Far too much vitality lies stillborn beneath patterns of addictive behavior, fear and heavy psychological baggage—the kind of stuff we all carry around with us which thwarts our energy and makes life hard work. One of the most moving accounts I have ever read of discovering freedom came from a political dissenter imprisoned in a concentration camp in the early 1940s. He wrote about how he came to experience the true nature of freedom, creativity and wholeness while living in the most inhumane conditions of physical incarceration imaginable. He discovered his freedom in the only way any of us ever will—by coming to live from ever deeper layers of himself. Eventually, he wrote, the very soul of him and his outer personality became like echoes of each other.
When the distortions we all carry—the false beliefs, destructive parental training, or negative habit patterns formed throughout our lives—begin to fall away, exciting things replace them. Rejuvenation begins to take place—emotionally, physically and spiritually—liberating life-energy and shifting the way we look upon reality, all the while allowing us just to be who we are. Any pretensions or self-limiting assumptions we have been carrying no longer diminish the experience of being fully alive. This is an experience available to everyone and one which I have discovered often takes place in men and women on Cura Romana.
I have given a great deal of thought to why and how Cura Romana’s protocol initiates an expanded sense of freedom and possibility in the lives of those participating in out Journey Program, as well as those who work closely with me personally on our Inner Circle Gold protocol. I have no definitive answers. But I suspect that it has a lot to do with a couple of things. The first is the intention with which you enter into and follow your program. A few people are only interested only the fast and effective weight loss as they begin. Others tell is they are at a place in their life where they feel ripe for transformation on many different levels. Meanwhile, many first decided to do the program for weight loss alone report that their Cura Romana experience has spurred in them a desire for expansion and spiritual deepening which they could never have anticipated.
The other factor, which I suspect has a lot to do with the sense of freedom that the program engenders, is most certainly the result of biochemical, physiological and energetic changes that take place in the body and the psyche as greater hormonal, physiological and emotional balance progressively take place in central parts of the brain. It’s important to remember that the diencephalon deep in the brain represents the core of the autonomic nervous system. As it functions better, so do sleep, one’s sense of self, and one’s view of reality on many levels. I always tell people as they begin either of our programs that it is time to consider what you want from your Cura Romana experience. For, like many who have gone before you, you may find you get a lot more from the experience than successful weight loss.
Four years ago, when Aaron and I began to work with our Cura Romana programs, we would never have dreamed that the most commonly reported non-physical benefit felt by participants completing the program is an experience of expanded freedom. Many insist that, for the first time in their lives, a burden of “conformity” they long felt themselves saddled with has been lifted away. ‘I am lighter,’ they say, ‘not just in my body but in my being. I feel free just to be me.’ Others say that long-held limiting beliefs have vanished. Others report that their lives and the world look different now—‘like everything is brand new’.
Freedom has always fascinated me. I love the smell of the word. I like its sense of possibility. I taste freedom when I listen to the music of Aaron Copland—music that could only have been written in a country that once had vast prairies and seemingly infinite wilderness. I feel freedom in my body when I run along cliffs in the rain. I rejoice in the sense of freedom that comes when, after hours of shifting dead words and sentences, something suddenly comes alive and beauty spills out all over the page.
A PASSION FOR FREEDOM
I believe that each of us longs for greater freedom. Rightly so. Like air, food and water, freedom is a human birthrights. Yet we often have little idea how to go about finding it. In the search for freedom, some end up sniffing cocaine or drinking too much alcohol. Others dance all night at a rave. A few turn to philosophy. Or maybe they head off to India or California to sit at the foot of some guru, hoping he or she will hand it to them.
All these things—from rum and cocaine to raves and yoga —offer a taste of freedom. Some, such as drugs and alcohol, are more transitory than others. When they wear off, so does the sense of liberation they once promised, to be replaced by what I call a false-freedom hangover. Others run deeper. The taste of freedom they offer encourages us to pursue them. The move towards the freedom they offer may be slower, but the liberating gifts they offer lasts longer. What’s important is that every experience of freedom, whether temporary or long-lasting, brings in its wake a sense of our being released from imprisonment—our being able, even for a short time, to respond to life spontaneously with the whole of our being.
ENDING THE WEIGHT STRUGGLE
When beginning their Cura Romana program, most participants have been struggling with their weight. They dislike—even hate—their bodies, and suffer a sense of shame about themselves. These are heavy burdens to carry. Often, people labor under false beliefs about the impossibility of changing things. They can be plagued by frustration or anger. And—although seldom aware of it until this begins to change—they experience a deep disconnection between mind and body. Some feel imprisoned by cravings and addictions—not only to foods, but to other things too, such as wine or cigarettes. They feel themselves at the mercy of compulsions and unconscious habit patterns which undermine belief in themselves as autonomous human beings. They’ve forgotten that, like all of us, they have been born with free will.
The most freedom-restricting belief of all is the notion, which many people have, that what they want and need can only be found outside themselves. This false belief, more than any other, is what prevents us from experiencing the depth and power of our magnificent essential being which enables each one of us to forge the life we want. For many, Cura Romana has begun this process. It is the satisfaction that Aaron and I get from helping people discover and live out their natural birthright to freedom that makes us so passionate about the work we do with our participants.
AUTHENTICITY AWAITS US
Freedom is a unique state of being. There is a boldness to it. You dare to say what you think and feel, yet you can listen to the words and hearts of others who think differently. It brings with it a sense that you trust yourself, as well as the Universe, even if you comprehend neither. It liberates you from the slavery of conforming to other people’s rules, imprisoning ideologies, life-draining addictions to foods that do not support high-level health, and from the crippling influences of negative emotions that may once have strangled you.
The way in which such authentic freedom blossoms in each of us is unique to the individual and full of surprises. However it takes place, the freer we become, the more self-determining our lives become, and the more exciting. When challenges arise, instead of looking upon them in fear as crushing forces, we start to see them as worthy opponents. We discover that wrestling with them helps us break through to an even wider experience of liberation.
In an outer way, to be free means to enjoy liberty of action under a government which is not despotic and does not encroach on individual human rights. More important, in an inner way, becoming free means liberation from the relentless forces of doubt, self-criticism and fear that we all inherit from growing up in emotional and educational environments that split our mind from our body and teach us not to trust ourselves. These environments tell us that we are supposed to put our faith in ‘experts’. They teach us not to honor the splendor of the individual human soul. They say that each of us teaches what we most need to learn ourselves and creates what we most love. This is certainly the case with me and freedom. The most important thing I have learned from listening to my own longing for freedom is how essential it is that each of us learns to live our life in authenticity right from our the very core of us. We come to trust ourselves and honor who we are without ego or comparison. The more we live this way, the more beings around us are encouraged to do the same. I’ve also learned that, when we become aware of the sea of powerful cosmic energies in which every one of us is immersed, it supports our individual journeys towards authentic freedom in ways we have never dreamed possible.
GIFTS FROM THE UNIVERSE
The Universe is filled with compassion on which each of us can draw when we need support. Each of us has the power to create whatever we want. Authentic freedom knows no age-barriers—no limitations. Neither is it the province of an elite few while the rest of us ‘get by’ hoping that a few crumbs of this precious stuff will fall our way—if only we are patient enough, virtuous enough, or spend enough money buying all the right products. Here’s the bottom line: freedom is free. It belongs to all people. The demand for it is encoded in our very genes. This is what makes us long passionately to discover it. Go for it. It may well be the greatest gift of all.