Today in the United States we witnessed a historic moment as our 45th president was sworn into office. Regardless of where one stands politically, the events of the day draw us into reflection about our nation, its history and what liberty (freedom) looks and feels like for us as a country and in our own lives.
Most people, at least in our country, would agree that the oppression of another is unjustifiable and morally wrong. Our nation was founded by individuals escaping such oppression. Because of their experience, they felt compelled to create a reality with different operating guidelines.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Unfortunately, even with people becoming more aware, we live in a world where freedom isn’t seen as a self-evident truth and given to all equally as endowed by our Creator.
Humanity in many parts of our planet is deeply entrenched in lower levels of consciousness with survival being the top priority. A sense of hierarchy, class structure and polarity is born from such limited perspective as is conflict, strife and war.
Of course these perspectives are pervasive in our own society as well because we haven’t evolved much past this as a young nation. Physical, emotional and spiritual evolution occurs very slowly. The level of divisiveness on the journey to the White House was a perfect demonstration of where the collective truly is in its conscious awareness state. It can be frustrating to watch for those who think and feel humanity should be further along than we are. But as is often said when doing transformational work, ‘One has to start where they are.’
The good news is True Freedom has absolutely nothing to do with what is going on outside of us. It has nothing to do with what is happening on the political stage or half way around the world. In the exquisite dance we have with life, much will happen. Nations will rise and nations will fall. Great men and women will push against tyranny and sacrifice themselves for the sake of their people. Some will be revered, others misunderstood. But we will move forward as a collective expanding and growing with the cycles and rhythms of our impulse to evolve.
Being constricted by time and space, we have a myopic view of reality. We incorrectly believe things are ‘happening to us’. That we are victims of circumstance. We have a long list of items we fear a lack of control over. This is the biggest illusion we buy into.
“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” – Marcus Aurelius
True freedom is being connected and grounded into your sacred truth. It is knowing who you are, why you are here and how to come from a place of empowerment in the affairs of your life. It is having trust that everything has a purpose and reason for being even if you don’t understand it fully. Freedom brings with it a sense of peace that exists in your inner world no matter what is playing out around you.
It is being free from the drama of the ego, yours and others, which desperately tries to suck you in. It is not being swayed by the opinion of others or the threat of their dislike of you.
True freedom is void of worry. It lacks a fearful and obsessive nature. It does not try to control others through dis-empowerment or competition. It embraces love, harmony and balance. It gives of itself through demonstration of service.
It is attainable even though we don’t believe it is. It has been embodied in great teachers such as Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and many others who were fearless enough to embrace freedom within to live a heightened sense of integrity and step out of the shadows where most people live. From an observer’s perspective, they did so at great cost.
But the ultimate truth is that freedom can only be gained when we conquer our greatest fear, the fear of death. Our souls are eternal. As the holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel said “The opposite of life is not death, its indifference.”
True freedom is not indifferent. It is bold and courageous. It embraces life without fear. It is true to itself, unencumbered by the illusions of the physical.
On this historic day, I encourage you to reflect on the true nature of freedom. How can you embrace it in your life, give thanks for it and be a demonstration to others?