Freedom S

Mr. Nelson Mandela: ‘It is an ideal for which I hope to live for and to see realised. But, My Lord, if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.’  20 April 1964 from the dock of the defendant at the Rivonia Trial.

What would I be prepared to sacrifice for my freedom if it was in danger of being taken away from me? Freedom of speech? If this was silenced, would I stand up and be counted? Would I be prepared to die for it?  And, as a free person seeing others kept in slavery, would I stand up and fight for their release from their imposed shackles?

What is the shadow side of Freedom? Does my freedom come at the expense of others?

What is sacred to us?

Albert Schweitzer: ‘There also exists a sleeping sickness of the soul. Its most dangerous aspect is that one is unaware of its coming. That is why you have to be careful. You should realise that your soul suffers if you live superficially. People need times in which to concentrate, when they can search their inmost selves. It is tragic that most men have not achieved this feeling of self-awareness. And finally, when they hear the inner voice they do not want to listen anymore. They carry on as before so as not to be constantly reminded of what they have lost. But as for you, resolve to keep a quiet time … Then your soul can speak to you without being drowned out by the hustle and bustle of everyday life’.

Lisa B: (freedom means for me) the ability to choose not to suffer, no matter what the circumstances.

I thought long and hard about my friend’s view on what freedom means to her, and I couldn’t quite square it except for thinking she may have had the Buddha’s 8 fold Noble Truths in mind.

But as is known, suffering is a part of life. How we choose to respond to it, or look back on it, is a different question.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross: The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of those depths.

And what of our own shackles? Are our freedoms still limited by our conditioning, of family and institutions, that uphold one thing and practice another? is there a sense within that we can free ourselves from conditionings that no longer serve us?

Lizzie G: Freedom is being able to escape the shackles of our upbringing.

Moments of silence and sorrow for all victims of the Sri Lanka blasts.

Thank you for reading. I so appreciate your comments.

36 Comments on A to Z Freedom S

  1. I come up Short when comparing myself to those who sacrifice their freedom for others. I was better at that as a younger woman with my “warrior” husband at my side, but I take fewer risks now. No one is knocking down my doors or stealing my home or stopping me from speaking out (so far)–but I have to face that I don’t push hard against the horrors others face. Am I willing to risk my life or go to jail? Am I willing to give up even my health insurance or warm house? Since the 1960s, I haven’t had to face that question. I’m not sure where I stand, but fear we may have to figure that out. Yes, suffering is part of life and I face that in hospice work. I wonder about my moral stance on political issues. Thank you for the quotes and your reflections.

    • Thanks Elaine – I don’t know if it’s a more urgent question now. Does the younger generation feel the urgency? I think they or some do on issues such as climate change. And I honestly don’t know that I want to sacrifice what I’ve worked for and towards. Does this make me complicit in those who have less than? Even if I do what I can within my limitations eg protest, donate etc ..

  2. In order for non violence to work your opponent must have a conscience. ~ Stokely Carmichael.

    What’s happened in Sri Lanka and NZ is scary and utterly stupefying. People are being made to sacrifice their lives without their consent or knowledge.

    Thank you for this thought provoking series!

    • Thanks Nilanjana for coming by – I love that quote, may I use it for the tomorrow V post?

      You make a good point about lives lost without their consent or knowledge in the recent atrocities – so much happens to so many without their consent ..

    • Thanks Beth – I must broaden my awareness of this particular way of experiencing the world ie suffering as a self-imposed shackle. You’re saying that it is a conscious response? A choice to suffer?

  3. You’ve read the Buddhist philosophy?

    “You should realise that your soul suffers if you live superficially.” This line connected so deeply.

    I think I have to agree with Lizzie G.’s definition. Freedom is when we are able to break-through our childhood and societal conditioning, and ACTUALLY think for ourselves, independently.

    This is one of your most thought-provoking post in the series so far, Susan. I actually read it twice. Had to stop in between several times, to give my thoughts adequate acknowledgement.

    Find my T post @ 10 Interesting Truths About Bloggers

    • Yes I have Kaddu and it speaks in many valuable ways to me. I like the idea of The Buddha, having reached enlightenment under the Bo Tree, elected to return to the world to teach instead of staying in Nirvana ..

      Thank you for your lovely response … I’ll alert Lizzie of it. (none of my friends from whom I requested their personal thoughts of freedom and who happily gave them are followers of my blog!)

  4. Another shameful tragedy in Sri Lanka. Will we ever be free? So much to ponder in your wonderful post, Susan.

  5. The references to the Sri Lanka bombings and other earth-shattering events remind us that we live in a fallen world. Thanks God for hope, and for the breaking of shackles!

  6. Shadow sides always demand much of us in their consideration, and freedom is such a demanding topic as well. You’re giving my brain (and heart) a workout every day with this series Susan. But I think we all welcome it, as it is grievous to think how easily we fall prey to the “sleeping sickness of the soul.”

    • Thanks Deborah, it’s been a workout for me as well – 🙂 And hard to keep it short-ish. ‘U’ tomorrow … I have no clear idea of what to write for this post!

  7. A most thought provoking post, Susan. Suffering is a part of life, I agree with you. That is why you have to grab the good moments and make the most of people while they are still in your life.

  8. “What’s is the shadow side of Freedom?” That’s such a great question Susan as it turns the lens around and looks at how we imprison ourselves and how we are imprisoned by others. Oh to be free of “suffering” and yet without it we would never stretch or grow in our lives! So suffering seems to be of great importance and I think this is why I have always loved the deep, karmic truth of the Easter story that at times in our lives a part of us must die, in order for another part of us to live.

    As an INFP, (typology) dominant feeling type “superficiality” is definitely my shadow side and explains to me why I consciously struggle with social media so much. I hope your weekend was truly wonderful! Love and light, Deborah.

    • I guess we have to ask what is the shadow side of anything that appears as a noble ideal Deborah? Thank you for putting your lens on this – we do imprison ourselves and others, knowingly or not … reminds me of Anne Frank: ‘If only I could be myself’. (warts and all, my addition).

      Death to the old, birth to the new – though sometimes I wonder whether the ‘old’ as in being renewed eg deep values and truths, as in e.g. the Easter story, would serve us well.

      Yes, the weekend was wonderful. A lovely lunch and walk yesterday with 2 dear friends and dog with the gorgeous autumnal trees on fire, was so special. And rain all day today!

      Love and light to you too Deborah and I hope this weekend was one of renewal for you. Susan

  9. Ooooh you’ve got me thinking hard now.
    The shadow side of freedom.
    Your friend’s words about choosing not to suffer.

    My mind is whirling. I found freedom from suffering in Buddhism when I learned that everybody suffers. It freed me from thinking there was something wrong with me. I still suffer though. I just don’t suffer from my feelings about suffering. Now it’s from the suffering itself. Until I work it out… and then it’s less or gone.I suspect there are going to be things I may be unable to work out as time goes on though…there goes my whirling brain again! Ha ha. Great post! <3

    • What a realisation to come to Lael-Heart i.e. that everyone suffers in small or large measure. It brings depth to the soul and it helps to know that one is not alone in this. Thank you for your comment.

  10. Sadly, I think the world is ruled by superficial thinking and life. Supposedly this is what life is supposed to look like, and my thought is that the world is SAD. We have given up our freedom and are shackled to a sad form of life. Do we even know it?

    • Do we ever know it? – it’s a good question Gwynn, thank you. Never forget the small things that bring joy and comfort ..

  11. I am not sure we are not all shackled and unaware of it. Can we ever be completely aware or would that hurt too much and could we stand our soul?

  12. “A sleeping sickness of the soul”. That line really grabbed me. Our souls do suffer when we live superficially…but we often do not realize this until we are sadly well-entrenched.

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