Personal spiritual freedom and how to get it back
What is inner spiritual freedom? I do not mean not being in prison. Neither do I mean slavery in the 300 B.C understanding of slavery. One day I came to understand that the majority of people in the world, including myself, are not free. My goal is to help through understanding. Once you become aware of the barriers in any sector of your life, you will have a strong starting point. This post covers all sectors of life, as well as steps on how to break free from the chains of your mind.
Attachment – Objects, people or places
When you need something compulsively, it is not a source of pleasure. When you need something so badly that without it you cannot feel good, you are its slave. So when you attach yourself to people, objects or places, you rob yourself of spiritual freedom. The most common false belief that people have, is that “attachment is love”. This is wrong, because to love someone truly means wanting them to be happy with or without you.
Think about your possessions. Are you able for example, to format your PC right now? Without backing anything up?
Can you leave your house without your mobile phone for a whole day? Can you spend a week not talking to anyone, not to a single person, and feeling happy and content? Even better, can you spend a week without internet? Are you able to spend time by yourself, without any entertainment, books, music? Just yourself and the world around you?
Anything that you want compulsively is not a source of true pleasure.
The good news is that realizing that eliminating attachment from your life, and wanting to be happy no matter what external circumstances life throws at you, is the first sign of true spiritual freedom.
The true meaning of being financially independent is not the actual having of money. It is the skill of being able to get it, no matter where you are. Here is an example of a truly financially free person: You drop her or him with a parachute, in the middle of an unknown country, naked, with no possessions. And within a short amount of time they will be able to obtain themselves a source of income. The secret of being rich is this: If you take all the money from the rich people, and give it to all the poor people, in a very short time – the poor people will spend all their money and be poor again, and the rich will go back to being rich. Because the difference is this: the mindset.
The essence of understanding true spiritual freedom in relationships, is understanding these three concepts:
1. Doing things out of desire, not out of duty. This usually happens at a more advanced stage of a relationship. When you say and do things because you have gotten into the routine of doing so, because it is expected of you, because you have a duty to your partner. But that is what it becomes: duty. So often, we try to block it from our mind but the truth is there. The way to resolve this is simple: Before answering a phone call, or agreeing to something your partner offers, or going together to some place, ask yourself: Do I really WANT to? Or am I just doing this because if I don’t, then he/she will get upset? If the answer is no, if you don’t want to do it, then don’t do it. If your partner starts an argument, gets upset or angry then you will know straight away: your relationship is based on duty, not desire. This always leads to a dead-end.
2. Not being attached. – If you feel that if your partner leaves, you will be incomplete and miserable, then you have very deep attachment, which always the source of all pain in a relationship. You might think that things are so much complicated but they are not. All the sources of negative emotion and arguments are this: Jealousy, Possessiveness, Incompatibility, not enough common interests, difference in views or opinions.
All of these are based on attachment: these are all sources that make one or both parties of a relationship unhappy, and yet you stay together. Why? Because you are attached. It’s an invisible ball and chain, created with your own mind. You are a prisoner of your own device. Because if you are not happy with your partner, it means that without them in your life, you will be happier. Not being attached does not mean you do not love your partner – it means you do not compulsively need to be with them. Wanting and needing are different things.
3. Being the best that you can be, and accepting only that which is the best for you. – That means, never lower your standards for anyone, because the end result will always be misery. Keep your standards high, but not only for your expectation of others. To feel like you deserve only the best in others, you have to give only the best of yourself.
Mastering your emotions is one of the first things you should learn on your journey to spiritual freedom. You might believe it to be possible or impossible, but the truth is, I went from being emotionally unstable to a person who is very balanced, happy and in-control. And the change that I had undergone was learning to control my emotions, and learning to feel only what I want to feel. The main concept of emotional mastery is to identify exactly what you are feeling, so that in your head, it is no longer part of you. It is an emotional state.
The next step would be to find the trigger, and to eliminate it. But the most powerful way that finally pulled me out, was to substitute any negative emotion to a positive one, directly.
For example: I feel anger. I identify that is what I’m feeling, and I make a decision to replace that emotion: I replace it with the feeling of freshness, as I’m looking at the open countryside in early morning. I replace it with feeling of beauty that the nature and blue sky invokes. It could be anything: the trick is to shift your focus. Learning to control your emotions is a huge step towards spiritual freedom. Because then you are no longer a slave of external events, words, actions, people. You can choose how to feel, when and where you want.
Social spiritual freedom
At seminars of NLP [Neuro-Linguistic-Programming], one task for a particular attendant was to travel through the subway from one end to another, wearing a full scuba-diving outfit. Being extremely shy and self-conscious, this was a shocking experience for her. By the end of her train ride, she had completely let go of her fear – she was no longer concerned with what people thought of her. Being completely free from other people’s opinions is a spiritual freedom that is very seldom found. The truth is that almost every person has a concern for other people’s opinion, whether it is that of their friends, their family members, their colleagues, the opposite sex, or even strangers.
Especially strangers. Imagine yourself dancing in the middle of a subway train. Or performing a public speech because you want to express your thoughts to many people at once.Or dressing inappropriately for some official event. Oh the horror! For most people, the idea of standing out from the crowd, from being subject to other people’s critique, gossip, opinion is the stuff of nightmares. This fear, this fear of others’ opinion is a very important aspect of slavery. Also this is one of the most fun sectors to work with.
Physical spiritual freedom
Physical spiritual freedom means being able to move around in space in accordance to your wishes. This means not being tied down to your job, the city you are in, the country you are in. Travelling and exploring are in this section. Your physical spiritual freedom is controlled by your mind, which brings us to the next sector:
Spiritual freedom inside your own mind
Letting go of all limits in your mind. Believing that anything is possible, because it is. Not having doubts or regrets about the decisions you make. To become free from your own voices. The consciousness is what controls your thoughts and actions. The mind has a natural instinct to preserve balance; therefore anything that it doesn’t understand or accept, it rejects. It can block out your true feelings and wishes. The key to becoming the master of your own mind, is integrity (being honest with yourself, 100%, at all times. This means admitting any fears, or desires. Through my experience I’ve discovered that the more spiritual freedom a person is inside their mind, the bigger dreams they can have. Someone who is not free from themselves, cannot allow themselves to have big dreams!
The meaning of integrity – when thoughts, feelings and actions are aligned. Lack of integrity means you are your own slave. You have set your internal boundaries so high, that you don’t have spiritual freedom of what choices to make. Instead of doing what you want to do, you do what you “should” do, what you have to do, what you need to do. To be free, your mind, feelings and actions must be aligned. You might think – well doesn’t everyone do this already? No. Most people think one thing, feel something else, and do something completely different. Integrity means being honest with yourself. This is the case where you have enough courage to admit to yourself any mistakes, or fears, or desires. When you actions are completely in alignment with what you feel and think, then you are free from yourself, from your own thoughts and boundaries, which you have been building since birth.
Proactive v.s reactive
Most people are controlled by external circumstances throughout their whole life. Their mood and happiness depends on things that happen to them. A proactive person is free because they can choose how to feel in any situation, at any time and any weather. A reactive person can get offended, irritated or angry based on how people treat them, instead of choosing how to feel and act, no matter what happens, no matter what life throws at you. A reactive person is predictable; and can therefore be easily controlled and manipulated.
Duty v.s Desire
– How many of us do what we truly want, as opposed to what we think we should? This is another thief of spiritual freedom: the false believe that there are things we have to do. Conformity. We have to get married, we have to have children, we have to go to work, we have to visit relatives, and so on. How many of us fill our lives with food, television, and mindless small-talk with your friends/family. So often by the time of reaching adulthood, we have long blocked our desires and dreams, and instead choose to follow the trodden path that everyone else follows.
Subconsciousness – paradigm
And finally, your subconsciousness. This is the final step to true spiritual freedom. Our beliefs are formed from childhood, through repetition. There is a program in our minds that tells us how the world is. The program is full of errors; which is why most people suffer. This is why the journey to spiritual freedom means: to get to your final destination, to the state of being where you can know true happiness, you need to overwrite the program. To do this you can use the paradigm shift.
There are many different factors that determine to what degree we experience spiritual freedom. Keep in mind that you can stop doing what you don’t want to do, and start doing what you DO want to do, making yourself a happier person.