Here is the thing:
I want to write a cool and fancy article about absolute freedom. I want to lead in with a great story, capture your attention and carry you all the way through my writing. I am thinking hard to make this article great and thus block myself.
Just like thinking about freedom blocks you from seeing the freedom you have.
I am sitting in Boca Raton at Barnes & Nobles.
I have been living abroad for 1,000+ days now. I lived in China, South Africa, Mexico, the Czech Republic and three times in the United States.
What am I looking for?
I was always looking for freedom. When I first got into personal growth, I wrote the word “Freedom” in bold-red letters above all else on my whiteboard.
So here is all I know about freedom:
When you say you want freedom, a great question to ask yourself is:
Freedom from what?
After all those days of living abroad, writing, partying, trying drugs, dating women, I’d say the only freedom you can ever have is freedom from your own mind. That is all you can ever strive for. It is attainable any second. Right here and now… and it is scary.
I have been laying under palm trees at the Caribbean ocean, being completely caught up in thoughts. I seemed free on the outside, yet on the inside, I enslaved myself to my own mind. I was not free from my own thoughts. I was caught in my own story.
I am going to repeat myself: The only freedom you can ever have is freedom from your own mind and your own story. Right here. Right now. No matter where you are.
For a long time I thought that my freedom is dependent on where I am. I came to realize that no place in the world can make me more free. I make me free. I am jailor and jailed in the man-made prison called mind. No sunset on Hawaii can set me free.
So, who is holding you in chains? Why are you not free?
It is just your mind.
Your mind, just like mine, is the place where the concept of freedom lives. Your mind sets up your rules for when it thinks you are free. All bullcrap. It is a game of hide-and-seek.
Reality does not know such a thing as freedom.
There is just what there is.
You could be in jail right now and be free from your mind. Accepting what is. Being present. Detached from your story.
You could be in Mexico right now and be stuck in your mind. Fighting reality. Not being present. Attached to your future plans.
I have been there… Many times over.
Where you are has very little to do with freedom.
What you are doing has very little to do with your freedom.
It is the story you are telling yourself. The game you play with yourself.
I am not a huge fan of the word awareness. To me it sounds like a “big deal”. Something that needs long and diligent practice. I am going to use it anyways…
You are free right now. You were born free. Become aware of this by listening to the stories you tell yourself. Become aware of your thoughts. You can do this now. You don’t need to become a Buddhist. Just sit a little bit in silence and watch your thoughts.
I used to tell myself stories all the time…
When I was in Germany, I wanted to be in Los Angeles. When I was in Los Angeles, I wanted to be in Germany. When I was at a club, I wanted to be at home. When I was at home, I wanted to be at a club. Get the idea?
I played the same games I played with my parents. I turned them inwards. I always tried to get away from present-moment experience… looking for freedom.
So, let me sum this up.
Freedom is not to be found inside of your story…
Freedom is what awaits behind your story. Once you learn to see through your own thoughts and come to ground yourself in this very moment, you are what?
You are free…
P.S. I still get caught up in my story. I still notice thoughts about wanting to be somewhere else. Sometimes I still believe them. I gradually let them go by just noticing them and report them to friends.
Being in Prague would surely be cool now…