The other day a colleague asked me, “So what does freedom mean to you?” And as a habit I was about to rattle off the answer but practicing my new habit of mindfulness I decided to ponder on the question asked. I realized it was a very profound question that was loaded with so many permutations and combinations.
So what does freedom look like? As we celebrate the 70th year of Indian Independence it should be about breaking the chains of poverty and striding forward with the millions of Indians in a new direction filled with hope.
The spirit of Independence is not just about waving the Indian flag it is about looking at the values this country is based upon. It is to continue imbibing those values in our day-to-day life. It is about recalling the sacrifices made by our ancestors so that we can breathe in free air. It is about gratitude for all those who continue to safeguard our borders.
But more than anything else I was thinking celebrating the political freedom of the country is rooted in me being able to understand and engage in what I call as individual freedom which I believe is the most sacred of all. But we at an unconscious level imprison ourselves and let go of our own freedom. We do that in innumerable ways that include being negative, not standing tall on our hallowed ground, not taking responsibility of our life, by not being disciplined, by letting someone else dictate their terms on us. And despite knowing that it is detrimental to our lives we continue to do that because we lack awareness of how it impacts our life.
Freedom is being unaffected by exterior factors. As long as we depend on others for our needs and wants we will never be free. The above statement can be very well misunderstood. Freedom is when we do not wait for others to tell us to do work properly. Freedom is when we do not crave the accolades, but do our work to the fullest of one’s potential. The lesser the extent to which we depend on the external world, more will be our freedom.
Freedom is all about choice making. It is about knowing and acknowledging the choices I make. For choosing the right one we just need to answer the following questions: (The questions must be asked to oneself in the same order)
- Will it harm anyone else? If yes, stop right here.
- Will it harm me? If yes, stop right here.
- Is it wastage of any resource? If yes, stop right here.
If answers to the above questions are no, then we must carry on the activity; as I am sure it will surely be a beneficial action.
So for me, freedom is getting rid of ignorance. It is about accepting my shortcomings; not succumbing to them is freedom. Getting up every time I fall is freedom. Not honking my car horn is freedom. Giving way to a pedestrian is freedom. Not littering the road is freedom for a freedom is nothing but making choices. And choosing the right ones is FREEDOM.
HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY.