People in the “West” talk an awful lot about freedom. The U.S.A. probably talks about it the most (it’s a handy thing to go to war for), but 99.99% of all this talk is just lip service. As I discussed in another article (“Fearsome Freedom”), we say all the right things but don’t really mean any of it. If we did, there would be no exceptions to freedom. But we make a lot of exceptions to it, on both sides of the political spectrum. The details vary with your point of view. And by and large, people are afraid of real freedom. Because real freedom means exceptional personal responsibility.
Now, I’m not talking about freedom in Ayn-Randian terms, wherein every man or woman is for himself. Humans are not made to live alone, and the cult of the individual can be more appropriately termed the Cult of the Ego. The problem with the Cult of the Ego is the belief that we are in control, and boy, we are NOT in control. There but for the grace of God goes anybody, so if someone’s in a bad place, compassion goes a lot further than judgment.
Humans are tribal. Humans are social. We can’t just get by living as nuclear families side by side other nuclear families without ever interacting with them. It just doesn’t work. It makes us lonely, depressed, and anxious. It means we don’t have help when we need it, and sooner or later, we ALL need it. So freedom doesn’t mean, “I’ve got mine, so you figure it out for yourself.”
What freedom does mean is that no one is above you. No one is below you, either. You are me, and I am you, and if we fail to acknowledge that, then we aren’t free—we’re afraid. And every chain and every cage in the world is based on fear. Our media wouldn’t go to so much trouble to cultivate fear otherwise. Because if you believe there’s something to be afraid of, then you will give away your freedom to anyone or anything that can claim to “save” you from it.
“The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.”
The irony, of course, is that you are always free, right now. You can simply choose to behave freely. You can simply take your freedom. No one can ever control your mind, your heart, or your spirit without your consent. No matter what is happening in the world at any moment, you are a Divine Creator, and freedom is a part of who you are. It is a birthright that cannot be revoked, though you may give this power away.
Freedom also means being responsible for your choices, including the choice to give away your freedom. There are always consequences for our choices. Some may be “good” and some may be “bad” depending on your perspective, but every choice defines the way your life is going to look. It doesn’t really matter if someone else doesn’t like your choices. They don’t really get a say in it, do they? They also won’t bear the fruit of your choices, either, though they may be affected by them.
There is great power in choices, and no one has the right to narrow or define which choices are available to you. In the great wide Universe, there are infinite possibilities. There are also infinite paths, and some of them may be painful. So take care with your choices. Take care with your thoughts. The more at peace you are, the more likely you are to make happier choices for yourself (which doesn’t mean that “bad” things will cease to happen to you; challenges will still come).
Undoubtedly, it is the fear of the outcome of our own choices that leads us to give up our freedom. It is so much easier to be a victim, and to blame someone else for screwing up our lives. But this, too, is a choice, and I have never known a happy victim. But I have known some happy, powerful Creators.
Every spiritual master who has walked this earth was completely free in themselves. Some were tortured, exiled, and killed. After all, our physical bodies are not necessarily free from harm. Yet, these masters were free. Their spirits, their minds, their hearts were free. They understood that they were not just a body. They understood that the people who abused them were part of them. They had love and compassion for those beings who were in so much pain that they felt the need to inflict pain on others. But they stood in their power, and a number of them changed the world. They also knew that this was available to everyone. You are a spiritual master. You are a miracle worker—if you acknowledge that power and your own freedom to be yourself.
In our world today, it is easy to see the greed and corruption that are polluting our societies and our planet. But even in the midst of all this turmoil, you can be free. By choosing freedom, by choosing to follow your heart and your Spirit, you will help to transform the world. Greed and corruption exist because people are out of integrity with who they really are. To change the world, you must be in integrity with who you are. If you’ve been living according to other people’s definition of “integrity,” then you must decide what this means for yourself. Everyone is different. Your purpose belongs to you alone.
Be who you are, be what gives Joy to your Spirit. It may not look the way society expects, or demands. It may not look the way you expected it would. This is perfectly okay. Social constructs are just that: constructs. They are not true. They are not real. They do not even matter. We can change them whenever we want to, for any reason we want to. If something isn’t working for you, that’s your cue to change.
Nothing is hopeless. We can heal ourselves and this planet in an instant if we decide to. It’s like what John and Yoko said: “War is over. If you want it.” Conflict is over; pollution is over; corruption is over; inequity is over; the illusion of lack is over; misery is over. If you want it. You are free to choose.