What is Freedom?

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by WOW Talks on 19 September 2011

by Sarah Coursey

Author, storyteller, facilitator and life coach, Rohan Narse seems to have it all.  But it wasn’t always that way.  A long road to freedom has led this great thinker and philosopher to the place he is in today, and enabled him to help others to change their lives in dramatic and profound ways.  His book, In Search of Silence, is aimed at those who have tasted success and yet find that there is more to life than just a ‘treadmill’ existence.  But how do we get out of the rat race for good, especially in such a shaky economy?

Rohan Narse was a successful trader at Goldman Sachs.  He had reached the pinnacle of financial stability and worldly approval.  Yet failing health, a drop in an inner zest for life and a loss of subtlety made him question the track he was on. The regular yoga and the odd meditation course helped him to relax and unwind, but only just. Then a near-death accident and subsequent breakdown woke him up momentarily to a beautiful, silent space within.  That extraordinary experience triggered Rohan’s search to go deeper, taking him to various teachers, schools and techniques.

The search for real freedom began with the widely accepted programmes that dwelt on harnessing the power of the mind, the practice of many a meditative technique ranging from the simple to the esoteric, from dynamic meditation, Vipassana to Tantra and many inbetween. An intense period of experimentation and its application led to an even greater breakdown.

In deep surrender, Rohan travelled without an agenda, leaving behind his material possessions and on the banks of the Ganges, at the Manikarnika Ghat (where bodies of the dead are burnt as part of a spiritual ritual), he was struck by the simplest of truths. Rohan’s teacher, who he’d met in Varanasi, suggested a simple process that allowed for the attention that was ‘seeking’  peace, to turn on itself.   In his own words, he described it as “a silent homecoming and a deep celebration in the very instant”.

Many who can access this kind of bliss recognize the need to help others get to the same place.  Rohan is no exception.  His mission has shifted to enabling people to experience real freedom, to experience states of deep silence, the knowing of which allows for spontaneity, creativity and an expression of personal power in their lives.  That’s quite a mouthful, and a strong stand to take in life.  Yet Rohan views it as a profoundly simple realisation that can be passed on to others. 

To sum up his inspiring message to the world, Rohan posed the question: “Wouldn’t it be beautiful if each one of us, depending on our circumstances, begin to explore what it takes to be free, to be spontaneous and to express our personal power?”