When I started to research what I was going to present today, I had a clear opinion about independence and freedom. First Independence.
Grain of salt disclaimer, the following content is largely based on my opinion which may NOT be the norm for most people… just sayin.
True independence is nearly impossible, unless you are a nomadic traveler living centuries ago. In our day and age, We are clusters of independent thinkers, yet dependent inhabitants. And that’s not a bad thing! We have grown as a species in great ways because of this communal existence. We need each other for basic things, like food, water, shelter, protection, and community. We have also as a whole thrived under that model. And theoretically, independent thought is always available to us. Just as an example, being here in this community has brought us together with a group of like-minded practitioners, but that is more about freedom of thought/choice than independence. Independence, as a concept, sustains our hopes and is compelling us to choose the lives we desire, but technically, there are a lot of other people involved in helping us get to the summit of our successful lives. Make sense?
Now, the real juicy topic is Freedom! The definition of Freedom: the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.
It is a philosophical concept which I found MANY tomes to pull from but that would take hours to pare down to a 3-4 minute talk. I debated all the ways we take freedom for granted, all the ways we don’t. What is being said now, and what was said 50 years ago, 100 years ago, etc. There is such diversity in definition based on race, sexual orientation, gender, age, etc. So in regards to how to discuss it, I was at a loss to a “take off” point! Which of course led to distractions and delays… ha.
So lets do it this way.
As a child, my thoughts on freedom were based on growing up in the civil rights movement/era. I remember watching JFK give his speeches and seeing the faces of my parents and listening to them speak about this topic. Very moving and it established my thoughts on how humans should treat one another. But truth be told, my perception of freedom at that time, from my core, was How much time can I get outside to ride my bike and explore? Finding creative ways to do my chores without feeling bad or sad. That was my level of freedom.
In my teen years, freedom was about talking on the phone, gossip, secrets, gaining a level of independence that meant more ‘freedom of thought’. Exploring what my mind was absorbing from a more intellectual level. Watching the social aspects of my ‘tribe’ and what did I ‘think about that’, choosing who to associate with – that was freedom.
As a young adult, my freedom was OMG finally! I have my own space, I have my own furniture, I have my own car, I have a more independent life (that being said, a lot of it was from depending on a paycheck). Freedom to choose where I wanted to be as an adult!
As an aging adult, my freedoms now are, finding like minds to share with. Learning how others are suffering for their freedoms and how I could help support those in need, fully.
“For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” Nelson Mandela.
I know that we all have that sense of freedom in our lungs and hearts, and if we are lucky, in our minds as well! But identifying and accepting the freedom available to you without restraint could be overwhelming, or it could be a sign directing you to a “free way of being” in the middle of your chosen restraints. That’s the level of freedom I hope we all obtain in life. Peace of knowing our personal freedoms.
“Truth seek we both — Thou in the life without thee and around; I in the heart within. By both can Truth alike be found. The healthy eye can through the world the great creator track; The healthy heart is but the glass which gives creation back.” BULWER
“Every human has four endowments - self awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom... The power to choose, to respond, to change.” Stephen Covey
Just so someday my son can read my writings!