We hear a lot about democracy and the liberty to act and speak as we like. Powerful and rich Western countries fervently defend democracy. While other countries believe in more control with socialist or communist political and economic structure. These ideals are again trying to compete with one another to prove their efficiency and prosperity in today’s world. People around the world are becoming aware of the restrictions of freedom with the pandemic. But what is real freedom?
The right to free movement
We relate liberty to being able to do whatever we wish with our bodies. Such as having the right to choose whether we want to be vaccinated. We also want the right to cross borders and to be free to move to wherever we wish.
Our free movement depends on the culture and political system of the country. This type of liberty is much appreciated by anyone because who would like to be imprisoned? However, the ability to move to wherever we like is a privilege for the wealthy. Also, if liberty can be gained this way, then everyone would have become a wanderer.
The right to free speech
Another type of liberty we seek is to speak whatever comes to our minds. The opportunity to speak and air our opinions grows with the advent of technology. We no longer have to listen to the media or political leaders because we too have the right to speak and gain attention online.
But this freedom to speak our mind comes with a price. It gives the opportunity to those with impure intentions to influence and create more hate in the world. Social media and other communication platforms are also giving those with selfish political agendas to divide and conquer.
Looking deeply into what freedom means
Although some people are able to move wherever they like, they choose not to. While those who are unable to, find ways and means to wander. When we wander the globe, we are trying to find a purpose by exposing ourselves to different cultures and nationalities. Otherwise, we seek an adventure to escape the drudgery of mundane life. But this escape or liberty does not last because soon, traveling the globe becomes a mundane activity itself. We can see that the choice to move or not to move really depends on the mind, not entirely only based on circumstances.
What we are trying to escape from is being with ourselves. As for free speech, we have seen it does not provide any happiness. Ultimately, we seek freedom to pursue happiness. But have you ever felt truly free by speaking your mind? Did airing grievances ever lift the ill-will from your heart? Moreover, did anyone listen and consider your opinions deeply? Or are they busy airing their own opinions?
Whenever we feel dissatisfied, that is the lack of liberty. When you feel contented and satisfied, did you feel free or imprisoned?
What is true freedom?
We always run away to find a place that can bring peace to our hearts. That’s because we are unable to be with our negative emotions such as restlessness, boredom, and discontentment. Actually, discontentment underlies all of our negative emotions. We judge these feelings to be a prison of our minds and we run and run and run… But yet they surface again and again.
Our actions involve two purposes: to find happiness and to avoid mental/physical pain. We eat good food and travel to soak in the pleasures of happiness because we can get away from mundane life. We avoid feelings of emptiness, boredom, and worry. Most of us aim for a life lack of worries and a nondescript life. These wants cause our hearts to be restless and discontented.
The true meaning of freedom is really to be free from negative emotions and to attain lasting contentment in our hearts. This is why we seek a purpose in our lives, hoping that a purpose would fill the emptiness of the heart. Contentment can be lasting and it is a consequence of repeated thoughts. To feel satisfied, we need to examine our thoughts and learn to be with negative emotions, and transform them.
If you are keen to learn how to transform your negativity into positivity on a daily basis, check out our Mindfulness-Based Strategic Awareness Training.