By James Westly

Where's Freedom?

By James Westly

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To dedicate one's life to the pursuance of Enlightenment is to seek Freedom. What does the seeker search for if not this elusive, seemingly abstract, quality of existence. This nation we live in was politically founded upon this very pursuit. Yet, in our hearts, we know that Freedom has a deeper meaning that transcends politics.

The seekers of the western world in recent decades have sought this elusive abstraction in many forms. Many of us in the decades of the sixties and seventies sought it by "turning on, tuning in, and dropping out." Another phrase from a popular rock song, "freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose", lead us to believe that by rejecting material/social existence we would attain our Freedom. Yet, we discovered that being continuously high on drugs enslaved us to the very substance that made us "free", and it was not really possible to outright reject material existence as long as we continued to live in physical form. Maybe we misunderstood the message.

Freedom is an inner quality of being that is intimately connected to our inner world. If our inner reality is chaotic and confused, if it is bound up with considerations connected to an outer world existence over which we have no control, there can be little freedom. We have enslaved ourselves in a myriad of ways by striving to gain control over that which is not in our power, and ignoring that which is potentially within our control.

So, consider what is in our power? How other people perceive us is not in our power. We must find a way to live our lives for ourselves, not other people. External events are not in our power. We must learn to change with them. The future is not in our power, so why be so concerned by it. We live in a prison carefully constructed by our society. It is a prison without walls, a psychological prison. The walls are made of fear, anxiety, and worry. When we criticize, condemn, and complain instead of allow, accept and acknowledge, we live in a self-made Hell. It is within our power to escape from this prison, but only through discipline and responsibility, for our prison lies within, as does our freedom.

Freedom begins with disciplining the mind. We can, through effort, bring our thought processes out of Hell into the Light simply by changing the focus of our attention. We can learn to generate more self-love by appreciating our strengths instead of punishing ourselves for our weaknesses. We can tune in to the beauty of life by seeking it out. We can appreciate what we have rather than what we have not. If we make a friend of our Self, we'll never be lonely, we'll always have a playmate. All this and more can be accomplished through inner discipline.

When we take responsibility for our life and everything in it, even if we cannot reasonably see how it all works, we lose that feeling of helplessness. To look upon every thing and every event in our life as being our sole responsibility places the power of choice in our hands. We choose how to perceive and relate to the events in our life. Only then can we develop the Will required to bring into our life whatever it is that we desire. When we make other people and external events responsible for our situation, we have placed the power of choice in their hands and have given away our Freedom.

Through Discipline we acquire Will, through Responsibility we acquire Choice, then we have the tools to master our inner world, where true Freedom awaits.

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Practical Wisdom © James Westly, All Rights Reserved


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