Two new takes on the meaning of real freedom
A different perspective on where freedom comes from
Hello fellow Protagonists,
Sitting down with a cup of Yorkshire Tea Gold, with pen and paper in hand, I recently revisited a list of my core values.
(I still love you coffee, it's me not you)
I highly encourage people to give this task a go. It may only take 5 minutes but helps ground us back to what (or what we think) lies at the core of our decision making and purpose. Give this a go and see what comes up. Feel free to use a site like this to help identify some specific words that shout out to you.
Freedom is a big one for me and has been a consistent core value since starting to hold up a mirror to them.
I am currently reading Think like a Monk by Jay Shetty, and still have some distance to go. I have stumbled across a seriously interesting part of the book for me. This is based on the concept of real freedom.
The first new take I want to discuss is when Jay refers to anartha-nivritti, which is a Sanskrit term meaning to remove that which is unwanted. Removing the unwanted is the direction towards freedom.
He focuses on the removal of negative thoughts that are fed from anger, envy, spite and other potentially harmful emotions. That being able to manage these thoughts will bring a definite sense of freedom.
So freedom is found in the removal of things rather than the acquisition of things.
A great reminder to bring our minds back to reality. This is also starting to sound like beliefs in other cultures that I have read up on. Lagom in Swedish culture springs to mind, something I posted on previously.
On a practical level we try to buy our way to freedom, to make our lives feel easier and give us more time, though this can have the opposite effect if we are acquiring more stuff in the process. For example, we may buy a fancy new rice cooker to speed up that chilli con carne we make once a month.
Yes it shaves valuable minutes now we do not have to watch our rice, making sure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan, but we have spent a full days wages for the privilege and will need to work an additional full day in our lives to make that back. You also still need to clean the thing. This was the final reason for my break-up with George Foreman. He grilled so fast but then took 30 minutes to clean.
If that sounded wrong then that is your brain, not mine.
There are definite services we can buy which bring freedom. If you hate washing your car and someone will do if for a few quid then you are free to do other things. The same goes for other services like gardeners, cleaners and pet groomers. I am starting to think that getting someone to clip my dogs nails could be worth it's weight in gold. She hates it and so do I!
These can provide freedom because we may be acquiring professional help but we are also removing tasks from our to-do list.
The real question here is that if you need to pay all these professionals for their services, we probably need to continue with our jobs to pay for those, so does that defeat the point of acquiring these freedoms? I guess that depends on how much you enjoy your job, how much you dislike the task, or if you earn so much it doesn't really matter.
Focus on removing things to feel free, be it negative thoughts, material possessions, destructive relationships, unrealistic pressures or grills that take twice as long to clean as to cook with.
The second new take on freedom from the same book is in reference to this tasty quote.
Saying whatever we want, whenever we want, however we want, is not freedom. Real freedom is not feeling the need to say these things.
I love it! This could be a runner for quote of the year for me.
This quote feels particularly relevant as we are living in a time where we hear of people who are challenging other peoples' views more openly and freely than ever and also of people who cascade frustrations over backlashes to expressing their opinions.
It made me think that we can get so caught up in the need to express our own opinions on things, that if we feel completely compelled to give our opinion then this is not done either freely or mindfully.
we may think we are using our freedom of speech but in fact there is no freedom to be found.
When we say things in the heat of the moment they are not usually our greatest quotes. I am wiling to bet that most of the list for the top speeches of all time were prepared beforehand and delivered with the freedom of time.
Another example,like saying things with the simple aim to harm other people is also not true freedom as the biggest likelihood is that a person does so to project their own insecurities.
Being insecure is the opposite of being free.
So the two big additional takes on what freedom is, are that:
Freedom is found in removal rather than acquisition
Freedom is found in the ability to truly choose what to do or say
I am still reading Jay Shetty's book but I feel that if I am already hitting gems like this, then I am excited for the rest.
For me, Freedom and choice always appear at the top of my list of core values. I wonder if this is the same for you? Let me know if this is the case in the comments below.
GLHF (Good Luck Have Fun)
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