I sat with the idea of freedom this morning as Independence Day approaches, and I wondered once again, what I will do with my day, how will I celebrate and of course the child in me wants to know where’s the best place to see fireworks – the most important thing!
So I did what I usually do when contemplating what something means to me, like the word FREEDOM, I went to the dictionary to see what Merriam-Webster had to say, and here’s the options:
- A) the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action
- B) liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another
- and my favorite (surprise, surprise) C) the quality of being frank, open, or outspoken.
For so long I have thought of freedom as releasing, unburdening myself or letting go. Especially in Unity, we talk about lightening our load, releasing error thoughts or limiting thoughts – that this is the process of freedom. And it’s true, I do let go of things that are burdensome, or what doesn’t serve me, we call this forgiveness. In part, I do this by choosing to affirm and claim my good, by affirming God, Spirit, the Divine, whatever you call it, is everywhere present in and through and as me. I choose what I want to think, I choose how I want to act, I have unlimited freedom in what I choose. Freedom becomes much about choice, or volition.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “I believe what the self-centered have torn down, the other-centered will build up.” Meaning, we all participate in energy to be the unique individual we were created to be, to separate ourselves sometimes and have ownership within our world. And yet at the same time, we are yearning to belong with and to each other, to know our unity with all life. So ultimately, our freedom depends on keeping things together, and how we relate to all life. My freedom is dependent on your freedom! So how do I need to be for you know freedom? How do you need to be for me to know freedom?
Charles Fillmore, co-founder of Unity said, “If anyone tries to free himself while holding others in the error thought, he will not demonstrate his freedom.” Seems clear to me… when I accept I am not alone, when I surrender and let go of this idea of intense individuality, then freedom becomes a dance of and for life – but NOT until I stop holding others in error thought, in ways that deem them separate from me, less than me… even those I fear or those who do harmful things. Now freedom becomes a tall order.
So to undertake this mission of freedom, I recognize that my calling is to know that I am a human, I am MIXTUS ORBIS, as Cynthia Bourgeault calls it, which literally means “mixed realms.” I have this human, physical world that I live in, my body, my basic cellular and genetic makeup, my animal instincts, my day-to-day life and the world I experience through my five senses. Then there’s the other world, the divine realm, the angelic world, the intangible that at times can be difficult to put into words. As a human I am made of both worlds, both realms.
Frequently in religious or spiritual traditions we are taught to release or transcend the physical realm, to move to a place of pure divinity as though it were a destination or something to aspire to. It’s not about freeing ourselves from one realm, but rather how we move from one world to another in each and every moment. It’s in the dancing between those realms where the expression of God is made visible through our words and gestures, through love, compassion, and understanding. It’s how I know freedom, and it’s how I need to be for you to know freedom. I needed to recognize this, and claim this as good, to demonstrate the freedom Fillmore talks about.
The Sufi tradition says, “Where the two seas meet is where the true secret of our existence is revealed.” Where the oceans meet, where those two worlds are joined, that’s where our true existence lies, that’s where our true purpose, our true calling is expressed, where we see God made manifest. I am that avenue for seeing both worlds. I am the avenue for bringing the angelic realm here into physical form – to bring forth the universe from within to without. And how well I connect with the divine realm and how I express it in physical form has everything to do with my ability to freely play and create my world here on earth. Herein lies my true freedom.
Yet sometimes I get stuck in my experiences of pain, sadness, despair, loneliness or anger. As though the physical appearance seems to be a paradox, or might not fall into my traditional notion of good or right, and inside I am screaming, “Let me out!” It’s like I am standing knee-deep in a river looking for water. I can’t see my freedom, even though I am fully immersed in it. I have forgotten that my call is to be in the now moment, where my outer eyes can close, the veil can be lifted and freedom – in all its forms – can emerge.
My freedom, and therefore OUR freedom, lies in choosing to follow that thread of my human experience all the way through to the other side, and respond to the aliveness that lies beyond, which is the Divine. Life is always this tension between being and becoming, that dance I mentioned earlier. Becoming is the uncovering of our error thinking and following the trail long enough through twists and turns to come to the light, the origin of my soul. Being is making God visible through my own humanity, living from that spot of grace once uncovered. This is freedom.
Through my innocence and courage I close my eyes, and I begin to move between worlds… I begin that divine dance where the two seas meet. It’s the place for polishing the mirror of my awareness remembering that where I am is exactly where I belong, that the purest of all moments, which is right here, right now, is the doorway to freedom. How do you need to be for me to know freedom?