Updated: Apr 22
Freedom is the subject on everyone’s mind at the minute. We’re living in a time where the whole world is facing the concept of freedom, whether we have it or not, and what it really means.
What is freedom?
Physical freedom? Freedom from victimisation? Financial freedom? Freedom from the weight of roles, identity and responsibilities? Freedom from the harsh clutch of constantly living in survival mode?
There are many things that spring to mind when we ponder on the idea of freedom.
But the real question everyone wants answered, is how can I be free?
Fighting for freedom
The most common conceptualisation of finding freedom is probably when we think about freedom fighters taking to the streets and marching for their rights, or people enthusiastically campaigning for freedom of speech.
There have also been endless freedom fighters throughout history, who’ve been seen to sacrifice themselves to lead movements, lighting torches that wage altruistic wars for a better world.
But... we’re not here to talk about that today. Today, I am inviting you to think about freedom from a totally different approach.
Not the fighting for freedom that demands outside change, not a yearning for freedom that is waiting on a broken world to fix itself for us, and not a freedom that puts the blame of our binds upon anyone else.
Give up the fight, freedom is internal
I’m talking about a freedom that we can access anytime, anywhere. Freedom that is inside. Freedom from thought and mind.
If you really think about it, the freedom fighters that have made the most impact on the world are the ones that cultivated the skill of guiding crowds inward, relating to the humanity of people, and getting them to vividly believe, imagine and speak of their own freedom and unity.
We only unlock our freedom when we delve inside ourselves, imagine it to be true and make it a choice.
For the battle for freedom is not a social or political war to be won. It is an individual battle between ourselves and the relationship we have with our own thoughts.
Freedom from thought and mind
If you think of any reason at all that you desire freedom, you will see that all reasons are means to just one end. And that end, is freedom from thought so that presence and joy can emerge and remain as our natural state.
Why do we want financial freedom? To stop thinking and worrying about money. Why do we want freedom from our roles and responsibilities? To stop thinking about all the expectations that come with them. Why do we want freedom from living in survival mode? So we’re not getting pushed, pulled and bashed about by a constant hurricane of stressful, anxious thought.
So what if we just cut it right down to the bone, stop chasing the by-product of our mental freedom and start to directly change our relationship with thought instead?
Sri Ramana Maharashi, one of the most famous Indian Gurus from the twentieth century once said:
“Thoughts rule the life. Freedom from thoughts is one’s true nature: bliss”.
If you trace back to much ancient wisdom, buddhism and zen, and also modern psychology: freedom from thought is the root of all self mastery and wellness. Nothing more, nothing less.
Observing one’s thoughts is the beginning of freedom
The capacity to observe one’s thoughts is the beginning of freedom. When we can observe our thoughts instead of becoming them, we spend more and more time in touch with that blissful, spacious feeling of silence and presence out of which joy arises.
If you believed this to be true, then you wouldn’t have to wait on any external factor for your freedom. You could choose freedom right here, right now.
But what about the rest of the world?
But how can I be free when there is so much violence and inequality still in the world?
Maybe you understand this concept, but you’re thinking… how is it fair that I can be free when the rest of the world isn’t? We can’t individually be free until we are all free…
You cannot control anyone else’s thoughts, decisions and actions. All you can do is focus on your own. Yes, we exist as a unit, but a unit of people is only made up as a web of individuals each having their own, unique experience.
We can only change the world by changing our own relationship with our mind and thought. For in this thoughtless state, we have the most energy and space to best guide, teach and most importantly, to be compassionate toward others.
One last thought
It is interesting to consider that if everyone in the world could realise that freedom was inside rather than outside…
Would control still be possible? Would anyone even feel the need to discriminate, hate, commit crime or climb for power? Or could we have a genuine chance of being an awakened, unpolluted world, completely free from mind and ego...