‘The View from the Shed’ excerpt
My son hadn’t been in the shed for months, and I’m now wondering who would be bothered stealing a few lengths of hose and wire. Just doesn’t make sense to me and honestly, I feel a little unnerved. Regardless, I open the door and step inside; its about 2 pm and the day’s been perfect, not too hot and a cool breeze is coming off the sea, making my little shed come alive.
I leave one door open and sit comfortably on the couch, and again peruse this musty space I call the home of my inner thoughts. And there it is again, a few old tools are missing now, the pegs and nails that held them remaining on the wall, glaringly empty. Confusion reigns for a moment as I cannot see why anyone would even want what’s here, let alone go to the trouble of thieving it. I just don’t understand, but quickly calm myself in the expectation of some more meaningful thought.
What immediately comes to mind is ‘Freedom’, a word much bantered around in many contexts; but what does it really mean, and are we truly free? I believe freedom to be an innate concept, and regardless of the influences and burdens of external life, it is we who choose freedom for our minds and thought. Today there are many pressures and societal expectations, which by their very nature inhibit us and therefore are seen as compromises.
We are not free to do as we please: we must work to earn money to support ourselves, we must observe social protocols and limit our behavior to fit in with society and maintain an equilibrium for the common good. We are free to vote for our political leaders, yet we are powerless beyond that. And when we are oppressed or persecuted for whatever reason, we may have recall but ultimately we are bound by societal process, law and all the imperfections of systems we did not create.
In the end, we live life as compromise, having to adjust to what is determined by a so-called democratic system that both protects and serves our best interests. If only that were definitive in truth. There is so much graft and corruption these days, its hard to even trust our local member. So much of our lives cannot be referred to as freedom, although we can take things into our own hands and suffer the consequences: start a revolution or blow up your most despised government department. But of course I am joking, for most of us happily play the game and understand the necessity for compliance to maintain our way of life: town, state and country.
The one thing that no-one can take from us, modify in any way or dismiss as superfluous, is our thoughts. Thoughts are our ultimate freedom and in their expression we show the world who we are, beyond all the limitations and burdens placed upon us by society. What may be evident from an external point of view, may be very different in thought and no-one will ever know that unless we decide to reveal it.
Freedom also is a strength of character, a point of view that allow us to appreciate what life is and what surrounds us in the natural world. This communion for me is essential in life as it grounds us all to the real core of being, relating to the ‘divine spark’ in all life, no matter what form. We have freedom to see how we see, our own unique perspective and understanding of this complex and miraculous life, our own. We may chose ideologies to follow, philosophies that challenge our mind, but none of them can be definitive of truth and our perception of it, which is in constant flux as it evolves within us.
Freedom also means choice, our free will the means by which we forge a life, create the circumstance with which we must deal, and learn and grow within the process. So in understanding freedom, no matter how oppressed or limited we may feel at times, we have far more scope than we think, as to how we perceive and deal with all the compromises with which life and society may burden us. Many compromises maybe just too much, for example living in a totalitarian society, oppression the quelling of most external harmony. Yet the mind is free and can enable change through its very being and will. Again we always have choice, the freedom to make life better should we choose.
In a way, life itself IS freedom, the loving perception we may hold in appreciation of its miraculous expression, of which we are a part. All the restrictions and believed limitations are mere challenges our free minds can solve, if only we believed in ourselves, the potential that resides within us.
Freedom is like that feeling when you’re falling,
unattached to the world,
our body and mind immersed in the moment,
where no other thoughts pervade,
just that sensation of unencumbered vulnerability.
If we could for that moment relinquish fear,
true freedom could be experienced;
the air rushing past
without any physical connection,
until of course the reality of gravity kicks in,
and connection ends the ideal.
However freedom can be held,
the experience honed by the nature of our expectations,
immersing ourselves in the moment,
unencumbered by the noise of inflammatory thought,
and living in the present,
as the pilot of our life.
Freedom then, is found.