Freedom is, yes, freedom from tyranny. Happy 4th! But we don’t celebrate our freedom or its meaning, but our ability to take an extra day off of work and eat hot dogs and hamburgers and drink beers and get the family together.
How many colors of tyranny are there? Countless. Can we stop it? We can? Do we try to? No.
How many tyrannies we visit on ourselves every day in our mental cruelty to ourselves, our perfectionisms, our screams of pain deep within ourselves that we push so far down we don’t hear them until we are sick, or despairing, or nearly finished. Freedom from that tyranny would be freedom of a truly transformational scale.
The tyranny of choosing to live in pain, day after day, instead of breaking out of our self-assigned “norms”. The tyranny of choosing not to share our authenticity, our vulnerability, our deepest realizations of joy and our most intense moments of pain, which only keeps us separated and in grinding solitude.
The mind’s tyranny — for women — our deep, brainwashed mode of punishing ourselves on someone else’s behalf for not being cute enough, young or old enough, thin or thick enough, white enough or light enough. Basing our worthiness on whether we are f***able enough; withholding love from ourselves because we are too human and not enough like Hollywood’s dream of perfection which has been drilled so far into our brains that we have forgotten that we can, in fact, throw it up. These messages of our place in life that have been so trained into us that we have ingested and taken over the job of the brainwasher for them. That’s a tyranny.
The tyranny of work systems that say that there is an “above” and a “below” and that those above are more important and worthier of more money and more respect, and that those below are dispensable, disposable. That’s a tyranny.
The tyranny of a world that says it’s just fine to sell children and young men and women into sexual slavery, while we pretend that it isn’t happening, and we don’t even hold the abusers and the victims in our hearts and pray their healing.
The tyranny of fascism, of sexism, of practicing the dismissal of the finest parts of our humanity: empathy, discernment, self-analysis, personal growth, spiritual development…a tyranny we think we escape by not subscribing, but we are so wrong. Every time we sidestep the truth of how much we hurt, and how much we hurt ourselves with our self-dissatisfaction, fascism, sexism, racism are alive and well within us.
The tyranny of saying we are “only human” — only!!! — when to be human is, in fact, to be the actual birthplace of Spirit’s awareness of itself. Human: absolutely without boundaries, and able to be the birthplace of endless creations. Where do you think the internet came from, and light bulbs, and fine art, and suffering? From the human! We are limitless. And yet we call ourselves “only” human, as though we can only fail. That is a tyranny born of religious “isms”.
And the tyranny of spiritual “isms” too: God never gives you more than you can handle. (If this were true on its face, no one would ever commit suicide) Trust your heart. (If I could hear it/trust it/know what you mean, I would.)
What someone understands at one point in her life, she completely misses in another, because she is supposed to miss it at that point — being not a machine part but a beautiful human plant of endless growth!
And our insistence on supporting these and other tyranniesb y believing in their immutability is tyranny itself!
What is freedom, then? Challenging them? In us. In our, and others’, words, actions and misaligned, cruel, ignorant deeds.
Challenging the tyranny of all that holds us from being who we truly are: that’s freedom. That. Is freedom. Speaking up in a room full of men who hold our female career in frightened and dominating hands. That’s freedom. It’s not a freedom that guarantees security, but it’s the kind of freedom that requires more courage and more grit than shooting a gun in a war because it requires decades of commitment to something that the world doesn’t actually want: Freedom.
Freedom to be. Freedom to do. Freedom to say. Freedom to care. Freedom to have community. Freedom to live in a world of all kinds of people, different kinds of things that you don’t understand, that she doesn’t understand, that maybe no one understand, but it doesn’t matter because we’re all in the same boat together.
Freedom that comes from discernment, thinking for oneself instead of listening to Fox Newsless and would-be dictators and regurgitating whatever stokes the fire of fear and hysteria.
Freedom is an injunction, a demand, a rigorous practice, a conflagration of all that is “normal”, a call from the deepest part of one’s self to be THAT, and not the social niceties we clothe ourselves in to “get through” a life that we will not, in fact, get through because life is not in fact endless. So be here while we’re here: that is freedom. Freedom from our fear, long enough to actually live while we’re alive.
Freedom to create our own lives — not by destroying others’, but by creating vaster and vaster energetic and emotional and perspective-expanding spaces of allowing, of receiving, for all of us — then we are free. Until then, we are too satisfied with too little.
Freedom is not a July 4th Picnic.