My wife and I were discussing the idea of freedom, and she thinks there’s really no such thing as freedom. I guess you could say that freedom is an “ideal” but in reality we are bound by so many things… like, obligations to loved ones, friends, family, work, etc.
And while I feel it’s true that we are bound to many things in life… like, having to go to school to educate ourselves, having to work for a living, to sweat and toil… I believe that everyone longs to be free or at least to feel free.
In Buddhism, life is suffering and the only true freedom is to become enlightened. That is the whole essence of enlightenment and achieving a state of nirvana, because we are bound to suffering and many things that prevent us from totally becoming free.
Money could be a source of freedom, to be able to accomplish and do things, to travel, etc. But in the end we are not free from sickness and death. And for the most part there are always obstacles in our journey through life.
Which leads me to the whole concept of meditation…
In essence, meditation is the act of sitting quietly, and still, to focus inwardly and to find the insight to go beyond our physical, mental and spiritual constraints. In meditation one can achieve a sense of freedom by taking the time to disassociate from external events and by concentrating on the freedom within. One might argue just how meditation can be freedom if you are bound to sit and remain quiet, closing your eyes and listening to your breath. Well, I feel that the inner peace that can be achieved is that sense of freedom we are longing for. Freedom is a feeling and meditation is a good way to begin feeling free, and to be free momentarily from our day-to-day obligations, burdens, responsibilities, etc.
Meditation is only a temporary freedom but with long lasting effects. Because the mind’s perception develops and changes during meditation, and carries over into our day-to-day existence.
In a way, life itself CAN be meditation. Walking can be meditation. Work can be meditation. The idea is to control the senses and to see things beyond our physical and emotional attachments.
For me, music is meditation. Freedom. When I am feeling good and playing well, I feel I am achieving a sense of freedom by virtue of the joy of music. Music, whether you are listening to it or performing it, IS a sense of freedom.
It truly depends on what your notion of freedom is, actually. But, if we clear our minds of previous ways we perceive the world, I feel we can actually achieve a sense of freedom, simply because we have trained our minds to be free.
So, do you believe in freedom? Do you believe freedom is an ideal that we strive toward? Or, do you believe that in reality there is no such thing as freedom?