The Liberation of Sisyphus

The myth of Sisyphus is one of the best known myths in the Greek mythology. Sisyphus was a Greek king who was condemned by Gods to an eternal punishment. He had to roll a boulder up a hill only to have it roll down when it reaches the top and start the process all over again. The french philosopher Albert Camus bought this myth into popular consciousness in the 20th century with his essay on Sisyphus outlining it as a metaphor for individual’s persistence against what is essentially the absurdity of life. Even with this fatalistic and depressing outlook, Camus tries to find meaning and optimism by concluding that the meaning for human beings is in the joy of the struggle.

The views of Camus can essentially be attributed to the evolution of centuries of European philosophical thought which culminated in the final problem being identified as the absurdity of existence. For the solution he should have looked east where this problem had not only been identified but there were several types of methods suitable for different people to be able to overcome this absurdity. The predicament of Sisyphus would get identified by us as Samsara – cyclicity of all existence. The only way Sisyphus could be truly free was to attain Moksha. Moksha means freedom from samsara, from the cycle of birth and death. It is like Neo getting out of the matrix and seeing reality for the first time.

Continuing with the matrix metaphor, without help from Morpheus, Neo would have continued with his delusions. Only because Morpheus was outside the illusion he could help Neo. Similarly a Guru is needed on this path for us to break free. Life can grind down the best of us. Even if someone can manage to go through life with everything working well, the gnawing feeling at the back of the mind will remain. That feeling of absurdity can dawn at the most inopportune moments; that this is not all there is.

The spiritual tradition of Kriya Yoga is a lightning path towards freedom. While the external appearance may not change and it may still seem that Sisyphus is rolling the boulder uphill; the internal state undergoes a massive shift. In essence what was soul crushing punishment earlier ceases to have any effect. Instead of the mind trying to make up meaning, it is the internal energy system which starts functioning at such a high pitch that the need to make meaning ceases. So when there are no thoughts; good or bad, Sisyphus is finally liberated.

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