Freedom of mind and freedom of spirit
Striving for an independence has assumed a very different meaning in the contemporary world, especially when compared to its significance in the history of our nation. As we have been progressing as a country, we can witness efforts to break through the existing barriers and transcend through the boundaries, in an effort to achieve greater heights and moving towards a sense of self sufficiency.
Understanding the True Meaning of “Freedom”
Especially in the fast-paced lives of today, Independence Day which is celebrated each year also seems to have lost its meaning for many of us, only being a national holiday to be enjoyed. The true essence of independence is not restricted to be understood in the patriotic sense of the word, but also transcending beyond towards its application in our daily life.
It is also pertinent to note that, with the invasion of social media, we have witnessed a sudden rise in the prevalence of controversies, with opinions being politicized, and with an unbelievably high accessibility to information around us. However, it is important to understand that freedom of speech has to be equated to freedom of opinions and freedom of thought. Even in our daily parlance, a need to be independent can be manifested across the relationship matrices that exist in the society, be it the liberty and flexibility expected by employees in a workplace, children and adolescents seeking autonomy from their parents, spouses seeking to be self-sufficient, etc. Therefore, the interpretation of the word in its true sense needs to be imbibed and applied within our thought processes and across various spheres of our daily living.
Imbibing Psychological Liberation in our Mind and Spirit
- Open mindedness. The first step to move towards a psychological liberation is to develop an open-minded approach. Such an inclusive mind set is important towards all individuals around us as well as towards our own self, as we need to be willing to accept changes, and be open to recognizing diversity within human existence.
- Curiosity and keenness to know. Any kind of knowledge can be useful, and therefore we need to encourage ourselves to be curious and inquisitive. We need to think out of the box, and observe what is going on around us, with a keenness to know more and to understand these phenomena within a variety of contexts.
- Recognize your ‘choices. Often, we end up putting the blame for our actions on to external agencies or forces. However, we need to remember to assume responsibility for what are in fact our own choices. For instance, the thoughts we think are our own, as are our emotions and actions. And therefore, in the true sense, our personal freedom and independence is of utmost importance, and cannot be compromised upon.
- Avoid stereotypical thinking: It is important to be objective and unbiased in our approach, discouraging the tendency towards believing and thinking based on heuristics and stereotypes. We need to liberate ourselves from the learning, beliefs, values, opinions, prejudices, judgments, world views, attitudes, standards, which we harbor in our minds because of our interaction with the external world. Each of these holds us down to a particular belief and value system to which we remain bound for the rest of our lives. Mental liberation means freedom from all these.
- Flexibility and adaptability: We need to learns to let go of our rigidities and be flexible, in order to be able to adapt to changes in the environment. An unwillingness to do so is only likely to add to our experience of frustration, while also reducing our own potential in life.
- Learn to let go. We also need to imbibe the virtue of forgiving, and at the same time need to stop not running after things which are beyond one’s control. Freedom does not mean breaking the boundaries and limits which are not even within our realm, but it means instead to develop an acceptance of such factors, and choosing to let go.
- Freedom is not personal, but for all. Most importantly, the right to freedom is universally applicable, and therefore, understanding the meaning of true freedom in mind and spirit needs to be internalized by us not only towards our own self but also as a right for others.
- Don’t forget, freedom also comes with responsibilities. Last, but not the least, true freedom and independence also brings with it a set of responsibilities, which need to be recognized by us. The true essence of the term can be translated in an endeavor to treat both oneself as well as others around us with a sense of dignity and respect, which is deserved by one and all.