A couple of years ago, as I was re-assessing my intentions and goals for my life, I made a list of all the things that I wanted to do and achieve, and at the top of that list was written - "I want to be free." At the time I wrote that I did not realize the significance of the order I had put it in, nor did I realize what I was truly asking for. I thought that being free was something that comes with a great deal of money so I could have time to travel. I thought that being free meant being able to walk away from your day job, and go wherever you want to go, and do whatever you want to do, without limits. I thought circumstances outside of me, and outside of my control, had to change before I could really feel free.
So I asked for freedom… and oh boy, did I get it. But not in the way that I thought it would be, and not in the way I thought I wanted it to be, but in the way I really NEEDED.
What I did not realize at the time is that freedom is not a destination you arrive at when all the right circumstances have lined up in your life. Freedom is not in the conditions of your life finally being perfect, or your life finally being "stable", freedom is not in your bank account, or on a pilgrimage to Bali. It is so easy to believe that freedom will come once all your ducks are in a row, but will it? We tell ourselves, "Once this is taken care of, and this too, THEN I will be able to really relax" - really? Is that true? If you look you will see there will never be a time when everything is done, and if it is… you might want to check your pulse, cause you are probably dead. ;)
But just for fun, let's go there:
you've become incredibly successful so that you really don't have to work anymore. You have plenty of money to fund the life of your dreams, and you're lying on a white sand beach for the 100th day in a row. You go back to your "dream home" you make some food, and you sit at the table and eat the food. You walk down the hall, you sit in a chair, and take off your shoes. You put on your pajamas, you brush your teeth, and go to bed. You've been everywhere you wanted to go, you have everything you wanted to have, and now you're left with what you started with - Life. You're left with yourself, and is it fulfilling? As you lay your head on your pillow and look out at your ocean view, is your mind finally quiet? Or is it still searching, planning, seeking, and trying to find something better than this? Chances are it is… because that's what mind does.
Even if your only dream is to go save the rainforest and live off the land in a tree-house under the stars - if you believe you will be more free doing that than you are NOW, you are still chasing a future, you are still putting your "freedom" and "happiness" into a place that is inaccessible to you now, and NOW is all we've got. It's all we've got, for sure. NOW is where we are, it's where we live, when the future get's here, it will be NOW, until then, it's just a thought.
Freedom is not a state you reach, it's a state that you ARE.
Some of us just don't know it yet. If you don't begin with freedom, no place you ever travel, and no thing you ever possess, will bring it to you. When you find freedom within yourself, you will carry it with you wherever you go, and in every-single-thing-you-do, and there is nothing more wonderful and beautiful than that.
I asked to be free, and life delivered.
It delivered through the swift and sometimes painful break down of everything I thought I needed, through the slow and steady break down of every concept I held about myself (well okay, not every concept, but a lot of painful ones), and through the clearing of my life's landscape, like a wildfire through the forest, where everything is turned to ash, which feeds the soil - to prepare for new life. This doesn't NEED to happen in order for you to discover your own freedom, but it's the way it needed to happen for me, so that I could see what's left outside of every need and concept I had, and what I discovered was the greatest gift I have ever received, for I saw that what was left, was LOVE.
This is our human experience, the line we all walk, no matter where we are, or who we are, no matter our gender or race or belief-system, we all know what it is to LOVE. We all know what it is to move away from love, and we all know what it is to move back towards it, and it is because of the moving away from it, that we are able to experience the joy and freedom of coming home to it - and recognizing it as our ultimate truth. This is the joy of being human. This is what life is all about!
And I for one, am grateful for all of it.
I would love to hear your definition of freedom, so please leave me a comment and let me know what freedom means to you!