There are so many different kinds of freedoms that we may enjoy. Becoming conscious and distinguishing between the various freedoms can allow us to more completely exercise each freedom, and appreciate them all more thoroughly.
I read once that those who can read and choose not to, are no better off than those who are illiterate. Exercise your freedoms. Here are my 12 distinctions (and a bonus!):
I was born Muslim in Pakistan where 97% of the population is Muslim. Had I not immigrated to Canada, I would not have been exposed to so many other spiritual paths or new age understandings. When I visited Saudi Arabia for Umrah, I realized how significantly different daily life can be when a culture is dominated by one religious following.
2. Political Freedom
There is a wide spectrum of control that various governments exercise on their citizens. While some countries have obvious rigged elections, other countries boast about their democratic process. It is a great freedom to be able to, for example, create a new political party to initiate change. However, when mainstream media blatantly ignores all fringe parties, is there really political freedom?
Listening to gangster rap music as a teenager, I totally appreciated freedom of speech so that I could receive alternative perspectives. Self-expression -- especially in the context of art, education and humanity -- is a tremendous virtue a society can employ. But when we create free speech “zones”, we create a contradiction in terms, and manipulate the masses to be controlled in what they are able to say and who they are able to be.
From club meetings to live shows to amazing parties – I’ve certainly taken advantage of my freedom of assembly. When the G20 happened in Toronto, however, I made sure I was as far away as possible. Aware of the continued police corruption to use sound cannons and rubber bullets on innocent protesters, I knew I could support the awakening in other ways. There is no freedom of peaceful assembly when citizens are scared of their very own police and military who should be protecting them.
Ah, the freedom talked about most in personal development programs! At any moment, we can choose how to perceive/interpret our circumstance, and/or consciously shift our behavior. Lack of the other freedoms, however, may constrain or confine our ability to see choice.
6. Freedom of Mobility
I read about this in grade twelve law class when we were studying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It wasn’t until recently that I realized how significant this could be for some people. By changing our neighborhood or our geography, we can significantly alter the freedoms from the other categories. Sometimes career choices limit our mobility because their skill/knowledge is localized (e.g., lawyers, real-estate agents).
Historically, most people always had the same job. That’s where some surnames come from (Miller, Smith, Hunter, Weaver, Butcher, Tailor, etc.). Today, some of us can not only enjoy the freedom of choosing our career, we can choose several (simultaneously or contiguously)!
8. Financial Freedom
This is a freedom most people had until the industrial revolution where much of the population was indoctrinated into having jobs, and seeing commissions/sales as risky. On the contrary, being entrepreneurial, selling, and earning based on our direct efforts, is one of the most satisfying freedoms there is. It’s not opulent wealth, but an understanding of having passive income exceed lifestyle expenses. When this occurs, true time freedom is possible.
When the previous freedoms are handled, we can then be a true creator of anything we want in this reality. We do things we may never have otherwise done. We explore, we learn, we grow. The irony, however, is that too much time freedom can create boredom. This has happened to me on occasion, and it can cause people to do really crazy things simply for the sake of entertainment value.
We can become a master creator, but not master our own emotions. Anthony Robbins teaches that life is the science of achievement and the art of fulfillment. If we feel a disempowering emotion, could we let it go? Being free from grudges, regrets, attachments, and suffering, can create the most freeing life of all.
What is now will not always be. Understand that things do not need to be permanent in order for us to get value from them. For example, do not hold or expect any relationship to be eternal. This too shall pass. See situations and circumstances as temporary. Sometimes analyzing dreams or doing past-life regression allows us to cultivate this temporal freedom.
While I have not experienced this myself, I know it is available to me. It is an experience of meditation that transcends time-space. It is the ability to astral travel or cross-through parallel universes. It is the freedom our collective consciousness is currently activating in order to transform the challenges of our time and journey into the golden age.
13. Freedom to Share
Show and tell. Freedoms are not black-and-white, nor do they stay static in any particular time, geography, or person. Hold on to your freedoms! Sharing is the genesis of a co-creative process that expands life.
Let’s love the world together...
[)anish /|hmed, blind visionary