I saw this quote from the yogi Desichakar in his book Heart of Yoga today waiting for my yoga class to begin.
The world exists to set us free.
Here is the thing that I never can stop remembering: that the things that hold me back, to everything from my thoughts to my body, those things that keep me from being everything I want to become are the very things that will teach me the lessons I need and want to learn. Once I had an old Dodge Econoline 1972 van and the most consistent thing about it was that it kept blowing out tires and losing fan belts. It also threw in occasional curveballs, starters breaking, carburetor not firing, ball joints needed replacing. After a year of driving the van I realized it had become my sage teacher. It had not only shown me how to work on a car but it disciplined my attitude. It existed the best it could at its age and care. By the time it needed to be retired, I learned that whatever that vehicle had been was entirely up to me and how I chose to apply my attitude to it. If I was angry at it, it responded to the anger, my fixit usually turned out to be a cheap substitute for when I took the time. When I took the time, the van took care of me so even when I could not get it right it worked with me and suffered through the best it could. Me and the van became one, so to speak. The thing it required most was my calm attention to it and then with my nurture it took care of the rest.
The van set me free by gently explaining that if I didnt listen to it, I would not have a van. That shitty old van was freedom in the obvious ways, being able to travel, having a fairly dependable way to go places. But more than that, it set my mind free forcing me not to be frustrated but patient when things didnt go my way.
The van and Desichakar I believe are saying the same thing, that freedom is an act of finding your limitations and flowing with them.