By: Mochita Har Lev
A few words about Freedom
“The very urge to understand is the beginning of freedom” J. Krishna Murti.
Freedom is a tricky term – what does it actually mean to be free? …my freedom …am I free …I’m free do to as I please …freedom of speech …free-will …free-love …freedom fighters …in the name of freedom. When we say ‘free’, how is that ‘free’, and from what? Which bondage are we referring to that there is to be liberated from? For when we talk about freedom, we don’t just mean freedom, we talk about being limited. What is it we are bound to, within which boundaries do we live?
Who is free? Am I free to feel safe on my own at any given time? Free to enjoy the beautiful darkness of the night? Without any human installed artificial light, without any satellite blinking at me, without any street light somewhere in the distance? Am I free to listen to the natural harmonious music of birds singing and the leaves swaying in the wind, without any artificial sound? Not when listening to a ‘new-age’ CD, but right there in the midst of it, with no airplane flying above, without the sound of a road somewhere nearby… Am I free to walk barefoot on my dear Mother Earth, or to dance naked under the pouring rain?
In this modern day and age, this term ‘freedom’ has been made into a God, and yet all its real meaning has been emptied out. This God, with no clear definition, shape or form, is universally worshiped and sacrifices are being made for it.
Although freedom is indeed a goal well worth longing for, the common use of the concept of freedom is shallow and dull, an all-can-relate-to commercial slogan, catchy jingle or motto on a political poster.
Freedom vs. Anarchy
“Though similar in appearance, freedom and anarchy are poles apart. True freedom is born out of inner discipline and is a characterized by an internal calm, unaffected by the inevitable ups and downs of life. Anarchy, on the other hand, is to dance to the tune of the mind’s whims and moods without thought of the consequences” Swami Paramatmananda.
When we say ‘freedom’, do we also include the freedom to keep a positive and conductive routine? The ability to finish what we started, and to know when it’s time to be able to simply let go? What about the freedom to be dedicated and sincere? The liberty to be alone or completely still? I’m free to be what I want, dress how I wish, do as I please – but, do I have the freedom to sit quietly, content and happy?
Am I free, within my own, very self? Free from my old bad habits? Free within my restless mind? within my emotional state? Am I free to be at peace when and where I please, to be tranquil and to not get angry? Am I free to stop worrying when I decide to? To smile whenever I wish?
Personally, when I visualize the term ‘freedom’, I spread my wings and fly, high in the endless sky, with no worry, no boundary. But, when I look at the birds and watch them fly, I wonder, are they really free? Do they worry about their next meal or fear being caught? Is the river free to flow? Can it choose otherwise? If there is no choice, how can we know we are free?
Real freedom, worth longing for, is not financial nor is it external; true freedom, a state of being free, is freedom from being a slave to our mind and impulses, free from serving our craving for pleasure and running away from pain. Ultimate freedom is going beyond this life and death cycle that we live in and cling on to.
Real freedom is the ability to simply be; free from the endless restlessness, the endless inner chatter, inner fight. Freedom is to be completely detached and simultaneously completely present and open, able to love and do with all our heart, freedom to laugh and to fully trust.
By the greatest masters and ancient teachings, we are told that freedom, real freedom, is the only goal and aim of life. Attaining absolute freedom is not only a matter of endless dedicated effort, by also pure and innocent longing, strong will and divine grace. The path that leads to freedom is the spiritual quest; it is the road back to our real home, to real peace, to the divine itself.