Are you truly free?
Really think about it. Contemplate what your idea of complete freedom is.
To give yourself a better idea, ask yourself the following three questions…
Would I be living the way I’m living if money were no object?
Would I be living the way I’m living if I was uninfluenced by the opinions of others?
Would I be living the way I’m living if I had no fears?
Chances are, if you’re playing the role of a human on planet Earth, you answered “no” to all three.
So this means that in almost every sense, we’re actually quite far from true freedom. Considering that you’re reading this, you’re probably not in physical slavery, so that’s a good start. But what about your mind? What about your behaviors? What about your beliefs? What about your lifestyle? Are they really your own? For the vast majority of people, (yes, even “privileged” “first-worlders”) all of those aspects of their life and sense of self are in bondage. And most don’t even realize it.
“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The more cruel and extreme the slavery, the shorter lived it tends to be. Physical slavery has a finite lifespan because people are all-too-aware of their oppression. If people are blatantly repressed, their uprisal is inevitable. The human will is driven by a deep-seated yearning for liberation. If that willpower hasn’t been buried by deception, trauma and conditioning, there is absolutely nothing that can stand in its way. The many heroes who courageously rose up against (physical) slavery in America are a testament to this.
Mental slavery, however, is more subtle; more insidious. Why? Because in this predicament, people are conditioned to love their servitude, without even grasping the subliminal subterfuge of their subjugation.
“A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.” – Aldous Huxley
Psychological slavery can go on indefinitely, until it’s exposed. And that makes it uniquely dangerous.
“Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.” – Morpheus (The Matrix)
We’re like dogs with shock collars. Distinctly better off than dogs in cages. But there is an invisible fence which contains us, shocking us into submission when we reach a certain perimeter. Our invisible fence consists of fear, comfort zones, money, time, the opinions of others, limiting belief systems…etc. In terms of the physical and mental aspects of life, we’re more like free-range than truly free.
The average “first-world” nation can be likened to a 300-pound man in a room filled with 500-pound people. Sure, he’s better off than the rest, but he’s still far from being healthy. But because his only reference points are those more obese than he is, he may hold the delusional belief that he’s an exemplar of fitness.
It’s both naïve and short-sighted to think that we’re truly free under this current paradigm. What is your ideal world? Does it look anything like the one you’re living in? This is not to say that we should hide in the asylum of ungrateful entitlement. We need to be grateful for the freedoms we do enjoy, but never complacent in our quest for true liberation.
Just as Harriet Tubman did, we must use our freedoms to help others achieve theirs, moving the collective towards total, mind/body/spirit, emancipation.
The Freedom Paradox
Here’s the good news…
On a deep, intrinsic level, we are always free, no matter the circumstance. Even when someone is physically shackled, at their very core they are still free.
As humans, if we do not find liberation physically, we find it mentally. If we do not find liberation mentally, we find it spiritually. This inherent freedom cannot be taken away.
“When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.” – Ralph Ellison
We are all unique expressions of infinite possibility. Our inner-most nature is beyond any confines. And absolutely nothing can take that away from us, even if we are physically or mentally enslaved. People such as Victor E. Frankl, who survived the Holocaust, are shining examples of this…
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Victor E. Frankl
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Victor E. Frankl
True freedom is beyond the ego. Beyond fear, beyond judgment and beyond the opinions of others. It is what we are left with when we reacquaint with our deepest essence.
“Look well into thyself; there is a source of strength which will always spring up if thou wilt always look.” – Marcus Aurelius
Though there are control systems intent on programming us to exhibit predictable, robotic responses… Though many get manipulated by the divide and conquer agenda….. Though injustice still rears its ugly head… Though the world may seem completely insane at times… Remember, you have the choice in every situation. And nothing can take that away from you.
As Ralph Smart says, “We came here to be free.”
– Stevie P!
PS – Solution celebration…
Here are 8 solutions to the subtly insidious “modern slavery” you may, unknowingly or knowingly, find yourself in:
1. Think for yourself – Free your mind. Explore any and every idea. The world is an idea playground. What is holding you back from exploring the realms of infinite ideas? You have a world of information at your fingertips, don’t take it for granted. We live in the information age. Ignorance is a choice.
2. Work for yourself – Though it’s an uphill battle in this society, we all have the opportunity to work for ourselves. This will provide you with immensely more physical freedom than if you have to trade your time for money with an employer.
3. Awareness – Be aware that you’re not your thoughts, but the consciousness observing the thoughts. Be aware of when you exhibit predictable, programmed responses. Be aware of your emotions, thoughts, habits…etc. Awareness is the key which opens the door to freedom.
4. Don’t identify with a label – Putting yourself in a box is the antithesis of freedom. Osho summed it up eloquently… “Never belong to a crowd; Never belong to a nation; Never belong to a religion; Never belong to a race. Belong to the whole existence. Why limit yourself to small things? When the whole is available.”
6. Let go of fear – Fear, and everything dependent upon it, is bondage. This includes ego, comfort zones, worry, anxiety, regret, shame, guilt, hate, anger, jealousy, insecurity, disempowerment, victimhood…etc. Those all either create, or lead to, some form of enslavement. As John Lennon said, “Love is free, free is love.” Choose love.
8. Take responsibility for your own well-being – Response-ability… The ability to respond. Empower yourself. Take responsibility for your life, your health, and whatever else you deem important.