When we look for definitions many turn first to the dictionary and there we find these answers:
‘the condition or right of being able or allowed to do, say, think, etc. whatever you want to, without being controlled or limited: a right to act in the way you think you should: the state of not being in prison’ (Cambridge English Dictionary)
So it seems to be around lack of control or restraint – over our actions, thoughts, speech, feelings. And this means being able to act/speak/feel/think as we think appropriate.
Embedded in this is a socio-political meaning that holds these freedoms as sacrosanct. Inviolable. Crucial to the running of a society where its diverse citizens can express themselves in many diverse ways. Freedom is thus a social rule or norm that is violated say in the case of Fascism or dictatorship.
But does this go far enough if we desire a more beautiful world? A world where love, connection, understanding, playfulness, creativity are central sacrosanct values.
This is the world that many of us now want, and moreover we realise that it is in radically transforming the current ‘reality’ that we will actually save the world, the planet. Many of course do not actually want to save the earth, many believe that we are just headed for extinction. That we will just eat up resources until the crash and burn. And now we are already burning.
How do we radically transform reality? Political action is necessary but not enough. Politics is in the grip of non-truth, truth which is being strangled by the competition for power. Power based on fear.
The reason that many of us first think of Freedom as Freeedom FROM is because there are actually two levels of reality (at least).
The one level is controlled by the conditioned self and its complex set of alluring narratives made up of beliefs that we simply took on board. This is the realm of the ego or personality. Fear, anger, depression and attachment to things all belong here. It’s not that these feelings are to be denied or by-passed. In fact, they are to be used as fuel for growth. Transmuted. We are learning that these feelings and their associated beliefs do not belong to us. We are also learning that if left to run rampant the world is heading for chaos.
How do we/can we know this? First of all, feelings are a vital part of being human. They are our navigation system, so we honour them and cherish them. But when we allow those feelings to become ways of being embedded with fixed thoughts and beliefs such as “I am not enough’ or “Life is a struggle” the problem begins. We are blocked from joy, our natural state.
So what is our ‘natural state’? And what is this other level of reality?
We can only access this other level through certain practices or experiences, or a combination of both. I came to it through meditation, in the Zen tradition, which focuses on observing the mind, and being aware of the breath. And in that act of observing, finding that we have a witnessing self. And in BEING that self we finally feel freedom. The Higher Self as it is also called, does not recognise any limitation. It rejoices in itself. It is our face before we were born. Crucially its very nature is love. It is in direct contact with our soul. And we also find that this love, this freedom, is to be found when we are being creative, when we are ‘in love’, when we are in ‘flow’, when we follow our passions.
This is what is meant by the life of the heart, and in it is to be EXPERIENCED freedom.
There may be times when you feel driven by the ego into constant reactivity, as if you are on a hair trigger. Ultimately this leads to exhaustion and soul starvation, then soul death.
To step back into Freedom is easy, but it is a process that may lead you to ask for guidance. If you are seeking a way to this realm of love and joy, my new 1:1 programme is designed to take you there.