Freedom from Yourself...
Freedom is one of the most powerful feelings in the human experience. We want it for individuals and encourage entire nations to practice it for their citizens. Yet how often do we really experience it? How aware are we that we enslave our own minds, no matter how physically free we believe we are?
I'm not talking about personal freedoms (while that alone is entirely another conversation), but rather freedom within "peace of mind." Being free within your mind can create a peace within that is pure bliss! How do we get there? I'll aim to help draw some perspectives around it...
Let's begin with the ego; your first enemy to personal freedom of mind...
The ego can be that voice inside your head that incessantly demands attention to materialistic details of life. Things like:
- I need the newest smartphone
- I need a better TV
- I want a newer car
- I don't feel my house is good enough; I need a better one
- If I wear more "in style" clothing they'll like me better
The list can go on and on... This tends to begin in today's modern society because of the want, need, and desire to "fit in" at a social level. This occurs in our lives after we've met the basic needs of human existence. Maslow's Hierarhy of Needs spells this out pretty clearly. Within the 4th level from the base of the pyramid you can see why this could occur. We as humans aspire for "acceptance" by others. The only truly essential needs in life are as follows:
- Food to provide nourishment for the body
- Good health
As we work our way up achieving different levels of life attainment we often get tripped up within the "Self Esteem" or "Ego" level of life. If able to successfully work our way through that level most get to a point of "self-actualization" and the want to be the best that one can be. If this level is achieved through a strong attachment to ego it will stay on an individual basis, whereas if one realizes that he or she has attained much perspective and enlightenment it can take on a much more altruistic approach.
The rules that govern social norms are often what directs those to fulfill the wants and desires of the ego. These social norms are often dictated by the "rules of society." But who says we have to live by these rules? I'm speaking in terms to the rules society says we should abide by like:
- Go to college upon finishing basic levels of education - MUST graduate high school
- Obtain a good paying career (good paying job again is defined by what society says you should earn)
- Get married
- Obtain "nice" things
- Have children
This are just a few of what "society" says we should do. Must we really "do" these things? How much peace would you feel not needing to worry about having the newest things...Needing to obtain that next promotion... Having to earn a specific income that is "deemed worthy" by society? I'm not advocating that we not educate our youth - but what defines education and how we educate?
Do we not have the ability to define what OUR OWN HAPPINESS IS? Why must we align it what OTHERS say it should be? I can attest to the fact that peace of mind begins with us STOPPING society and others from dictating what our life happiness should contain. I'll leave you with those thoughts and another great book titled "Happily Ever After: Escaping the Myths of the Perfect Life." - Paul Dolan. The book attempts to dispel the long revered notion that we must follow a set path deemed necessary through our past upbringing and social norms. Here is a summary:
In my own way I continue to challenge "social norms" and hope that this post in some way affects those that read it to at least ponder the thought that - NO ONE DECIDES YOUR SUCCESS AND HAPPINESS OTHER THAN YOU.