B: Freedom: Body and Bondage

‘But freedom, liberty, is an attribute of the soul and it may exist even when the body is in bondage‘. Ralph Adams1863-1942 American architect.

If I think of an individual I immediately think of Helen Keller and wonder about her ability to rise above her disability. Her own attribute of freedom of soul surely played the largest part –

‘We are bound to our bodies like an oyster to its shell’. Plato, Phaedrus

How many of us feel freedom in our bodies, that which we’ve been given, and grown into. Or do we feel betrayed?  Susan E. Schwartz writes (in our co-authored book) in a  chapter on Body, ‘Rather than mere denial or avoidance, our bodies are the palettes on which we express. Our bodies keep us in this world, defining who we are. Daily the body calls. How we choose to answer remains the question’. Which make me wonder how in bondage we are or slaves to the prevailing whims of fashion and beauty –

Mr. Nelson Mandela: ‘Liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination’. 

Arthur Penrhyn Stanley: ‘Christ pitied because He loved, because He saw through all the wretchedness, and darkness, and bondage of evil; that there was in every human soul a possibility of repentance, of restoration; a germ of good, which, however stifled and overlaid, yet was capable of recovery, of health, of freedom, of perfection’.

The lotus is in bondage to the mud until such time as it flowers into its open beauty.

Margot L: Freedom is to have the lightness of feet and fullness of heart to go merrily into the world, dancing to your own rhythm

    Thank you for reading – do add your comments, I love to read them –

28 Comments on Freedom of Body, Bondage

  1. I find its best to be a body with a soul than a body without a soul. Pray for souls, as we can be in a Church that is a ‘body’ but has no soul etc, where I have beeen, as immigrant, no command of language etc

  2. So beautiful, Susan. I love that you included something from your book with Susan Schwartz. I’ll add I’m forever grateful to Marion Woodman for her powerful work connecting soul and body.

  3. I continued to follow-up this body question and coming from an adverse childhood environment where attachment i struggle connected with fear and there is no fear in love so the two cannot coexist together. The battle i found when lost love is one where i turned to my own awesomeness as this was the inappropriate abuse as an infant. However i continue to break away from that learnt attachment and pray my wife will also move away from her body concerns and to deal with these backstage problems that we do not show in our Christian pilgrimage and determine to win back soul etc. bless A

    • A task ahead of you Anthony for which I wish you well .. body concerns are a real issue for many of us, some concerns are greater than others because of past issues.

  4. Love the line about being bound to our bodies like an oyster to a shell, Susan. It is part of what defines us, yet we are always at war with our bodies – too fat, too thin, too hairy, not enough hair, and on. I often think how much easier it would be if we were all just spirits but where would the fun, and the learning, be in that!😘❤️

  5. What an interesting image of the lotus being in bondage to the mud. I’ll be carrying that around for consideration today. Over the last year I’ve thought a great deal about what it means to be embodied fully, and in what ways we ourselves keep ourselves in bondage. Very interesting post Susan.

    • My understanding is that the lotus needs and thrives in the mud – strange though that is! I have struggled forever with being fully embodied – even though I know (intellectually) how important this is I don’t put my ‘knowledge’ into practice. Thank you for coming by Deborah.

  6. Hi susan…I have not read your co-author book. Have just completed a 22k autobiography of my father and feel have a book in me if not more if i could escape somewhere out of my body experience you mention and feel mine more like Paul – “a thorn in my side”. I love the lotus picture and quote and feel being a Christian, well read, i.e. Social Science, Trained Psychiatric Nursing for diabled but not practiced as did not like administering drugs as had a mother sick form infanthood (institutionalised) where experienced a adverse childhood environment and abuse etc. As the vine can loose its branches and still contine, I pray that that thorn/branch will reach the muddy waters and be set back on the vine I feel am part of. Bless Jungian reader

    • I like the metaphors you use Anthony thank you for them. Good that you are writing your biography of your father and no doubt there is autobiographical material as well. Your childhood and circumstances without a mother sounds painful and writing about it will hopefully release the thorn in your side, release you from the muddy waters and pull you back to the vine.

    • It’s hard to imagine being captured and not having the freedom to move as one wishes – or being enslaved by eg pain or dysmorphia or one’s conditioning – thanks Susan for coming by –

  7. So many great quotes yet the mention of the great Helen Keller and my ears pricked up. For the day when Helen first learnt the alphabet from her beloved teacher Anne Sullivan was what she described evermore as her “soul’s birthday”… a fact I remembered and resonated with deeply when I also first saw the whole of the alphabet A to Z! And here I am today responding to the letter B! Love and light, Deborah

    • B for birthday and it seems as if it was a birth day for you too Deborah! I didn’t know that Hellen Keller regarded her learning of the alphabet as her soul’s birthday so thank you for that! Bully for you 🙂 – is that expression still used? Meant only in it’s old fashioned sense of course. Love and light to you too thank you, Susan

  8. This is a fabulous post, as I love the quotes. I am chuckling as right now my body is in pain, so I’m definitely in Bondage. I’m definitely looking forward to being FREE from the pain of my aging body so I can joyfully walk the waterfront of Poulsbo. Then I can BLOOM!! Have fun with the Challenge!

    • Freedom from pain – I remember a few experiences of my finally being free from pain Gwynn. It’s so debilitating so my sympathies are with you. The day will come when you WILL bloom and walk joyfully once again 🙂

  9. I have a magnetic sticker on my refrigerator: No mud, no lotus. Thank you for your many wise quotes and for the reminder of the restoration available through Christ, very appropriate at this Lenten season.

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