Confinement and Victory

Posted on May 7, 2015

Who is free? The one who is free to come and go, to do as she wills, or the one who has surrendered her mind to a greater cause, the cause of truth or of love?

To the degree we think freedom is what the ego wants, we are blind. There is no freedom for the ego because it is confinement itself. But like any sly politician knows to do, the ego makes our slavery appear delicious and irreplaceable. We are so easily fooled.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a minister during the Nazi rule in Germany who served a greater cause, the cause of freedom. He was imprisoned and murdered because his cause would not let him support by silence that which was wrong.

Shortly before they killed him he wrote a poem that has an important message for us. It describes the struggle we wage with the ego.

He asks, “…is something still in me like a battered army, running in disorder from a victory already achieved?”

The ego fears, agitates, controls, complains and judges, even as victory is already achieved.

Victory is achieved in the first moment when we recognize our true and timeless identity. When the soul has found its destiny, victory is achieved. The battered army of ego still runs, but its fate is already sealed. Victory is already achieved.

In my experience that victory is love that transcends all limits of the mind.

Who Am I?

Who am I? They often tell me,
I come out of my cell
Calmly, cheerfully, resolutely,
Like a lord from his palace.

Who am I? They often tell me,
I used to speak to my warders
Freely and friendly and clearly,
As though it were mine to command.

Who am I? They also tell me,
I carried the days of misfortune
Equably, smilingly, proudly,
like one who is used to winning.

Am I really then what others say of me?
Or am I only what I know of myself?
Restless, melancholic, and ill, like a caged bird,
Struggling for breath, as if hands clasped my throat,
Hungry for colors, for flowers, for the songs of birds,
Thirsty for friendly words and human kindness,
Shaking with anger at fate and at the smallest sickness,
Trembling for friends at an infinite distance,
Tired and empty at praying, at thinking, at doing,
Drained and ready to say goodbye to it all.

Who am I? This or the other?
Am I one person today and another tomorrow?
Am I both at once? In front of others, a hypocrite,
And to myself a contemptible, fretting weakling?

Or is something still in me like a battered army,
running in disorder from a victory already achieved?
Who am I? These lonely questions mock me.
Whoever I am, You know me, I am yours, O God.

~ A poem by Dietrich Bonhoeffer


HeartSourcing Yoga

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