For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
– Nelson Mandela
“Freedom” is one of the most contentious skirmish lines in today’s culture war. It is a word that triggers everything from patriotic zeal to deep spiritual contemplation.
Whether your image of freedom is riding a stallion across a sandy beach with your hair flying in the wind, or whether your image of freedom is being able to make decisions based entirely on your personal desires without concern for others, or whether your image of freedom is living a life of simplicity by giving up most of your worldly possessions, the fact of the matter is freedom is obviously more complicated than any of that.
In all three of the above examples, freedom eventually reaches the boundary of reality:
- That horse will eventually need to stop for food or water.
- Those decisions will have tangible impact others and will always have consequences.
- The rejection of material wealth and power will affect our ability to provide for the physical needs of ourselves and our loved ones in times of real scarcity or crisis.
In short, we occupy a planet that not only has gravity, but also requires that we must accept responsibility for our actions in order to reap the benefits of making our free choices.
We are faced with two kinds of freedom, external and internal. External freedom involves the actions we take in our daily lives in the real world. Internal freedom is freedom from the limiting patterns that reside within us.
All humans desire the freedom to express our innermost truths and to allow life to unfold. To reach a state of freedom, we deliberately move toward what we desire and away from what we don’t want.
Freedom requires trust in the moment. If we are insisting on a specific outcome, we are not free. If we are afraid and we are dictating particular results, we are not free. In order to be truly free, we must have a genuine faith in the goodness of life, trusting that no matter what unfolds, it will be beneficial for us in the present. We are required to trust in the goodness of life now, not later or in the future after we secure a specific outcome.
The good news is that trusting in the moment is quite manageable for most of us. We can begin experimenting with one sliver of possibility at a time and let our trust grow.
Most of us are very sophisticated about beliefs…..we know that some are preferred over others. And when asked to identify our beliefs, we tend to speak the “correct” answers. The problem is that those are not always what we really believe. To uncover our deepest beliefs about freedom, ask what we ”know” to be true about freedom. When we start to consider what we know is true about freedom or our relationship with it, our true beliefs emerge. Try it and let your real beliefs be revealed.
Here are some questions to explore as you reflect on your relationship with external and internal freedom. You may ask these questions either as an Akashic Records exercise, or outside the Records utilizing your own intuition and perspective. Or try these questions both ways and note the differences in the answers. As always, writing down your answers will be helpful, as this exercise goes very deep.
- Do you feel there are restrictions on your freedom? What kind of freedom–Religious? Political? Economic? Internal, external, or a combination?
- What do you think about freedom? What decisions do you make about freedom?
- Have you ever been punished for expressing your freedom? What type of freedom? What were the circumstances? What was the punishment?
- Have you ever had a very positive experience of expressing freedom? When? Where? What type of freedom? Did the people around you share this freedom? Or were you the only one?
These questions can take you on a journey of exploration of your beliefs regarding freedom, individuality, responsibility, and of being a vital member of the human family. Since the term “freedom” is so prominent in today’s headlines, this is a very important topic of reflection for each of us.
Freedom is not an abstract concept, but a set of principles, values, and situations. We owe it to ourselves and to our own place in human history to understand our relationship to freedom and what freedom means to us.
Enjoy the journey!