As we enter into the holiday weekend we often hear a lot about Freedom, and how fortunate we are to live in a country which promotes it. I have been considering this a lot; what is Freedom? And how much of it do we really have? Despite our considerable material well-being, are we really free? Webster's defines Freedom as the state of being free; the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice. Lau Tzu, the great Chinese Master said, to be free is to let go of our own ideas. The Buddha claimed that to be free we must release our attachments.
A friend of mine asked me recently about relationships. During our conversation I speculated that we might be a lot happier if we stopped thinking about and even talking about relationships. Now, I know this sounds crazy! And believe me, I do plenty of both, but when I really examine my thoughts and words I see that neither often creates happiness. Most of our conversations or thoughts about others come down to either receiving affirmation, or convincing others to see things our way. This is humbling; that maybe 90 to 95 percent of our conversations, either internal or external are about assuaging our ego.
On the other hand, some of my happiest moments have been either engaged in an activity - and it really didn't matter what, it could even be unpleasant like cleaning out the garage - or doing nothing, just being together with someone. I'm not saying that some conversations aren't pleasant, but when you look at them they are often pleasant because they are either illuminating or affirming. All critical, convincing thoughts lead us toward separation and suffering.
If we truly desire Freedom, perhaps we should stop thinking, analyzing, criticizing. Perhaps we should release ourselves into the flow of life, and be grateful for whatever comes as a guide from beyond.
Love and Peace