Paul GonyeaThe Buddha said that we need three things in order to become “enlightened.” This master teacher, one of many who have lived through the centuries, said that every one of us needs a teacher, a teaching and a community.

A teacher helps us to know our own strengths. A teaching gives us a stable framework to support our spiritual practice, whatever it looks like. And a community supports us in maintaining direction. We have the freedom to change any of these at any time, but we should always have all three as a part of our life.

In this life, we have the freedom to choose. It is our most precious spiritual gift, but it is definitely a two-edged sword. We are free to make good choices, free to make bad choices, and free to experience the consequences of either. We are free to prosper, and we are free to experience lack and limitation. We are free to heal, and free to suffer. We are free to give love, free to receive it, free to accept it and free to reject it. And if we are not happy with the results, we are always free to change.