What truly is freedom? This is a question I have been asking myself lately. You see, we are born into a state of freedom. If you look into the eyes of a newborn baby, all you see is love, joy and pure freedom. As that child grows up in this world, they are influenced by the world around them, including their parents, their peers, the education system, religion, popular culture, mass media, social media, marketing and advertising. This is when that child’s freedom slowly gets taken away, as they learn the concept of need. The child starts to think they need one thing or another because their external environment tries to convince them they do.
The truth is that we never need anything outside of ourselves. We may want to have things such as a loving relationship, a nice house to live in, a fulfilling career and financial affluence. Notice the subtle difference here. We may want these things but we do not need them. In fact, we need nothing outside of ourselves. If we look at our indigenous ancestors, they lived in harmony with nature and their environment, which provided for all their needs including food, warmth, clothing and shelter. They lived in tribes so they had companionship. Therefore, the truth is that we need nothing outside of ourselves. This is the true meaning of freedom, to be completely free of needs and know that, whatever you think you need to survive and thrive in this world, is available to you through your own intuition, ingenuity, imagination and creativity.
You have forgotten this because the world outside you has convinced you that you need it to provide you with whatever you seek or desire. This is why people suffer through meaningless jobs that they hate in order to earn money, which they become a slave to, to obtain the things that they think they need in order to be fulfilled and happy. I’m not saying that we should not be working for a living to support ourselves in our modern society. I am saying that most people dislike their jobs and only do them to pay their bills and meet their needs. This is slavery, not freedom.
Now, imagine, instead, if we realized that we do not have to be enslaved to a job or career we hate, a relationship that does not serve us, a geographic location that does not inspire us or friends that do not support our interests and goals. This is true freedom and eludes most of us. What I encourage you to do is to take stock of all aspects of your life, your relationships, your friendships, your job, your career, where you live, your hobbies and interests. Which of these truly inspire you and which of these do not serve you in any way?
I encourage you to journal on this question and in next week’s blog, I will discuss how we can start to move towards true freedom.
Dr. Nauman Naeem