The will to be free belongs to that special part of us able to remember that we are here on earth to grow beyond the limiting influences of our own unawakened nature; it knows we are not created to participate with anything that causes us to suffer unconsciously. Our task is to awaken ourselves to this Higher Will within us that won't be compromised. How is this done? We must remember -- now and always -- that this Higher Will already exists within us... and that it always has.
All interior practices begin with the wish to meet our lives from a new understanding of ourselves granted us through new knowledge about ourselves. If we wish to be free of destructive or otherwise self-compromising conditions that always attend being unaware of ourselves, then we must do the inner work of becoming aware of ourselves in a whole new way. Such a conclusion sounds simple, perhaps even "silly" to the mind that reads the logic of it, but consider the following closely:
Each of us believes -- right to the core of ourselves -- that we are already awake and aware of ourselves (in spite of the evidence!). So the first challenge before any person who wants to find a way out of some destructive addiction or otherwise hurtful codependent relationship is to see that while we do have the awareness required to interact with life -- and even to learn challenging new skills -- this level of awareness is not enough.
True enough, we are awake in the physical world, but the continuing and often mounting evidence of our own heartaches reports that we must be asleep to ourselves in the psychological and spiritual realms with us. And these are the subtle regions that count when it comes to being in real control of our lives. To confirm this fact we can turn to one of the greatest and oldest spiritual maxims that govern reality: The inner determines the outer.
So an inner exercise is first about being awake and aware in the moment and then, depending upon the intention of the exercise, to consciously meet the moment unfolding before us through a newly acquired understanding of ourselves. Instead of allowing difficult moments to make us react mechanically, where we simply fall into familiar passive forms of unconscious behavior, our awakened state allows us to actively detect and then negate these self-limiting tendencies. Simply put, the more awake we are, the less we ache. We begin to awaken the Presence and the power within us to let go and let God.
The reward that rises out of this special inner work is new freedom from habitually self-defeating codependent behaviors. Among some of the many rewards for our willingness to meet reality anew is that old fears fall away. Doubts disappear. Pains born of past regrets lose their hold over us.
We must never allow ourselves to forget that there are many sleeping parts of ourselves that secretly feel good while they get us to do wrong! No form of externalized codependent behavior can exist or exhibit itself without some unseen character at work within us providing it the right condition it needs for its foul life to flourish. With this in mind, here are two common areas where we all ache (often without knowing it) because we fail to stay awake in our relationships with others:
Making "peace" with people who would punish us: There are parts of us that would rather be punished by unkind people than have to spend one minute being alone by ourselves, because the only way these same parts in us can exist is if they have someone to resent or somehow fear. In this case we remain in these ruinous relationships because the fear or emptiness we feel in even considering leaving them is felt to be too much to bear on our own. Here's the key to escaping this captivity: This fear that we experience does feel real, no doubt; but it belongs to an imagined self. Collecting and then consciously cultivating this new knowledge of ourselves points the way out if we will walk with its truth in our hand. To begin, walk away from anyone who "helps" you to feel that it is necessary to hurt; leave anyone who causes you pain for "your own good." Here's the rule to remember: Never make peace outwardly -- or inwardly -- with anyone or any psychological state that punishes you. Say "no" and go! A whole new and independent life awaits you.
Blaming others: Whenever we allow angry parts of us to cast blame upon others for the conditions we find ourselves in, we enable the sleeping nature within us to stay in its dream that if it weren't for others doing us wrong we would never be so upset and angry, defeated or depressed. The truth is there are unconscious parts of us that readily find fault with others in a misguided effort to remain infallible in our own eyes. Each time we blame someone else, we agree to remain asleep in this misery-making mistaken identity. Saying "no" to this nature is saying goodbye to a host of imagined enemies this false self needs to remain itself, as well as to a war that can never be won.
What should be clear now is that we have to do a special kind of inner work if we wish to catch and cancel self-harming codependent behavior. It's not enough to just talk about achieving a good, contented life. Anyone can talk about that, and most do. Few will really do the interior work it takes to be free, which is why we must be different.
We must learn what it means to put the Truth of ourselves before all things. When we will strive to do this one thing, then little by little we will attract to ourselves a higher strength that has no problem saying "no" to what has never cared for us. This new "no" then becomes a "yes" to self-wholeness, the secret source of the happiness we have been seeking in all the wrong places.
Awakening the will that is already free within us is the way out of all addictive behaviors and the codependent relationships that must attend them. If we will only persist and not forget our intention to realize real independence, then along the way we will meet and come to know personally many special truths that are stepping-stones to higher and higher levels of freedom.