Even when I was a child, I cherished my freedom more than anything. I was inquisitive, had a mind of my own and never took anything at face value. A rebel sometimes with, and sometimes without a cause. I was smart but lacked discipline at school so my teachers didn’t particularly like my 'type'. They would tell my mother that I am ‘wasting my talents’ or even ‘throwing my life away’, that I am too rebellious or opinionated. Raising me was not an easy task.
As a young adult I often tested my boundaries and did many things out of gut feeling, but sometimes also out of spite; often to prove something to myself. Sometimes these were small tests, sometimes big ones like leaving my country, moving a lot, often changing jobs, plans and generally putting myself in challenging situations.
Because of all of this I was often labelled as naughty, disobedient, moody, different, and wouldn't fall into category of what is considered normal. This didn’t bother me much, I always felt like I did not need to adapt to a world which I thought was distorted. I knew where I was heading and I was also quite aware when I have side tracked. But, it wasn’t always easy to live in a world which doesn’t support different. Where people often prefer to be told what they should think, like, say, wear, eat, do and generally how they should live their lives. And there is whole army of those who think they know better; parents, teachers, friends, partners, bosses, governments, religions.
It is far from easy steering your own boat trough rough seas only with this internal compass you must rely on, knowing that it doesn’t always work that well. On the other hand there is nothing more beautiful or empowering. But, attaining such freedom means taking life into your own hands. It means taking responsibility for yourself, your actions and the outcome of those actions. Freud said: “Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.”
There are many types of freedom; freedom to a decant livelihood, freedom to walk the streets you call home without fear, freedom to love who you choose. But the most empowering one of all is the freedom of mind, and this one is the hardest to attain. If your mind is free there are no limits, no walls, no borders and no boundaries.
But, what is on the other side of freedom? What is it that binds us, blinds us and keeps us in this mind-prison? I believe its fear. Many fear disobeying their parents and end up living a life they never chose to live. Many people take humiliation and shit from their boss at work as they fear conflict of losing their job and that shiny new car as though the car is the source of their happiness. We stay in unfulfilling relationships because we fear solitude. We fear giving our heart to someone because of fear of getting hurt. We are afraid to speak our mind because we don’t want to come across as uncool, too opinionated, angry, crazy, too emotional etc. We, as human beings are afraid of so many things. Our societies and our lives are saturated with fear.
But, the worst fear of all, one that is so binding and blinding is the fear of other people. Of those that are different, that look different, that speak a different language or believe in a different God. And that fear fuels judgement and hate. It fuels wars, supports governments and politics. Fear is what makes us believe we are all different and is the most effective weapon of manipulation. Fear is what some parents use when they want their children to do or not do something, what lovers use to manipulate but worst of all fear is what people in power use to get what they want and they do this using media, national pride, religion etc. Now we all fear Islam and terrorists. Tomorrow it will be something else.
Imagine you lived your life without fear. Imagine you weren’t afraid to be who you are, to say what you think. If your mind was opened to such an extent that all you can see is the Truth and not brainwashing lies you have been served daily? What if we were not afraid to love all of humanity not only regardless of our differences, but embracing and celebrating those differences?
What would they feed us than in order to build their wealth, fight their wars, build fences and promote hate?
There is nothing more freeing and empowering than opening our minds and overcoming our fears.
‘’He who has overcome his fears will truly be free.’’- Aristotle