The Paradoxical Nature of Freedom
One of the things I value most is my sense of freedom. I’m not materialistic in the slightest, what I desire is the freedom to live life to the fullest and on my terms! I hate feeling forced, coerced or manipulated into action, and place great value on knowing my decisions are mine; that I have full agency over the way I live my life. I don’t think I’m alone in this.
Freedom is something most all of us desire – to spend time doing only the things we love with people we love. Many of us spend our lives working hard to create the set of circumstances that allow us to live our lives in this way.
But what is freedom, really? Can we ever truly divorce ourselves from the mundane but obligatory responsibilities of life? Can we live a life free of the need to answer for ourselves and our actions? Would we want to if we could?
From personal experience, I’ve noticed freedom is not exactly what it seems. Freedom in an absolute sense does not exist. The idea that we could reach a point in our lives where we get to simply do whatever we want is false. There’s no getting around those pesky, bland, annoying commitments that consistently threaten our ability to stay in our happy place, day-to-day. The only question is who – who will force us to do these things.
What freedom really is, is the ability to manage ourselves instead of being managed by outside people and circumstances; to discipline ourselves so that discipline is not thrust upon us by force and without choice.
But managing ourselves is no easy task!
This is the purpose of engaging in personal transformation, but it’s not a quick or easy process. It requires that we make our body and mind slaves to our intentions and goals. If we successfully master ourselves in this way, we’ll find success in the things we pursue, and we’ll have more freedom. And by freedom, I mean more flexibility AND greater responsibility. Because that’s always the price of freedom – greater responsibility. It’s just like childhood when all we wanted was grow up so we could do what we wanted without having to answer to anyone. And then we grew up and realized – not exactly.
So what does all this mean?
Simply – a life of freedom is a life of discipline. If we take the time to discipline ourselves, we’re rewarded with many things, including more freedom. If on the other hand, we don’t, and we shirk our responsibilities, the little autonomy we have is taken and we’re forced by others, or by life itself, to carry out those same obligations, and to do so without reward.
The ability to live life on one’s own terms comes with the cost of added responsibility and discipline. This means if freedom is something you value it’s important to first truly understand what that means and then work on being a better master of self. More freedom usually means more work and responsibility, not less, but it also means living life the life you want and on your own terms and that’s a beautiful thing, indeed!