Then one day, after a long talk with her teacher about crossing over to awakened deconstruction, she surveyed her current situations, and in a breath, she admitted, “I am free.”

Nothing changed visibly.

But the top-down perspective on her work of letting go of conditioning brought with it a profound, almost overwhelming, sense of relief. Now she could tackle the creation of the conditions for awakened living as a free person, not as one who was still waiting for some event, sign, or helping hand. Now she could begin to discover and live at the edge of her own full potential.

Four months later, she attained oneness in meditation. Six months after that she abandoned her practice entirely as the inner state of contentment and joy had merged with her outer reality. It only took Patricia thirteen months to stop her karma. In this same time, the level of her consciousness shifted over 325 points (See D. Hawkins calibrations of consciousness).

Author's Bio: 

Freedom from Suffering is adapted from the soon-to-be-published book Power and Grace -An Adventure in Evolving Consciousness by Mick Quinn. A native of Ireland, Mick has lectured to thousands nationwide and has received press attention from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. He has studied Buddhism, Christianity and the evolution of consciousness since 1991. Please visit for his teaching schedule.