So many of us who live in "free" countries prize and value our freedom. But oftentimes even in politically free countries, many people will admit that they don't feel free, or that they're in search of true freedom.
What we call freedom clearly isn't just confined to something political or external. So what is freedom, beyond that obvious definition of the word? What is it that causes otherwise seemingly "free" people to feel themselves somehow lacking in freedom?
If you're in this position, have you ever really examined what keeps you from feeling free? Many people look at their life circumstances and point out the ways in which they're suffering -- and what they want is freedom from their suffering.
Others feel that what they need to attain and what is lacking in their lives is spiritual freedom or enlightenment. Still others will recognize that they are trapped by -- and feel powerless in the face of -- their social and cultural conditioning.
If one or each of these describes you, have you investigated it further? Have you looked at the difficult or troubling life situation without rejecting it, but rather with a willingness to feel and open to it? Freedom is in the willingness and ability to do this.
Have you asked yourself what spiritual freedom or enlightenment would give you that you don't already have? Freedom is in the willingness and ability to make an honest inquiry into this question.
Have you looked deeply into what keeps you so compliant with and obedient to your conditioning? Freedom is in the willingness and ability to investigate this and follow where it leads you.
We like to imagine that freedom is a feeling of endless expansiveness in which we never feel troubled, limited or confined in any way. That version of freedom is just a dreamy ideal, just another idea we trap our own selves with as we relentlessly and futilely strive for it.
Freedom is actually more like an honesty, an unwavering integrity to truth and to what is without looking for it to be a certain way or measure up to any of our ideas.
When we think we want freedom for ourselves, isn't what we truly yearn for more like freedom from ourselves? -- freedom from all our wants, hopes, ideals and illusions, which are ultimately the very things keeping us feeling trapped and miserable? Wouldn't that be real freedom?
Freedom comes in the allowing of suffering and in the self-honesty to ask and just as honestly answer real questions about ourselves and why we do what we do. And in the day-by-day, moment-by-moment, living out of the truth that we discover and uncover as we open to what is true and what is real.
Just a gal experimenting with what it means to live outside of mind.
Read more about Notes to Self, the "manual" on living beyond mind.