Just like that, it is the first of July and we step into the second half of the year. Time has an unerring way of bringing us face to face with reality – however we may define reality. In the USA, the onset of July brings us a celebration of “Independence Day”, and our kindred neighbors to the north in Canada celebrate “Victoria Day” (Happy 150th, Canada!). On these occasions, it is natural for many of us to reflect upon our personal freedoms, and the practical realities of said freedom(s) in our daily lives and actions.
As long as we do not live alone on a deserted island, the reality is that our friends, families and communities affect our daily freedoms, and their exercise of it. This effect manifests in the decisions that we make when we live in a civil society. In order to add value to their lives, and often for greater good, we often accept the reality that our personal freedom of external action may not be absolute. It is relatively easy to make declarations of our Independence, but we need energy and commitment to fight for “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. Commitment conveys our declarations from mere intellect to reality, frees us to take action.
It takes even greater energy and commitment to preserve our freedom. The freedoms gained also need a constitution – a governing agreement among people – for their preservation, in order to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”. In order to anchor themselves to reality, and recalibrate their freedom(s), organizations, communities, families and even individuals, may establish constitutions. From these frameworks can emerge the governing principles of our live, the values that fuel our actions, and measures of our personal growth.
For most of us, the demands of living in the external world subject us to space and time. Even as I write this, there are small decisions that I need to make over the next few hours that will affect what I and my family will do this weekend. These small decisions aren’t made in a vaccuum, and a give and take of personal freedom(s) of all family members is necessary in order to maintain a dynamic family harmony. Does this reality sound familiar to you?
So, where does true freedom, if it exists, exist? For the most part, our external world seems to be devoid of it. We can intellectually read about and even talk about ‘freedom from fear’ and such related things, but how much of our daily decisions are informed by fear? And how about our internal world? Is it possible that unfettered freedom exists within us? If so, have you experienced the reality of inner freedom for yourself?
As I develop my daily practice of meditation, there are occasions where I find disconnection from the transient and (re)connection with the permanent. While the state of reconnection with the permanent is often fleeting in itself, it is the closest that I have perhaps ever felt to true freedom. Even though the reconnection is fleeting, it brings one great Joy to realize that true inner freedom is indeed an experiential reality. How about you? What have your experiences of ‘real freedom’ – external or internal – been like? How do ‘reality’ affect the exercise of your personal freedom(s)?
I invite you to visit with us in #SpiritChat on Sunday, July 2nd at 9amET/1pmUTC on twitter, as we share and celebrate freedom and reality. I will bring some real questions and virtual cookies and sparklers. You are free to bring whatever you wish to share.
A new experience of freedom this week, as I discovered a new reservation with unexplored trails and bridges…