As with every other aspect of our human consciousness, the ideas we have about freedom are up for review. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately—in no small part because July is imprinted deeply in our American psyche as the month for our National Birthday Party. It’s the official celebration of the signing of our Declaration of Independence, which happened when we, as is the case with children, had grown and matured to the point we were ready to strike out on our own and take care of ourselves. Mamma didn’t like it; her little rebels, realizing she really didn’t have their best interest at heart, got uppity, so she sent Daddy over to whup us back into shape. But we’d been living on our own long enough to get a good taste of freedom. We had made a family of our own and we liked meeting the challenges on our own terms. We were younger, stronger, and more invested.
I don’t think the underlying desire for/attraction to freedom has ever changed. When those infamous words were written, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” they were concepts that struck the chord of Truth so deeply and strongly they became the bedrock upon which an entire nation was founded. That’s what I see as the Hand of the Divine moving through the fringe thinkers of that age. But recall, even as the words “liberty and justice for all” rang across the land, there were many for whom those unalienable rights were not only not recognized, but were vehemently denied.
Let us remember that, because these were new ideas they seemed radical at the time, and we were at the beginning of the learning curve in terms of how to implement them. That said, it didn’t seem at all contradictory that we would fight to the death to protect this right to claim our freedom while continuing to hold some people in actual, physical slavery. How did we square that? By believing them to be different/other—not even human, in fact. Yet we grew in consciousness and, in another hundred years some new fringe thinkers came along. They expressed what were again radical thoughts that resonated as Truth deeply and strongly enough to compel some to fight to the death in order to bring those same disenfranchised people under the umbrella of freedom.
In all ages, people have found justification for (mis)treatment of others. In the philosophical words of Kris Kristofferson, “everybody’s gotta have somebody to look down on; who they can be better than at anytime they please—someone doin’ something dirty decent folks can frown on…” (from Jesus Was A Capricorn.) Yet because that’s how it’s always been done doesn’t mean we have to keep doing it that way. We can alter the pattern. Just as we’ve made advances in technology that freed up time and energy for us, there have been spiritual advances that free us up emotionally and psychically. In fact, that’s what Jesus/Buddha/Allah/Mohammad were all about; modeling for us a different way of seeing and being while in this world.
The long view of evolution illustrates many periods in history when humans struggled to find and live up to their best selves. There have always been individuals whose perspective was out of synch with conventional wisdom. Sometimes they were revered and sometimes they were stoned to death. Either way, it was their out-of-synch-ness that opened the way to seeing things differently, which is the precursor to change. There have always been those who walk among us who’ve shared their advanced understandings; in some cases, their teachings have been codified and held up as “The Way.” The problems haven’t been so much with the teachings as with our interpretations of them. One can assume a position on anything and amass data to support it. Facts just are; it’s the context and interpretation that gives them meaning.
People have forever taken pieces of information (sometimes accurate and sometimes not) to make a case for denying freedom to individuals and groups. It ain’t the facts, but the consciousness with which people use the facts that allows us to mistreat each other and our Mother Earth—consciousness comprised of beliefs in the illusion of separateness. And this is where the whole evolution/new information/change thing comes in. There are fringe thinkers among us now who tell us there IS no “other.” New science and ancient spirituality are finally merging into ONE understanding. Whether you choose to look from the lens of science or spirituality, what’s at the end of the lens is the same: oneness, a unified field of matter and not-matter. Science shows us how we’re interconnected through basic components of matter while spirituality shows how we’re connected through our hearts.
As information continues to pour in attesting to our interconnectedness, perhaps it’s time to revisit the ideas we have about freedom; you know, do an inventory—keep what’s still pertinent in light of new information and discard that which no longer fits with a larger view. As much as I’ve loved and oft quoted Kris Kristofferson, I’m ready to take a different tack on his idea that “freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose.” I’m tossing “freedom has a price” along with any notion that one can “fight for freedom” as well as “your freedom ends where mine begins.” These beliefs, as fundamental as they were to one part of the evolutionary process, are rooted in fear consciousness that always equates “other” with “threat.” When I overlay the idea that we’re all connected, inside and out, those beliefs just don’t work.
The consciousness of love sees unique individuations of Divine Source rather than “other/threat.” In that light, the seeming paradox of how we can be both “different” and “the same” is reconciled. Each of my fingers are different but are part of the same hand. (Well…except they’re different from the ones on my other hand, which, like the first hand, is part of the same body; you see where we’re going with this.) As unique individuations of Divine Source, each is moving—whether willingly or with resistance—awakening to the recognition that, indeed, all are created equal and endowed with certain divine characteristics–spiritual DNA, if you will. We ARE peace expressing as abundance, love expressing as acceptance, and joy expressing as freedom. The only thing that ever gets in the way of that understanding is our old, habitual fear-based consciousness.
Holding the recognition that, at this moment on our evolutionary path we are shifting in consciousness from fear to love better equips us for the changes we think are happening “to” us. That information, in fact, frees us to choose to move with the energy (the easier path) or resist the inevitable (harder.) In the end, the power of conscious choice is the seat upon which freedom rests; real freedom—that unalienable right endowed by our Creator. We can keep looking with the eyes of fear and see only threats and mayhem, or we can look with eyes of love and see an emergent consciousness capable of creating a sustainable world supporting life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all. Really. All.