My favourite word is Freedom, and I have no doubt written about it before now in my blogs. I have also changed my thinking about it over the years, of all it encompasses, of where and how it is grounded, where it finds settlement, sinks its big old flag and stakes its claim.
It has zip to do with place or time, with Mr or Mrs Right, with money or lack of it, new sofas, kitchens, bathrooms, or even the four stone walls that surround me, and everything to do with that airy fairy head of mine, and yours, although I won’t presume to know the percentage of airy, or fair,y in your head. We are taught, or do we just learn……..that the acquisition of a good education, of a good grounding in common sense or many worldy belongings should be our main aim as we walk through our life; that, if we haven’t succeeded in surrounding ourselves with all those things expected of us, that we ourselves expect of us, by a certain age, we are idlers, bad planners, twits. The odd thing, though, is that not one single one of us finds fulfillment or deep happiness in any Things and yet, still we seek them out, stack them up, protect them with a ferocious zeal, and then plan our next move to gather more in and more. In doing so, we imagine this Freedom thingy will come too, eventually. The more we own, the free-er we will become.
In a word, this is pants, because Freedom, real Freedom is all in the mind, all of it and it always was and ever will be till the sand runs out. I have read many tales on this, tales told by people who own nothing, who are locked up and enslaved, and they speak of Freedom. And yet, how can they? Just look at their lives lived, the restraints and fences that locked them behind another’s barricade! They were never free, were they?
Oh yes, they were. And all because they refused to allow the fences or the bars define their state of mind. They chose, in the face of extraordinary and unbelievable constraints, dished up daily for years, for a whole life, perhaps, not to see the mud, but to see the stars. Most of us, so I am told, live lives of quiet desperation, trapped in some way, or many ways, and we have no real tangible understanding of these lives lived in circumstances only ever described to us on the news or in newspapers. We ordinary folk, living however we live, may not imagine that Freedom is in our grasp. After all, aren’t we tied in to our work, doing a job that demands most of our allotted daylight hours, and don’t we have partners, children, homes, all of which require our devotion to varying degrees? By the time all those calls on our so called Freedom have been met to a good standard, what is left for us?
Well it all is, because Freedom is not limited unless we limit it. I know that it is considered selfish to take for ourselves when we ought to be giving everything to others, but I don’t agree with that concept, if, indeed, it ever was a real concept in the first place. We learn to love our neighbour as ourself. This meant nothing to me for many years, as I most definitely did not love anything about myself. So what does it mean? It means I must give to myself all that I give so readily to another, and that means an equal share of Freedom, not freedom from whatever my life requires of me, but Freedom to myself. Freedom to think, to love, to create, to consider my actions and their consequences. I may live inside another’s boundaries, but that person cannot control my thoughts, my times of reflection, my understanding, the passions that keep my heart beating, my hopes, my dreams…..in short, my self. No-one else can control these, and these together make me, and I am unique. I don’t need to step on anyone else to do this, nor put another soul down, for life is not a race, but a journey. Although we may sail alongside each other, we all sail alone.
So, when I feel controlled or constrained or forced or entrapped by another, let me understand this. I have chosen this domination and therefore I can bring to bear the same power to change it. And I don’t need to say one word out loud. All that squealing and whining, all those ‘how could you’s’ just tell me that it is now I who try to dominate, to change another’s way of being, to make them more like me, and this is merely a power struggle, one nobody ever wins.
If I want to be free, I just decide I am (and read good books on the subject) and get on with my day, my life. If I find chores dull and demanding, I can either sigh and moan or sing and laugh. There is fun, even in washing dishes and I can work up a great percussive concerto all by myself, my arms sud deep, my mind entirely my own. And my first step is to understand, and then decide, to believe that there is enough Freedom going, ad infinitum, to free every living soul.
Who out there can tell me I am wrong?
Freedom. It’s a way of being.