When we think of the word ‘freedom’ we often equate this with doing whatever we want whenever we want. Most of us would like the idea of spending all of our time at a beach side resort like the one in this picture. While that idea has undeniable appeal, the reality might only be enjoyable for a short time before it gets boring and we need to seek out another kind of pleasure. Insight meditation is drawing our attention to something entirely different.
When we practice insight meditation, we are not aiming to do whatever we want. On the contrary, we are aiming to enjoy a happiness born of understanding that we cannot always satisfy every desire. Looking at things from this perspective, it is our desires that are trapping us in unhappiness not our inability to satisfy them. The Buddha explained that desire is an endless cycle like a cat chasing its tail:
Monks, I don’t envision even one other fetter — fettered by which beings conjoined go wandering & transmigrating on for a long, long time — like the fetter of craving. Fettered with the fetter of craving, beings conjoined go wandering & transmigrating on for a long, long time.
If we take these words to heart, it is worth seeking to overcome craving so that we can experience true freedom.