What Does It Mean To Be Free?
What Does It Mean To Be Free?
Abundance is the latest buzz word, and I mean I get it! We all long for abundance in life. But, what is it about living a life of abundance? I believe it stems from a longing to be free. But, why do we so badly want to be free? And, what does it mean to be free? Is it the same for everyone? Maybe, for the purposes of this blog, we should ask a more specific question: what is a free spirit? Let’s look a little more closely at the two.
While there is a lot that we could discuss about freedom on the societal level, this conversation is about the freedom we only find within our souls. In a way you could say ‘freedom despite it all’. The freedom that we are all able to choose for ourselves. This is a freedom that comes from stepping away from what is happening in the physical world and seeing the truth of our infinite potential, deep within each of us. Seeing that the freedom that we seek comes only from connecting with our souls.
So, Why do we Long to be Free?
What do we want to free ourselves from exactly? What do we hope to gain from achieving this ‘freedom’, and how can we get that little bit closer to feeling true freedom in this life? So many questions, right! Sometimes I think I should have called this blog ‘Answer me this…’ Lol. I guess that’s what you get from living years and years with a head swimming with questions. But, here’s the thing, questions are where it all starts. The path towards a deeper understanding of ourselves begins with asking loads of questions.
I think we long to express our true nature. The constraints of the life that we live on this earth keep us from living our truth and that is as far from being free as anyone can be. Society, expectation, family, finances, they all have their influence on us. There are so many aspects of this life that we need to fit in with. And, while living on an island on your own somewhere sounds lovely it’s just not the way to grow and develop as a person. So, what is the answer? We need to find a way to balance our needs as a person with the needs of the world we live in. Find a happy medium.
What does it mean to be free?
Whichever situation you apply it to, the freedom we seek is a releasing of pressure. From judgment, financial constraints, expectations etc. Being free is having no one to answer to. It is being master of your own destiny, time and choices. We all, every single one of us, long for freedom in some way, shape or form. What I can’t help but wonder, though, is whether we can be a free spirit while living within the constraints of life on this earth.
Can you live the life of a contented, fulfilled person while still having to fill all the roles that life assigns to us, such as mother, employee etc? I would argue that, yes, you can. What I’ve come to realize is that the way we view, and experience, our lives is all about perspective and choice. I believe that a) with the right perspective your life can feel free, and b) your perspective is your choice. So, it sounds like what I am saying is that being free is your choice too, right? Yes, in many ways it is.
If you have read Viktor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search For Meaning, you will know what I mean. If someone that lived through life in a concentration camp can choose to find the good and the meaning in his life experience, we all can. He chose to let his spirit be free from the hardships that he was experiencing in his physical reality. In the end we need to see that although we are living a physical reality, we are still spiritual beings. That we are more than this current reality. We need to learn to connect more to our spiritual selves in times of crisis, this is where we will find our freedom (and our peace).
So this is about recognising that we have more power over our true freedom than we may realize. What I mean by that is, the more we tune in to who we are, the more in touch with our soul’s purpose we are, the more we realize that our choices are our own. We realize that life happens but it’s the way we react to it that matters. And that, right there, is the freedom we are looking for.
Freedom is essentially a way of seeing the world and yourself. It is a way of knowing your truth, your worth and how you are going to be affected by all of the ‘surface level’ stuff that happens in life. Freedom is knowing you have the power to shrug it all off. Freedom is a power of deep inner knowing that resides within you. I am enough, I am more than this body etc. Freedom is seeing that opportunity to shift your perspective and thereby take control of how you experience your life.
This is not about diminishing our life experiences, in fact it is more about fully honouring them and seeing them as part of your path while knowing you are more than these experiences.
Let’s Break it Down
Freedom to Choose
We want to be able to choose where we live, who we marry, what we wear, how often we take time off. The list goes on and on. If you are a free spirit, you understand that every situation is a gift and you go about finding the lessons placed there to help you grow. You take the discomfort and find a way to turn the coal into diamonds, trusting that when the time is right everything will fall into place.
Freedom of Authenticity
This one is so challenging for most of us, and yet, it should be a simple decision. I am who I am. I choose to show up in all my glory. You can come to a decision to honour the way you were made to be, because why wouldn’t you! Apply the perspective shift once again, ‘I am the only one of me and that makes me special, no one else can take the place of me’. This freedom is so liberating and life changing, and all it takes is for you to simply allow yourself to be as you are, perfectly imperfect!
Freedom from Judgement
There will always be those that don’t understand you and the way you choose to live your life. Here’s the thing, they don’t have to live your life, so why does it matter what they think? It works for you, so keep doing it! Worrying about how they might react to your choices has little or no effect on them, but it is stealing the peace and the freedom you long for. And, you are ultimately the one that is in control because you can choose to let go of the fretting over what they might think.
Freedom from Fear
Fear is a nasty beast. It steals away so much from so many. Learning to overcome fear is a giant leap in gaining that sense of freedom that you long for. But, again, the fear is not outside of ourselves. Fear is irrational. When we see that we can free ourselves by reasoning with our fears, 90% of the time we will be able to see that there wasn’t anything to actually ‘fear’. Being free from fear means opening yourself up to experience the fullness of life more. To go on that skiing trip or climb that mountain. It means freeing yourself up to try new business ventures or new friendships.
What Does it mean to be a Free Spirit?
When you look at these different areas of life where we are striving for freedom they all have a common thread. Self-awareness. Self-awareness changes everything! So, ask again what does it mean to be free? Being a free spirit in this life has an awful lot to do with self-awareness, perspective and basically allowing yourself to be free instead of standing in your own way.
The more you are aware of yourself the more you take the power back and stop letting everyone else be the reason you are not living life as a free spirit. Ultimately, your life experience comes down to how you choose to react. Yes, life happens, but it is the way you react to it that makes you who you are. Choose to be someone who shows strength in the face of adversity. Choose to be someone who responds with love in the face of hardship. This gives you true freedom.
Be Bigger Than Circumstances
If you long for freedom it’s important to rise above your current circumstances. Recognize that freedom of the mind is more valuable than anything else. Imagine someone who’s time is their own, who is financially free, but they are not free from: self-doubt, judgement or condemnation. This person may appear free, but in fact his prison walls are rock solid. Freedom, in it’s true sense, will always be freedom of the mind and the spirit.
So, how do you handle a stage in your life that is less than satisfactory? Working towards something that matters to you is part of the natural progression of life, but we have to be able to see the value and lessons in where we are. Show gratitude for your current situation while working towards your future goals. If you struggle to find gratitude, find the lessons. Difficult life situations come with lessons, and only when we’ve learnt our lessons are we able to find gratitude for them.
Value Experiences, Forget about Stuff
When we believe that freedom comes from having everything we want, all the ‘stuff’, we are missing the big picture. This feeling of freedom is fleeting. If you are wanting the purest kind of freedom, the lasting kind, it starts with letting go of the value we place on material things and instant gratification. Work on building your relationship with your soul so that you can set your soul free!
When you place more value on the world of spirit, ie. kindness, love, gratitude and generosity, you realize that love offers its own kind of freedom. Love is like giving your soul wings to fly! It is pure and freeing, and quite unlike anything else. Make love your purpose and you will find great joy in this life. Even better, spread it around and you will help those around you to soar as well!
A Window into Freedom
Meditating is the closest I have come to experiencing a level of spiritual freedom. It has helped me to see the vastness of the space beyond our minds, and the noise (the chatter), of this life. I can honestly say that the person I was before I started meditating (about 3yrs ago) wouldn’t even have enough of a grasp on the concept of spiritual freedom to consider, let alone write, a blog like this. For me it is a testament to how much I have grown through the process of meditation.
If I can say one last thing I would say allow yourself to be free. Whatever chains you have tying you down in life, don’t let the keys be held by you. Ask those questions, dig deeper into understanding what true freedom means to you, and always remember love and your connection to your spirit!
Thanks for reading! I would love it if you would share your experiences and thoughts in the comments.
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Love this! Freedom is a state of mind. We could be held bondage by our own thoughts, instead we need to choose freedom!!
Exactly! We need to see our own power to be free.
Totally agree that choosing to spread love and kindness brings joy to ourselves as well as to others around us. Great article, thanks
Thanks for reading, Ruth! Kindness really can change the world.
I’m definitely coming to terms how freedom is more a mindset than anything else. Honoring your experiences and learning from them is so important with that. Thank you, this was a great read!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Yes, our true freedom is ultimately up to us 🙂
Freedom is my favorite word. The concept it is different for each one of us but above all it is a state of mind. Thanks so much for sharing
100% a state of mind, although it can be very difficult to separate ourselves from the physical.
I agree that attachment to material things only hinders one from being free. Having so many material things takes so much time and energy from you that you end up getting burdened by it all.
Great post–very profound!
Thank you, Rosie! I believe material things add an unnecessary burden, we free our minds up for the more important things when we let go of some of the ‘stuff’!
Such a great post! Freedom has many aspects, and sometimes I feel like each of us have its own different definition of freedom.