in our righteous attempts to uphold our concepts of freedom? If we are truly limitless, immortal beings, by the very de?nition of limitlessness and immortality, we are already free. So, what makes us ?ght for our freedom all the while justifying and rationalizing the destruction of lives, relationships, and creative expressions? After all, whether we as a nation or race wage a full-scale world war against one another, or we as individuals incessantly argue and quibble with our neighbors and even our loved ones, we are ?ghting in a vain attempt to somehow preserve our glori?ed illusion of freedom. And, sadly, none of that is necessary for us to have the freedom that is already our birthright. The greatest irony of it all is that it is in our ?ghting in the name of freedom that we have most blinded ourselves to the real freedom intrinsically within us that we can never lose no matter what the changing conditions of existence may appear to be at any moment.
Throughout our history we have been witnesses to great souls who have demonstrated the freedom of spirit while subjected to cruelty, injustice, and even horri?c deaths. The radiant signature of the freedom they lived was the grace with which they responded to all that they endured. True freedom has no opposition, for it is not half of a dichotomy. Freedom, like life itself, is by its very nature whole and without an opposite. Although many consider death the opposite of life, in truth it is birth that is the opposite of death. It is only that which is born that can die. Life is eternal. Likewise, many believe that the opposite of imprisonment or enslavement is freedom. Yet, freedom is limitless and has no beginning or end. The actual opposite of imprisonment or enslavement is release from that condition or emancipation. Freedom stands complete and ful?lled on its own. One is imprisoned by someone, in something. In every condition of captivity or enslavement, there has to exist a dependent relationship. Thus, the belief that we can free ourselves from someone or something is not the true meaning of freedom. Our real freedom as souls is not dependent on anything outside of our own being. This idea that we must free ourselves from something or someone comes from our denial of cause within our own self. For example, let’s say that in a prior incarnation, after we felt the horror and agony of helplessly watching the conquering army destroy our village and murder our loved ones, in a ?t of rage we swore to avenge our family if that was the last thing we ever did. Perhaps, we, too, died shortly afterwards and never ful?lled our vow. In a later lifetime, we again come face to face with those who previously were incarnated as part of that conquering army, but this time, we are the leaders of the invading forces and they are the innocent villagers. With this encounter, we water the seeds of vengeance that we planted within our soul in our previous lifetime and, if we do not awaken from that horri?c nightmare in time, we end up allowing ourselves to become victim to our own earlier decision and, in our rage, mercilessly destroy the innocent villagers who we righteously demonize in our minds as our mortal enemies.
As the cycle of karma continues, in a subsequent lifetime, we ?nd ourselves in misery not knowing why we keep having to endure violence and abuse in our family life. We may feel victimized and hopeless if we continue to believe that the cause of our unhappiness is outside of ourselves. If we see the cause and effect of life separate from ourselves, like the scientist that believes he is entirely separate from the causes and effects that he is observing in his experiment, then, we end up placing blame on something or someone external we perceive as the cause of something we are experiencing within ourselves. Until we surrender our denial and realize that all that we experience is caused from within our own choices, we will fear and go on trying to free ourselves from that which we blame as the source of our misery.
Nothing restricts our freedom more than us trying to free ourselves from our perceived enemy and threats. It is neither our enemy nor its threats that controls or enslaves us.
Rather, it is our inaccurate perception, and investing our certainty in it, that something outside of us can and does compromise our freedom that keeps us hostage. Once we exercise our ability to respond freely to anyone or anything, we begin to restore to ourselves our intrinsic freedom.
After striking out as a batter, we could decide, “The pitcher struck me out.” Or, instead, “I didn’t succeed in getting a hit.” If we were to fail the exam, we could complain that, “The teacher ?unked me.” Or, own up to the fact that, “I was the one who failed to pass the test.” When a relationship breaks down, we could separate ourselves from the cause by believing, “She couldn’t appreciate who I was” or “He wasn’t ready to commit.” Or, we could realize that, “I wasn’t happy with the relationship and didn’t put forth what was needed to make it work.” Experiencing an angry outburst from a workmate, we could decide, “He whacked me.” Or, we could awaken to not having been mindful enough of our workmate’s workload, stress, and emotional state and decide, “I’ll practice being more attentive to where a person is before asking for something.” In each of the previous examples, the former choice expresses our attempts to free ourselves from what we perceive as the external cause of our pain, while the latter response expresses our willingness to own that the cause of our experience in the situation was within our own choices - which, in turn, offers us more choices for our learning and progress. In the former responses, we imprison ourselves leaving us no where to go, whereas in the latter, we respond from our freedom to move on and create new avenues for healing, change, and growth. Blame enslaves. Realizing truth forgives and restores our experience of our innate freedom.
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