by Dale Allen
I’ll have a quick swipe at this question: The freedom to do no harm, to not interfere with the freedom of others, to respect oneself, to know ones true self, to act with integrity and dignity, and to quote Henry David Thoreau ‘… to do at any time what I think right.’
For those of us paying attention, the incremental removal of freedom has been obvious. From my first ‘pay packet’, the little square brown envelope with palpable notes and coins inside, allowing the joy of spending anonymity, to the bank transfer salary payments a few years later, necessitating furtive trips to the cash ‘machine’ with the distinct feeling of being observed, of being visible to something unwholesome. Here a little freedom was removed.
To backtrack a little, 1979 found our family with our first telephone; a brown plastic Bakelite type, with a rotating dial. Until that time we would be part of large extended family gatherings that often took place in woodland clearings or on large expanses of beach, where cricket matches would be played for the best part of the day. Strangely or not, after gaining a phone, these events seemed to thin out, eventually disappearing altogether. Maybe there was no direct correlation, but I had the feeling back then that the ease with which we could now communicate with each other somehow made meeting up redundant. Another freedom worn to extinction by an encroaching technology?
And having grown up with cars fully under our control, who accepted as normal the annoying crescendoing beep until a seat belt was secured? Who actually took as inevitable a computer exclaiming ‘FATAL ERROR’ when deciding to withdraw it’s usefulness? Fatal to whom, was always my question - I was still alive! And who now reads with fondness a computer welcoming us back in an over-familiar, ‘this is my computer’ sort of way, when re-opening a programme? And to add to this the story re-told by Mark Boyle of how the humble thermos flask changed the social aspect of communal peat digging in Ireland, aren’t these all simply little steps further away from freedom?
I’m sure these experiences are familiar to many of us, but what do they really have to do with freedom? This all depends on how we view our freedom. To be autonomous in a world which can easily take over or make decisions for you, would be my own view, and close enough to a dictionary definition to make sense. Knowing an act to be your own volition and taking responsibility for it - Freedom! Exercising ones own conscience - Freedom!
There’s also an inner freedom, of course, which when developed can stand apart from experienced outer conditions. This freedom is commonly described by saints, mystics and yogis, and is often aroused in captives: with nowhere to turn, nowhere to run, finding freedom within can sometimes be the best option. But how does this inner freedom relate to freedom in the outer world? Maybe a pertinent question given the situation many of us now find ourselves in, and I think a question many of us are presently exploring.
The great Indian sage Sri Ramana Maharshi once said, ’The goings-on of the empirical world, true-seeming and beguiling in the mind’s borrowed light, are nothing but illusions in the bright light of pure awareness.’ An elegant statement, but what to do with it? With a little effort it can be known that we are not (only) our bodies, nor the thoughts which constitute what we believe to be our minds, and with a little further stretch, not even the people we take ourselves to be. The world is clearly not what it appears to be either.
So what can we do to secure and maintain freedom, both inner and outer? The main thing is to know who we are. It’s the you who can see all this, who can see the world events, who can see the body, the mind, and who can see the space in which it all occurs. Easy? Another great 20th Century sage, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, once said in relation to knowing ones true nature, “It’s enough to know what you are not.’
So it seems inner freedom should be quite simple, as it only requires us to BE who we are by knowing what we are not. But is it enough to know that the world as perceived is not what you are, in order for freedom to be realised there? In the highest sense, yes, but what if the ability to BE happens to be curtailed by outer forces? It is, after all, that we are not ONLY the body. I remember a wonderful Zen story about a disciple excitedly telling the master that he’d realised that he was awareness and nothing else was real, and the master struck him hard across the face and asked him, ‘Is that real?”
So yes, this world and what’s going on at present is real. As real as the ultimate truth, because, as many spiritual beings have told us, It is all One! Where can the separation be? The whole of manifestation is ultimate truth, not excluding one single thing! So here is our battle ground, here is our task as points of consciousness in the great indivisible awareness; to be all that we are in complete fearlessness! To do what needs to be done with unwavering compassion for every being. Whether this world collapses into tyrannical, technocratic hell, or whether humanity can rise and embody freedom on this beautiful planet, we surely have to be able to say that we didn’t shirk our responsibility and that we did all that we could!
This may seem daunting to an individual, but maybe that’s the point. To know that we’re not!
There are now many who’ve certainly had enough of all the nonsense, and who are acting and coming together to intelligently ignore the globalists designs in order to create their own beautiful worlds. We are free beings after all, and all it takes is to turn away fearlessly and head in another direction. It’s happening in many places at grass roots level. And people are changing. A while ago, after the initial shock, there was a new seriousness and gravity in all the faces I met. Now, in many, this has become an attitude of waving off all the impending horrors with a determination to CREATE! Humanity IS rising, but we can't take our eye off the globalists ball as it's being kicked around. Paradigm shift of huge proportions in formation!
From the highest viewpoint, what a magnificent game!
We must play our roles and fulfil our destinies!
True freedom beckons!