WHAT IS FREEDOM?©
BY JO MOON
I have thought about this question a lot. I once believed that being homeless or a wanderer was the answer. I would have no responsibilities: no home or bills, no job, no routine or obligations; a layabout life with no-one to answer to. Of course I was wrong. I have not been homeless myself but have met many who have been. Even people who ‘sofa surf’, ie stay at others’ homes for short periods of time, are not that happy or free. They are obligated to obey the rules and conditions of the household where they are. They cannot live their own lives. I have experienced this myself.
When I moved into my own flat having surfed around at others’ homes for a few months I felt I had found my freedom once more. I could come and go as I pleased without being questioned or delayed by others’ demands on me. I could sleep on a proper bed rather than being cooped up on the floor in a store room. I could ban all the things in my own home that were not part of my own ethics such as meat, chemical products and toxic sprays. I could create my space as I wished.
The freedom I lacked in my new environment was when the council put bars on every window to stop children falling out or people taking their own lives. I had no children and no suicidal tendencies. The bars meant I could not open the windows properly or sit on the flat roof. They gave me a feeling of imprisonment. I also started feeling resentful of using so many gallons of water every time I flushed the toilet and then having to pay for this water. I felt annoyed that the heating was inefficient and therefore I had to be cold every winter and watch as the ice encased itself inside the windows and my breath was visible in the cold inside air.
When we rent property we are not entirely free. We are under the control of landlords who may not care about us at all. When we own property we are not free either. Many people believe they can be free by owning a house. Yet there is the commitment of a mortgage meaning that a good income must be earned which may drive someone into doing a job they dislike. I know someone who is currently selling his house in order to be free. He sees his house like a prison, something that weighs him down. He wants to be free and does not intend to live anywhere in particularly. This is his concept of freedom.
There are people such as Mark Boyle who lived without money for 2 years on his quest to prove that money doesn’t bring happiness or freedom and that it should be banned altogether in the world. I interviewed him in St Leonards-on-Sea when he had just started his moneyless journey,
When you focus on unconditional giving you receive, when you focus on receiving you don’t get.
Mark explained that by offering people whatever he was able to give: his time or labour he was automatically given back what he needed.
If I’m hungry I can’t just go to a shop and buy food. On the other hand, I don’t have to worry about my bank balance or what clothes to buy. Every day just seems to flow. It’s a mixture of liberation and fear. It’s a really strange feeling not having any control over buying food.
Is being penniless and living without money the answer to freedom? In my experience no! I do believe that if we lived in a world without money it would create freedom for us all, but currently we live in a monetary system and without money you cannot be free in this world. Money is needed to live our daily lives or you go without.
Freedom is not just about money, your home and what you do in life. It is far more than that. I climbed up the famous and powerful Glastonbury Tor recently and asked the question about freedom. Immediately I received an answer which I wrote down in the bitterly cold wind. This is what I wrote:
SIX STEPS TO FREEDOM
Do not veer from your true path ever.
Walk alone, not behind the footsteps of others unless they are great masters or acting for your highest good. (This does not mean you need to be alone!)
Stay attuned to your own heart and soul at all times (to do this engage in spiritual practices of your choice).
Look forwards not backwards and release the past often.
Look into your emotional, spiritual, psychic, physical and mental needs and acquire what you need at each given moment.
Be yourself, heal yourself, honour yourself and your needs.
All shall be well in your world and you shall thrive always. It is not the needs, wants and persuasion or coercions of the world that should dictate your life but rather your true inner being, that which we call the soul, that has a divine purpose upon the Earth at this given moment in time.
The above is a direct quote from what I received on the Tor. I hope this rings true for you but please give me your feedback and comments on what true freedom means to you. I also believe that the above message is true but that the simplicity of it is not always so easy to put into practice!
…And a final quote from Ghandi which Mark Boyle emphasized:
Be the change you want to see in the world.
Thank you for reading and please circulate this to others if you feel inspired.