Getting Free

We are caught in the prison of the mind. If we are to escape we must recognize that we are in prison. If we think we are free, then no escape is possible.
—George Gurdjieff, quoted in Ram Dass and Mirabai Bush, Compassion in Action: Setting Out on the Path of Service 

I have no will in this matter, as if bewildered by spells. I do not understand. By what am I perplexed?  Who dwells here within me?
Enemies such as greed and hate lack hands and feet and other limbs. They are not brave, nor are they wise. How is it they enslave me?  
—Shantideva, The Bodhicaryavatara: A Guide to the Buddhist Path of Awakening, Trans. Kate Crosby & Andrew Skilton

Kama is any private pleasure—something that I want to enjoy just for myself, no matter what the cost to others. 
—Eknath Easwaran, The Constant Companion: Inspirations for Daily Living from The Thousand Names of the Lord

Gotama’s voice is confident, ironic, at times playful, anti-metaphysical, and pragmatic. Over the course of his formative years, he had achieved an articulate and self-assured distance from the doctrines and values of Brahmanic tradition. But exactly how he did this, we don’t know.
—Stephen Batchelor, Confession of a Buddhist Atheist 

[The Cynics’] philosophy was entirely exercise (ascesis) and effort…. The Cynic way of life consisted in an almost athletic, yet reasoned,  training to endure hunger, thirst, and foul weather, so that the individual could acquire freedom, independence, inner strength, relief from worry, and a peace of mind which would be able to adapt itself to all circumstances. 
—Pierre Hadot, What is Ancient Philosophy?

Don’t trust in your reputation, money, or position, but in the strength that is yours—namely, your judgments about the things that you control and don’t control. For this alone is what makes us free and unfettered, that picks us up by the neck from the depths and lifts us eye to eye with the rich and powerful.
—Epictetus, quoted in Ryan Holiday and  Stephen Hanselman, The Daily Stoic

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