...Progress promises us the endless expansion of choice; we chafe at any restriction on our capacity to generate options, and we revolt against any concept of prohibition. Why should we not be allowed to cook, clean, build, buy, sell, write, plow, or harvest whenever we feel like it? Who do these ancient sages think they are anyway, always telling us what we are not allowed to do?
But what if we hear these prohibitions with different ears? What if, like the fence around my tulips, these teachings are not the punitive restrictions of a grumpy, humorless parent--"You are not allowed to do these things because we say so, and that's all you need to know about that"--but rather a useful boundary that keeps out those things that would bring us harm? Time and again, in spiritual practice, we are asked to imagine that certain limitations on our choices are actually seeds of great freedom.