Ever notice how slippery the term “freedom” is? It’s something we all value, think we have a right to, or are fighting for. But what is it exactly? What are free from? To do what? When were we not free?
We’ve been taught from birth that we aren’t free or that we must rely on someone or something else to ensure we can become and remain free. This, unfortunately, isn’t a fact. It’s societal programming. I’m not saying it’s a plot or conspiracy and I’m not saying it isn’t. It’s actually both, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that we’ve bought into this idea that freedom is either something we have a right to or something we must defend. Freedom, even the concept of free will, remains contingent upon the externally-perceived world around us. Even when it comes to matters of the subconscious. The term “freedom” has become synonymous to the concept of an “other” in relation to a perceived “you”.
What if I told you that we are all free, right now in this moment, and always have been? Would you believe me? Please do. Not only has this freedom always been present, it’s unchanging and unalterable. We simply aren’t aware of it and that’s the irony. The way to have it is simply to be aware of it. Not intellectually, but experientially and the way to experience it is not to look outward at the world of “others” but to turn within.
Ask yourself who it is that’s free or not free? If you reply, “me, of course,” then ask yourself who is this “me”? Don’t answer it but look for what this “me” is. Search inside for the place where this me lives; from where this thought of “I” arises. See if you can find it. Is it even there or does it disappear when you inspect it?
It disappears. The truth is, we can never find it. Try it. “I” is just an idea and a story we’ve been telling ourselves from the moment of birth. Part of this story is that we are not innately free unless it’s given to us, taken, or allowed to us; that it’s something out there. But if we continue searching inwardly for this me-idea, we’ll discover something quite amazing, something we’re so familiar with we forgot it was there: our natural nature, our state of being. Pure, peaceful, unadulterated awareness.
When this real “me” is discovered and experienced, an incredible liberation begins. This natural state is immense, boundless. Nothing disturbs it. If we can be in this space it becomes easy to observe how our mind has entrapped us. Thoughts and resulting emotions swirl around this unmoving peaceful place begging to be noticed, to be purchased, to be believed, but because this place of pure awareness is only the witness to all this, it’s unconcerned. Unconcerned until we allow our attention to chase after these thoughts and grab onto them and allow ourselves to be dragged along behind to be shaken and bruised and beaten into believing they’re real again. When we buy back into that, we suffer. We lose clarity. We blunder and stumble along through life. We begin believing in and writing that story again and forget we’re really that which watches it all.
So, if it’s true freedom we desire, then the only way it can be had is to realize our true nature is freedom and nothing external to us can change that. Try it. It’s the single greatest gift we give ourselves. It’s a gift that keeps on giving. Revisit it every day, several times and as much as you can. Eventually the light of this truth burns away the pages of your illusory story and the real you can live truly and irrevocably free.