Politically, we supposedly live in a free world. Instead of debating that, I suggest we embrace the spiritual principle:
“Outer world experience is a reflection of inner reality.”
In other words, freedom begins within.
Freedom can be defined many ways. Here is one:
Freedom is our birthright to live a joyous life and have our dreams come true. Most people on our planet don’t feel very free.
According to studies, over 70% of the people on our planet hate their job, and are often stressed out and fatigued. Too many are in poverty. Many feel trapped in unhealthy relationships.
What is going to give us freedom from all this suffering?
Will it be working hard for a lot of money so we can retire, so we can then do as we please? This is the popular American myth, but is it the key to real freedom?
I don’t feel convinced of this when I have seen so many retired yacht owners in the Caribbean who are really depressed alcoholics.
By the time they retire, many people have lost much of their health. I certainly don’t feel free when I’ve been a workaholic.
Strangely, I observe freedom more in people after they’ve had a big loss, like losing their corporate job or after they left a tumultuous relationship.
I first discovered freedom when I was 17 years old after almost losing my life in a severe motorcycle accident. Before, I was living in the fast lane chasing illusive happiness via some kind of thrill.
My severe injuries rendered me on my back motionless in a hospital room for three long months. At first I hated my situation, being alone in a boring hospital room while my friends were out playing together all summer.
I had to face my noisy mind and turbulent emotions.
Strangely enough, after the first month a deep sense of contentment emerged within me –with no reason to explain it. I became present to the subtle joy of being simply alive.
There is a magic in being fully present that can not be explained in words. Can you relate?
When I came out of that hospital I was so grateful and present to whatever came my way that for two amazing years I had “the Midas touch." It seemed everything I touched turned to gold. My grades shot up, I won awards in photography, ceramics, my writings were published in the high school magazine, and I fell in love with a gorgeous professional model. This was my first unconscious period of Freedom. Later, I forgot it all when that relationship painfully ended and I got back into the thrill-seeking party life.
Looking back, it seems the more I was seeking a thrill, the less I was aware I was depressed to begin with. I would need more and more stimuli to mask the pain I didn’t want to feel.
About 10 years later I again experienced big outer losses followed by big inner gains. I ended up losing a marriage and the approval of my family. The excruciating pain of being rejected by my closest love ones rendered me unable to work.
I didn’t know it at the time, but one of the prerequisites of true freedom is to let go of the role we take on with our family to get their approval so we can become truly who we are meant to be—on our own terms. My family’s rejection was a gift for me to fully claim myself.
While I was so devastated, without work and a place to stay, a friend of mine who was a caretaker of a nearly abandoned Buddhist temple allowed me to live there rent-free. I was there alone for a long year. And it is here that I became more conscious of my freedom. My noisy mind became more permanently peaceful, and then my spiritual senses opened up. I started gardening to ground myself, and I began helping people with spiritual readings. Eventually I was getting paid for my spiritual readings from many people worldwide.
Isn’t it ironic that I found freedom being alone in a confining hospital room and later in Buddhist temple? I needed that time away from outer stimuli to heal my aloneness and discover my unique gifts.
To help you discover your authentic freedom I invite you to ponder this question… Do your outer circumstances determine how free you feel?
This is the reality of the 3D world we were all born into. But it’s not true. Two people can have the exact same outer conditions, while one is experiencing freedom and the other experiencing confinement.
Now ponder this. Which is more true?
Does money attract more freedom or does freedom attract more money?
The answer we have been conditioned to believe is that money attracts freedom, but look at Eckhart Tolle. After burning out as a professor at a university in England, he got too stressed to work, and wound up sitting on park benches for two years. He then got so free that his wise presence became a magnet for many seekers. He has continued to help millions of people and has become a millionaire celebrity.
He is not alone. Before Neal Donald Walsh wrote his best selling Conversations with God series he was homeless for years.
Thousands of people who are in transition come to Mount Shasta every year. They come here needing time and space to re-vision their lives. By giving themselves this freedom, many find their soul’s higher purpose and become prosperous at it.
Freedom is really an inner state of consciousness we all want whether we realize it or not. And it’s very attractive. When you have discovered your freedom, you become a magnet for opportunity because people want to feel what you feel. For example, when your mind is free of noise, you become a good listener. You become a space for others to find their inner peace and purpose.
I think many—if not most—people have forgotten that living a freer life is even an option. They are run by never-ending mental agendas. Often, it takes a dramatic loss (as for me), taking a hallucinogenic drug, or meeting a spiritual teacher to crack their narrow mind open.
To discover and live our freedom is a spiritual awakening. We are not human beings trying to get high on some kind of spiritual experience. We are already free Spiritual beings with the inner power to transform our human experience.
The first step is to give ourselves the time and space to reconnect with our Soul, our truest essence. According to Eastern philosophy, we find our spiritual freedom by stilling the mind through meditation. Meditation doesn’t have to be formal. It can be as simple as going fishing, taking long hikes in nature, or just hanging out with your pet.
According to brain studies, the average person thinks 50,000 to 100,000 thoughts every day. I have come to believe most of these thoughts are not our own. It is the compulsive human mind that robs us of our soul’s freedom.
One way to get free of this chatter and return to our peaceful presence (without having to spend days in meditation, encounter a big loss, take a hallucinogenic drug, or travel far to be with a spiritual teacher) is to have a daily focus on gratitude and love.
I invite you to take a moment now to be grateful that you have a body that works reasonably well. And, you have loving people in your life, yes? The world is full of loving people. At the deepest level, we all want to help each other out.
What can you be grateful for right now? I invite you to think of three things.
Practicing gratitude opens the doorway to unconditional love. This is the authentic essence of your being, of all beings, and the entire universe. By practicing gratitude and unconditional love, you are remembering to see from the eyes of your soul. You can see and appreciate the love that flows through your heart and all hearts.
In contrast, the compulsive mind is impatient to get something, as though something of importance was missing. It is really the part of us that doesn’t feel loved. So, we search for love in all the wrong places. We work too hard to get society’s approval. The outer world is fleeting… and get this….
Love is not a relationship. Relationships are temporary, while love is forever now.
Loving relationships can be better enjoyed when you have consistently tapped into the deeper love that is always here. This deeper love is mind blowing–beyond words, like that talked about from people who have had near death experiences. However, you don’t have to die to be renewed by love. It is your truest essence.
When you know, without a doubt, that you are profoundly loved exactly as you are now by your divine source (whatever you call it), you are free. The search is over.
To tap into this deeper love, here is a simple life changing practice my friend Ron Holman shared with me. I invite you to say the following every time you look in the mirror:
“I love you _______ (your name) just as you are, because God loves me as I am.”
You see, most of the noise in our head (including that associated with anxiety, depression, and addiction) is based on the idea we are not lovable for some reason. We tied our wellbeing to various circumstances that must be met in order to approve of ourselves. We developed a fear-based story in our heads that kept us playing small and unworthy of love and abundance.
Having a daily gratitude practice and remembering that love is here and now has an instant effect of relaxing the body and calming the mind. I recommend doing it for 20 minutes twice a day. During the first 10 minutes, think of things to be grateful for, but don’t make this hard. Give your mind space to wander. Once you are aware you were off in other thoughts, come back to choosing another thing you are grateful for. During the last 10 minutes, allow yourself to feel love, starting with your self love. You can say to yourself the following statements:
God loves me
She loves me
I love me
I am free
You can replace “God,” and “She” with any word you like that induces a feeling of awe, reverence, or deep respect.
Practicing gratitude and opening to LOVE brings our consciousness into to the now moment because we want to be here. When we are fully present, solutions to our life challenges come easily and our soul’s unique gifts unwrap themselves.
The inner experience of freedom just explained gives us the foundation to experience outer freedom, which comes through our creativity.
Conversely, stagnation results when we forget we are powerful creator beings made in the image and likeness of our own Creator. Quantum physics agrees: whatever we look for, we find. If you are focusing on how bad your situation is, you get more of that. Because our mere perception creates, we are all creating whether we are conscious of this or not.
“Our life always expresses the result of our dominant thoughts.” Soren Kierkegaard
We begin to break out of stagnation when we get honest about what is not working for us (like living in poverty) and make a powerful decision for the better (like choosing to have more money). However, one may not get immediate results because the subconscious mind often has cross agendas.
For example, if you are subconsciously running thoughts and feelings of unworthiness and the belief “money is evil,” then no amount of affirmations will turn the tide in your favor.
Manifestation happens only when the conscious mind and subconscious mind come into agreement.
How do you get your subconscious mind to agree with what you are consciously choosing?
One way is repetition. If the subconscious mind hears your choice over and over the new truth can sink in more and more and finally become a new belief.
Sometimes, even with repetition, the subconscious mind can be stubborn to change because of negative emotions and beliefs get trapped in the body. Certain healing modalities can transmute this old material – like hypnotherapy, Emotional Freedom Technique, and our favorite we teach at I AM U, The Freedom-Code.
To conclude, I have presented two complementary viewpoints on Freedom:
1. Inner freedom
This perspective of freedom comes from our right brain, our feminine side, which resonates most with Eastern spiritual wisdom. It reminds us that freedom is our true essence and we experience it through being still in meditation, and practicing gratitude, and feeling love.
2. Outer freedom
This perspective of freedom comes from our left brain, our masculine side, and mostly resonates with Western thought. It reminds us we are powerful manifestors with the ability to change our outer conditions of our life for the better. We do this through consciously choosing our thoughts, words, and actions.
Remember, freedom begins within. If you don’t go within, you go without. Find the space and time, even if it is 20 minutes twice a day, to discover your Soul’s Freedom. Then your dreams can come true with seemingly little effort.