For every creature on this planet, from an ant to a whale, from a monkey to a human, freedom is a basic need of life. We all want to experience absolute freedom, we want to be limitless, boundaryless, and everlasting. But as of now, though freedom is the most valuable aspect of our lives, we are kinda entrapped in an invisible prison, created by none other than our not so clever selves.
The prison of ideologies, beliefs, society, past, and future, and whatnot. And this kind of prison is particularly terrifying and daunting because this is a mental prison. We can spend our whole lives entrapped in this prison without even knowing that we are prisoners in the first place. Now, ain’t that horrifying and absolutely gut-wrenching?
If one puts an animal in a real cage, or even a human for that matter, then at least he knows that he gotta do something or the other to free himself. But in today’s scenario, we think we are already free when actually we might be totally oblivious to the fact that maybe we are not.
The concept of freedom is an illusion for most of us, either they don’t think that they can be free from this circus or live under the misguided impression of so-called ‘absolute freedom’. Even if we break out from a cage, we just enter into a bigger cage and think that we are finally free. When we achieve freedom from something, most of the time it is merely the entry gate to an even bigger prison, and we call that extra space ‘absolute freedom’. Well, a cage is a cage, no matter how big. Freedom is either absolute or none.
So, real freedom can only come from the freedom of the mind. When our mind is free from all the limitations, the underlying situation, the right, and wrong, only then can we experience ‘Absolute Freedom’.
Give it a Rest
Perhaps the biggest reason we kinda stay entrapped in our own minds is that we think we need to keep on doing something or the other, either physically or mentally, all day long. When was the last time you sat for 30min in a state where you were just there, not doing or thinking about anything? Probably never! And I don’t blame you.
The kind of prison we are in, we feel it’s our obligation to keep on doing something or the other. Even after spending the whole day in the office, we may sometimes think about work at home too. We don’t know how to make it stop. Or, the more common scenario is where we keep on thinking about some past incident that happened to us, losing sight of what’s happening in the present.
If you are doing something, then you don’t have to partially or quarterly indulge in it, you gotta give it everything you have. Either be all in or fold. You gotta know how to operate in both extremes in order to maintain a balance in life. Just knowing how to run isn’t enough. One needs to know how to stop as well, otherwise, things will get out of hand. People in today’s world are amazing runners, they keep on running their entire lives without knowing how to stop and take a rest.
Imagine a businessman, who keeps on thinking about the business day in and day out, even when he’s with his family, then what’s gonna happen to such a guy? He may succeed in business but will fail in the game of life.
In order to be absolutely free, we have to be competent in both arenas, otherwise, things will get out of hand. It’s exactly someone who knows how to be awake but doesn’t know how to sleep. I don’t think I would have to tell you the consequences of that now, do I? Now, just sleeping all the time isn’t the smart thing to do too, goes without saying. One gotta maintain a balance between the two to experience absolute freedom.
Freedom from Materialism
Money is perhaps the only fictional story we all believe in, right from Jeff Bezos to a minimum wage worker, from a terrorist to a President. People’s lives start from thinking about money and end with money. And since 7 billion people consider money to be the most important thing in their life, they become a prisoner of money. Money makes them do things that they can’t even imagine doing.
Our human mind has been so rigorously and scrupulously conditioned right from our childhood that money is the most important thing and nothing else matters, that it becomes almost next to impossible to think about something else.
Sure, money is important for survival and to live a comfortable life, and to provide for your family, but is it worth giving up your mental peace, your values, your morals, your character, your freedom? I don’t think so. And the fun part is that we ourselves, knowingly or unknowingly, have given money the authority to entangle us in a web so complex that one is bound to succumb to it. The whole education system is indirectly advocating about money, money, and money all the time.
Instead of making education fun, knowledgeable, and interesting, their main aim is to make students into good employees to earn money. All you have to do to break this conditioning is to simply see and understand what’s going on. Give money the importance it deserves, no more no less. It’s only as important as the food you eat, or the gas you used to refill your vehicle with. You don’t live to eat or to refill your vehicle. Similarly, you don’t have to live for money. Money is simply a medium, not the end goal.
The Right Desire
Now, some people get confused when I convey this. They say on one hand I am telling you to have these big ass desires, and become successful and all, and on the other hand I am saying don’t go apeshit over money. So, which one is it?
Well, you gotta pay close attention to what kind of desire one should have and the kind of desires one should avoid. One also needs to amend one’s definition of success. The right kind of desire lets us experience the absolute freedom I was talking about, and the wrong kind of desire entraps us in a rabbit hole. The right kind of desire—becoming strong from the inside, becoming better, smarter, and sharper from the inside, working on your personality and communication skills, to widen your potential and expand your horizon, make yourself a better human in all areas of life—will make you free from all the leashes and chains that might be holding you back.
Wrong kinds of desires—accumulating and going crazy to earn more and more wealth, name, fame, materialistic commodities through your work—will screw your life and make you a prisoner of the prison you helped create in the first place.
Successful people know the difference between the two desires and needless to say, they choose the right one, which is what makes them successful in the first place, while unsuccessful people struggle to choose the right ones. The desire of choosing a shortcut instead of making yourself better is what’s holding you back from flying high in the sky like you were meant to but instead you are leashed and chained up to the ground with your own shallow thinking.
Many people indulge in these get rich quick schemes or other fraudulent and illegal activities to get by because after all, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea to work upon themselves, become better than yesterday, go through the trouble of acquiring knowledge, and elevating their intelligence—and ultimately will never experience the state of ‘Absolute Freedom’.
And the honest to God’s truth is that, if you are not strong from the inside, if you don’t want to work upon yourself then you are bound to get slapped on the face and fall down sooner than later. So, stop with the laziness already. Get rid of all these desires which involve having more of anything that’s external, and switch to those that involve growing more internally.
Now it doesn’t mean that you go and throw all the possessions and money you have down the gutter. All it means that you don’t have to get attached to it or crave them. Use these possessions to make yourself better instead of trying to extract gratification from them. It’s our very own hunger for self-gratification that’s beating the living shit of our lives.
Let me tell you a pretty fascinating tale of how monkeys are captured in the jungles of Africa, alive and unharmed.
What they do is that they take a heavy bottle, whose opening is just small enough for the monkey’s open hand to enter, and drop them on the jungle floors filled with sweet-smelling nuts. Now, when a monkey comes near the bottle and gets smitten by the aroma, it sticks its little hand inside the bottle to take the nuts out, because, well, they are greedy and that’s when they are trapped.
Since the bottle hole isn’t big enough for the monkey to take its closed fist out, that’s when the hunters barge in and find monkeys trying harder than ever to free themselves, but all in vain, and ultimately get captured.
You might be thinking that all this stupid monkey had to do was open his hand and let go of those nuts to be free, but his greed blindsided him. And before you go start laughing at the stupidness of monkeys, take a look in the mirror. Because in the jungle of your life, you are the monkey who’s trapped because you are not ready to let go of your “sweet-smelling” desires you have held onto so tenaciously. This is the wrong kind of desire that traps you and keeps you from experiencing ‘absolute freedom’.
Your own attachment to the prize is the building block of the prison you are in. The more strongly you are clinched to your erroneous desires, the harder it will be to come out of it.
Lose the Nuts Guys
Go ahead ask yourselves. What are your nuts that you are holding onto, so dearly that you are ready to sacrifice your life for it? Is it money? Your opinions? The beliefs? Ideas? Ideologies? Whatever it is, are they worthy of costing you your own freedom? The choice is yours, either you can keep your fist tight and close to hold onto these temporary things in return for your life, or you choose to let go of them and experience absolute freedom.
Getting rid of these futile and baseless desires doesn’t mean that you won’t do anything, or will sit idle, or get bored. A monkey in a jungle, who’s not trapped or bound by anything, do you think he is bored or has to meditate all the time to get by? Well, of course not. He is acting according to his basic nature—doing cartwheels, jumping from one branch to another, eating fruits, taking care of his family, pestering humans, and just having the time of his life. He will do anything and everything to express himself and there will be no stopping him.
On the other hand, the monkey who didn’t let go, who is now captured by a hunter, is made to do things against his basic nature. He is made to dance when he doesn’t want to, made to eat bananas, and show stunts when he doesn’t feel like doing it, but still, he is doing all of that just for those nuts that have snared him pretty badly.
Which monkey would you rather be? One who is absolutely free, and doing anything whenever and wherever he wants to, or the other one who’s made to do things against his wishes in exchange for nuts?
Make no mistake, the latter monkey is what most of us go through. The hunter here is the society, family, friends, your ancient beliefs, that are making you do things you don’t want to in exchange for some materialistic gains. A chain is a chain—whether you are chained with an iron chain, or with a golden chain, it’s ultimately a chain.
There are a ton of people who are super successful in the eyes of the world, but if someone asks them if they are actually happy, satisfied, sleep peacefully at night, have the freedom to do whatever they want to—you might be in for a surprise. If your goal is to be free, to be independent, to do what’s in your heart—then you surely will achieve it one day. Now, this doesn’t mean you formed a goal just because I said and expect to be free the very next moment. It’s a long way.
I don’t know how and when you will achieve it. But you gotta embark on this journey in order to reach the other side. You gotta imbibe this kind of thought process—to be Absolutely free from anything and everything—to reach this state one day.
When you can start thinking this way, then you will automatically stay away from toxic and jealous people, meaningless and bloodsucking relationships, and backstabbing and negative colleagues. You will start segregating your own outdated thinking that’s keeping you in a cage and was the reason for your past downfall.
When you can actually say from the inside, not for show, that “I don’t really want anything from anyone anymore, not even God” then that’s when you have reached the end goal.
Act out of love to experience Absolute Freedom, and not out of desires.