It seems like a good time to write about freedom, with the American Fourth of July Holiday that celebrates America’s independence from the Kingdom of Great Britian just two days away. Freedom is an interesting topic, because when thought about deeply, it reveals some of the Universe’s most profound truths.
Most often, we think of freedom as liberty from external constraint. This was certainly so with America’s founding fathers, who were seeking freedom from oppressive English laws. This sense of personal freedom underlies much of the individual, social and political ideology and behavior in the U.S. Americans value freedom, often above all else, which is one reason the U.S. takes on such a global leadership role attempting to bring democracy to oppressive parts of the world, although other, less noble reasons exist as well.
America is such a diverse country because millions have come here seeking freedom from governments and societies that have far more repressive and controlling laws and social norms. This freedom from external rule provides for greater opportunity to express ourselves as individuals and generate a life we choose to live. Freedom of choice is freedom from external control, and is the essence of what we collectively mean by freedom.
But freedom is not just about liberty in the outer world. It is also about the lack of constraint within. How many of us possess that level of freedom?
In this morning’s mediation, I experienced the deep silent stillness of my inner Being, where spaciousness and choice, freedom and liberty abound. But then, at times, that freedom was disturbed and I’d realize that I was off in a chain of thought. The spaciousness and choice was replaced with the density and constraint of thinking about something I did not actually choose to think about. The thoughts just arose and took over, and I had no awareness of when it happened. I simply “woke up” in them, having them, being controlled by them. I didn’t choose them. I didn’t want them. But in that moment, they were in control of what my consciousness was attending to.
Once again consciously aware, I could witness those thoughts, choose to let go of those them and simply be. When witnessing, and observing my thoughts arise, I could sense the freedom and space in me once again. And the longer I witnessed, the deeper I would sink into the silent freedom within. I could find freedom, but only with conscious intention.
This ego based, conditioned thinking that I was observing this morning occurs in me 24/7/365, and it occurs in you, too. It is the autopilot of my own conditioning expressing; my beliefs, values and worldviews laying themselves on me and the world, governing my emotions, decisions, and actions. I live in America, where I have more external freedoms than most people, but am I truly free? Who is governing me, my ego’s conditioning or my Being’s authentic expression? How many of my thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and actions are really generated by my own freedom to choose, by my Being rather than the conditioning of my mind?
As agents of change, the more we can connect with the spaciousness within our own Beings, the more we can hold the space for the density and complexity of complex change. It is the freedom within that enables the freedom to change ourselves, our organizations, and the world.
How about for you? Are you as free as you want to be? And if not, how can you become more free?