What Does It Mean to Be Free?

William Wallace had it right. Freedom is worth fighting for. Without freedom we are but a puppet on a stage. But what does it mean to be free? Because total freedom doesn’t exist. We are never free from sickness, from pain, from taxes, nor from death. We cannot harm, steal, or kill another person without risk of consequence. Here in the Land of the Free we can be thrown in a cage for the decision to modify our own consciousness with the use of a plant.

Real freedom then, is only freedom of the mind--or perhaps rather freedom of the spirit. When we understand that, any time we find ourselves in a cage, big or small, literal or metaphorical, we have a choice that can set us free. Victor Frankl, a prisoner in Auschwitz, said “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.”

He is right. We have the power to choose the way we think and feel about everything. That is fucking hard to do sometimes. If someone insults us, we have the choice to take it personally, or not to take it personally. If someone breaks up with us, we have the choice to decide we are unworthy of love, or simply accept that this was their preference. If we are injured, we have the choice to decide that something happened TO us, or FOR us.

But what makes it even harder is when we think we are choosing something, but really we are being compelled...either by fear, addiction, lust, greed, or grasping.

Think of this scenario, explained to me on a podcast by Cory Allen. A cigarette addict is at home on his couch. There are no cigarettes in his house. His mind tells him that he would really like to go get a Topo Chico and a bag of Hot Cheetoh’s from the store. When he gets to the checkout counter, he adds in a pack of cigarettes before paying out. Did he really go to the store for the Topo and the Cheetoh’s or was that just his subconscious mind tricking him into going to the store, so he could inevitably get cigarettes?

I want to be free. Really free. And that is going to take radical self-awareness, and a total release of attachment. Basically, as long as I need something from someone, I am not free.

If I need someone to love me, so that I love myself… I am not free.
If I need to do something for someone every week so that they favor me… I am not free.
If I need to look a certain way every time I glance in the mirror… I am not free.
If I am attached to my financial success... I am not free.
If I need to perform a certain way in the bedroom to feel worthy… I am not free.

Well, based on the above five criteriums… I have never been free. Not as free as I want to be. And I want to be free! Braveheart free. It’s the only thing that will satisfy my soul.

Because only when free--from fear, from the expectations of others, from the attachments to preferences, from the enslavement to lust and from the addiction to doing things--can I really BE. Be who I am in truth. Be what I am in truth. And know how I serve in truth.

I’ve made some progress up the mountain, to greater octaves of freedom, but I have a lot of climbing left to do. The deeper my self-awareness goes, the more I find new ways in which I have allowed myself to be cleverly attached to things… a form of enslavement.

A lot of people think that to release attachment you have to go be a monk somewhere. Not true. You just have to unfetter yourself from the chains of the ideas that are binding you.

This week’s podcast is with the songwriter, poet, and musical legend Citizen Cope. He plays some incredible songs, and we have an amazing conversation.

And finally, this is the last week that enrollment for Go For Your Win will be open. Please check it out if you haven’t already. It gives a lot of the tactical strategies for releasing attachment and becoming free… Free to go for your win, and in doing so, to WIN.

Much love everyone,
–Aubrey

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