You shall be free indeed when your days are not without a care nor your nights without a want and a grief,
But rather when these things girdle your life and yet you rise above them naked and unbound. -Kahlil Gibran
Gibran is speaking here of freedom of the spirit, an inner buoyancy unaffected by the weight of worldly concerns. This is spiritual strength; an inner kingdom of deep knowing that can bear all things. It is knowing the truth, as Jesus said, that sets us free; free from suffering, even in the midst of pain. This freedom is the pearl of great price that for most of us is only won by an inner revolution.
When life presents us with difficult challenges; when circumstances feel oppressive; when other people seem to be against us, our reactive self perceives all as threat, and instinctually puts out a call to arms. This is outer revolution - where we declare war on what seems to rob us of our freedom to enjoy life and pursue happiness.
This outside-in approach would convince us to solve all problems by manipulating events and circumstances to our liking. We have our own version of the Serenity Prayer that goes something like this:
God grant me the power to change the things I can't accept The courage to blame circumstances and judge others And the Wisdom that sees no difference
Despite our personal power, and our ability to willfully influence outer events, there remains the question of what to do when our co-creation machine is not perfectly manifesting. Even a master of life such as Jesus suggested that there might be times when we cannot calm the sea or otherwise get our way. He said we will have trials and tribulations. Trials and tribulations are a given in this human life. But wait, there is reason for optimism, good cheer even, he said, for there is an overcoming power within us - an inner revolution that can lead us to freedom.
When we look to the outer world for evidence of our good, we bind ourselves by limiting our faith to a world of appearances and miss the deep eternal reality. We make gods out of circumstances and other people, which requires that they show up perfectly in order for us to be free and at peace. This is an abuse and misuse of power that only leads to greater suffering.
More and more these days, I am realizing that I hold the key to my freedom. Either I project my feelings on the world, or I go within and experience the deep peace that is always there for me. When you and I touch that deep place of being, we are free. We are given the inalienable right to choose. We can declare our independence from the tyranny of life's ups and downs. We can lay down the sword of blame, and take up the sword of Truth, and let an inner revolution lead us to freedom. Being is freeing.
Peace and blessings,