Do you like to be in charge?
Freedom as exploration of the Self
The word Freedom has many connotations. Many people express freedom as if it were an ideology. Freedom goes hand-in-hand with free-will. But it is important to understand the nature of freedom in the larger context of the life process, for it to be used as a useful tool to enable the life-process. Freedom cannot be a mere concept which is used by the mind to manipulate our life-experience. It cannot. Only when we look into the nature of Freedom, can the exploration of the Self begin
What cannot be Freedom?
If one is able to do whatever one wants, then that is not necessarily freedom. It is our conditioning alone that comes into action whenever we try to go by what we think freedom is. Although at a personal level we may pacify ourselves that we are able to do what we want, still that freedom is only a variation of bondage and nothing else. It is to be understood that we are born in a bound condition. We are manipulated or influenced by our surroundings, our parents, friends, society etc. These influences dictate the way we function or behave. Not only that, it is this very conditioning that decides our likes and dislikes. What we claim to be ours is nothing but the way we are already influenced by our surrounding. There is nothing within our minds that we can call our own. In such a case, can we act other than these influences? Hence our conditioning can never allow us to experience freedom. Let’s now define what freedom is.
What is the nature of freedom?
Freedom is born out of freshness of the soul. It is born through the vivacity of the spirit and is never slave to the whims of the mind. If we say that I shall enjoy, it relates to the senses and the imageries of the mind. Hence it can never represent free action; such an action is born out of the mind, out of the past which is already dead, which has no spontaneity. When all the coverings on the spirit are removed and actions are born spontaneously in the here and now where there is no influence of any conditioning, it represents true freedom. True freedom is when the mind is released of all its compulsive behavioral patterns. When there are no pre-conditions for action, that is the nature of freedom. When the heart is suffused with pure energy which is an expression of utmost purity, pristine by nature only that expression can belong to the domain of freedom.
What can Freedom give us?
Freedom essentially belongs to the domain of spirituality. Spirituality or spiritual discipline unleashes our waywardness, wonkiness of thought, word and actions. All discrepancies of thought, word and action is born out of worldliness. These have to be destroyed by sustained spiritual effort. When one picks up a spiritual discipline like Jnana, Bhakti or Karma Yoga, the conditioning of the mind is slowly dissolved. When our views and perspectives with which we discern or perceive our surroundings is broadened and widened, there is release of compulsion. We stop looking at time, place and circumstances through myopic viewpoints of opinions and we treat them with the broad-mindedness of spirit which is natural and unhindered. It also means that we are not un-intelligently liberal that levels doubts on inner character. Freedom is born only out of impregnable character. Discipline goes hand-in-glove with Freedom. Only a truly disciplined mind can give rise to regulated character which defines the way freedom operates. Freedom expresses itself only through a mind that has become utterly transparent and uncomplicated, that is uncluttered by likes and dislikes, attachments and aversions. True freedom is never biased. There is nothing that can separate Truth and Freedom, if we get deeply involved with Freedom. Our intention to be released from all that causes distress and discontentment is that which drives us towards freedom. When we lay attention on what drives the life-process, this can be a good beginning towards freeing ourselves from the binds of our personality which keeps us bound to our compulsive thoughts and behavior.
What can give us true freedom?
It is important to first admit that we are being manipulated by the views and opinions of the world. This is the first step towards freedom. We can only begin our journey towards freedom through Truth and truth alone. Our freedom is conditioned by our own limitations and fears. Hence it is important for us to relieve ourselves from the weight of society. For true freedom to emerge, it is important that we follow some disciplined practice that will align our internal energies. Samskaras play a great role in shaping our views which are in many ways distorted. Our samskaras are the impressions of good and bad as defined by the world that lie entrenched in the crevices of our minds. Taking up a spiritual practice shall slowly remove the mental blocks that limit our cognition, perception and expression. There are many people who are agnostic and wayward in their positions and do things that are preposterous and outright toxic in the name of freedom. One has to become sensitive and own responsibility for one’s thought, word and action. This is the preliminary condition for being free unlike the popular whimsical approach of trying to implement the whims and fancies of the mad mind. Hence expressing freedom has to be banked between what is appropriate and what is not hurtful. Freedom can never mean infringement of other’s expression. Freedom should only promote positivity of character and encouragement to the depressed. That is the hallmark of being free. Freedom does not mean, being without limits but it means applying appropriate limits at all times.
A Vedic Approach is needed for Freedom
When we release our grip on things of the world, one shall experience freedom. Freedom from worldly compulsions and pressures. The end of compulsions is the release of the unconscious. The unconscious part of our consciousness is buried under one’s automatic instinctive character which is animistic in nature whereby our human potential is submerged in the darkness of our unknown, undiscoverable dark character. Unless one lets go of one’s grip of what one feels, one’s needs to control and maintain, one shall never know the possibilities of the infinite which lies hidden, seemingly unattainable, in the depths of one’s heart. The Vedic lifestyle is that one should look up to so that all the basic elements of freedom fall into place. Unless one strives to attain true happiness in one’s life through authentic Vedic processes, the thought to be free from life’s compulsions will not come as a thought in one’s already cluttered life. First, one must understand freedom, before one even desires it. One shall automatically become deserving if one’s desire for True freedom is genuine and consistent.