"Why do you stay in prison, when the door is so wide open?" - Rumi
We each have a sense of what freedom means for us, but often the context of the background or container this is assessed in is not recognised. ‘Freedom’ can be an elusive notion when we consider what we might have to forego or all the possible options available to us. Usually freedom means greater ability to do what we truly wish to do….if things were different. But in the context of what-is – of what is happening for us right now – we are already doing what we wish to do. We are already exercising choice, even if it doesn’t feel so.
The key to freedom is to realise we have freedom. Always. The ‘problem’, is one of acceptance: of not accepting the what-is whilst also not looking beyond what is true right now. This act of acceptance and vision is what enables freedom to flow. After all, freedom is the ability to exercise choice – the act of choosing rather than the destination itself. Bringing our awareness back to the moment, to the choices – however small – we are already taking in this moment (tea or coffee? to stay in or go for a walk? to think about this or think about that?) is what creates space in the body and mind. There is always contrast, and therefore always a choice to be made. When we accept the choices, life flows.
We can guide ourselves to realise there is abundant freedom: by bringing our world in really small, standing in this, and then widening the view. Notice how this feels. Any resistance highlights some useful work to be done; not to ‘get somewhere’, but so that we can be free to appreciate the choices we are already making and the freedom we already have. A perceived ‘lack of freedom’ is, at its heart, an inability to accept our decisions and actions; we are trapped by reactionary energy. The past is the past. Learn, take wisdom, accept and let go. And then accept this – the freedom of the new moment. Connect with the freedom within this. Look a little further and then bring the attention back to right here. Look ahead, not behind. Become agile with your boundaries and vision. The parameters we choose within are what creates the sense of mobility and space. If choice feels elusive, bring your reality in even more. Make the parameters smaller, and choose within this context. It’s a big world out there, one which is growing wider by the moment. But our true reality is what we are experiencing right here, right now. Get intimate with your presence, where you end, and what your vision promises. Cultivate a fuller life within this place. If you notice old energies which no longer serve, shift these – getting help if need be – so you can see yourself and the open doors more clearly. For ultimately, freedom comes from within. Let’s cultivate it, not waste it.
Tip: An Exercise to Enhance Connection with Freedom
Create an altar or place within your home, however small (it may be a single stone or ornament perhaps) and each day go to it. Notice the freedom to walk to it, the awareness of the day’s impact (the meals, the choices, the people and interactions - taken or promised) and notice the ‘layering’ of the moments. Notice how there was, and is, a freedom in all of these moments; even if it was not noticed at the time. Find appreciation for the subtleties and linking dynamics of the day. In each of these moments freedom was exercised.
Once connected at your altar or place of focus, bring attention to the ‘ability to return’ – the blessed freedom we have as humans to revisit and create ongoing contrast. This too, is freedom. It’s not just where we want to go, but also where we wish to return to, which creates the flow and direction of our lives.
When ready, expand this gratitude to your greater awareness and give thanks for the freedom you have. This, in turn, creates more.
"Freedom comes when one allows oneself to simultaneously be and not be, to live with no need to live, to enjoy with no desire to enjoy. This is freedom, and it is gained by the attention to oneself. Cultivate trust, awareness and the expression of joy. This will guarantee freedom." - Mr P.
(Photo credit: Carlos ZGZ)