“Freedom is a condition of the Soul. As we turn to the kingdom of our inner Self, we find the reign of divine Power in the outer world. As we seek peace within, we find harmony without.”
~Joel Goldsmith, The Art of Meditation
Freedom is something we all search for. Freedom of religion, freedom to be who we’d like to be, freedom from abuse, freedom to choose certain things in our life, freedom to feel the equality we are supposed to have. But, as we all find out: in this world today, these ideals are not easily attained by all.
In a world that we would like to work for everyone, most people never experience this ideal, because they have expectations for those who don’t have the limiting beliefs for others that they do. We, in general, are unwilling to allow people to be different from us. We don’t live up to their expectations. Most can’t, because of biases held by those who would persecute them.
Jesus, a Jewish Rabbi, seen as the founder of the Christian religion, said many things that, if actually embraced by Christianity, would go a long way to healing the the ills of the world. Jesus is/was also embraced as a teacher and prophet in Judaism and Islam, but today “jihad” which literally means striving or struggling, especially with a praiseworthy aim, has been usurped by Islamists to justify the destruction of Christian world, which has attempted to eliminate Muslims for over a thousand years.
Even Christianity from its humble, love filled beginnings, was used by the world rulers to pacify the masses and control them. Alexander the Great and the Council of Nicaea chose what books to include in the Bible and attempted to eliminate the remainder by making the Bible decreed by them to be the official text of Christianity. From there, the Roman Catholic “empire” ruled with an iron fist eliminating anyone they didn’t like during the inquisition. It was a dark time for humanity.
The point to all of this is to bring into the light how religion has created more division than love since its inception.
In spite of this, we each have the option to be personally free in any situation simply by choosing not to dictate our todays and tomorrows by our past. Freedom is a state of mind. Auschwitz survivor, Victor Frankl chose to forgive his captors, even while everyone around him was dying, saying “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.”
Similarly, Nelson Mandela chose freedom in his own way, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
Both of these men surmounted all their fears with the courage to see beyond the appearance of hopelessness to not only achieve their freedom, but also to tell their stories to the world and in Nelson Mandela’s case to become the president of South Africa and end Apartheid.
Lest you think they are exceptions, there are thousands of people every day that we never hear of that have overcome adversity and gained freedom from oppressive relationships, addiction, poverty and much more.
So never stop believing that you too can move beyond the beliefs that others have directed toward you. Remember, self-love and forgiveness can free you from your past beliefs. As you begin to change your thoughts about yourself and others, your life will begin to take on new meaning, new direction, and greater self-empowerment.
“Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose…”
~ performed by Janis Joplin, Songwriters: Fred L Foster / Kris Kristofferson
© James T. Starke