Freedom, It’s an Inside Job
Freedom lives right here and right now. Liberation or freedom is our inherent nature—at times, we just forget. You do not need to study ancient texts, sit for hours of meditation, twist your body in intricate yoga postures, or anything else to be free—it is your inherent birthright because freedom is sourced from within. You are free and the tricky part is that everyone else is free as well, but your freedom doesn’t look like everyone else’s. Diversity is the reality of existence. You get to believe what you want but your view might be different than how others see the world. So how do we co-exist in a world where everyone is free but doesn’t always agree? It is the peril of freedom because in this diversity, conflict is inevitable.
When conflict arises and uncomfortable situations surface it is a beautiful reminder that although we are free, freedom always lives within boundaries. As human beings we are in this constant dance between wanting a sense of freedom, but also having enough structure to help us stay the course. How can we live within structures and boundaries but also have the sense of freedom within the various aspects of our life: community, work, family, and intimate connections. It’s like the lone wolf and the pack. We have both the desire to be on our own yet also be part of the pack. At times our freedom will reign and at other times we will feel oppressed or stifled. The key is that although we might find ourselves in situations where we can’t change everything, we can always stay attuned to the idea that regardless of the externals, freedom is an inside job. How do I find freedom within “xyz circumstance” instead of I can’t feel free with “xyz circumstance”. So many people fight for their imprisonment, and will labor to convince you and themselves why they aren’t free. You can not control your circumstances, but you can take responsibility for you inner world, and what action you employ in response. Where do we give our power away to other people or our circumstance? What shifts when we see that even in circumstances that we don’t like or agree we still have power. There are probably more people in prison that have learned how to be “free” than people living freely who are constricted and confined. Each one of us has a key around our neck to our own freedom. Are you ready to use it?
When we unlock ourselves from imaginary beliefs that aren’t real and the reality that outer circumstances don’t have to rule our lives we start to take more responsibility for our actions. Yes as a free being if you are pissed off with your neighbor you can go and shoot them, but then you have to tolerate the consequences of being yourself (I know a bit extreme, but you get the point). Every word and action from our freedom has a particular impact. Sometimes it is very clear and other times we can’t know so we need to step into an experiment and see what happens. In our own freedom sometimes we need to step up and push back to another action that doesn’t feel right in our own moral compass. But this is what is crazy about freedom because extremists believe they are on the right path, where is the line, who is right? Yoga would have us use the barometer of, “Is the actions of our freedom creating more life vitality or adding to more disease or destruction?” While it first it might seem black and white in reality there are many gray zones in this contemplation but it does give us a starting point to act in a way that both supports our own desires and takes into consideration the larger impact of our actions.