Love does not claim possession, but gives freedom. - Rabindranath Tagore
Freedom. What more do we want in life? Love, yes…but love, or anything else for that matter, without freedom is not love at all but a cage. Freedom is essential to our ability to express, create and connect.
We confine ourselves and each other in so many ways. When we want or need others to be a certain way, we strip them of their freedom to express themselves authentically. When we subject ourselves to media-generated ideals of how to look and act, we, often unconsciously, restrain our own freedom. When we allow our past hurts and pains to limit our full presence in and experience of any moment, we are not free. When we choose to live in fear in any way, freedom is not present, as it is only from a place of love that true freedom can exist.
When I look the word up, I notice immediately that freedom is defined largely in the absence of confinement. It is defined by what it is not.
1. the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint: He won his freedom after a retrial.
2. exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.
3. the power to determine action without restraint.
So then what is true freedom unattached to what it is not?
I believe freedom is the experience of expressing our truth in every moment. Freedom is a choice. And perhaps it is never defined by what it is not because when free, there is no other way. When we release ourselves from the constraints of the mind or the fear inflicted upon us by others, we are left with only truth and the ability to express it.
So then, yes, it takes courage to express our truth always. We worry about what others want from us or what others will think or if we will be supported, received, loved if we are free to always honor our truth. Perhaps freedom also assumes the commitment to others that they will and are always loved. Freedom, then, is a commitment to love self and others in every moment. For when I am free, you are free. As we let our own lights shine, we do liberate others.
How do we work together to liberate ourselves and each other?
What does a world look like where each and every one of us is free?
It starts with freeing ourselves from ourselves…and we can watch that liberation ripple outward. Freedom is a choice.
I recall meeting Auschwitz survivor, Dr. Edie Eger. What a pure and inspiring presence she was. She talked about how life was for her in the camps, and she said she always knew they could never take her spirit. While the world had put her in physical confinement, she – her spirit, her truest self – was still free. She never chose to be a victim or a survivor. She always chose to know only that which was true and that was her inherent brilliance in every moment.
So freedom, perhaps, has nothing at all to do with what it is not because freedom is simply a choice to honor the truth that is love in every moment.
Today, I start by choosing…I am free.