Freedom and Growth
by Diane Linsley
After many years of spiritual study and personal growth work,
there is one thing I am sure of - that we are here to experience
freedom. Without freedom, there is no reason for having incarnated
Before continuing, I encourage you to watch this video with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., which discusses the serious situation that we are facing in the world with the evaporation of our personal freedoms. This will help you know what to expect in coming years and what you can do about it. I also recommend this article on psychological manipulation and how it destroys freedom and personal relationships.
Personal and Social Freedom
The individual is a microcosm of society. This means that the pattern of development of society mirrors that of an individual. The main difference is that society changes slowly compared to the individual, who is free to develop at his or her own pace.
Society is made of up individuals at different stages of cognitive development, which is why it is so conflicted. The gap between the most highly developed individuals and the most underdeveloped is huge, as you may have noticed. But no matter where you are in your own development, you are still affected by what is happening in society at large. The tactics being used to terrorize people right now are similar to the tactics that narcissists use to terrorize their victims, and the results are the same - fear, social withdrawal, depression and physical illness. As Maria Popova explains in this article, isolation is a classic technique used by totalitarian governments to seize power. Here's a quote from the article:
"Terror can rule absolutely only over men who are isolated against each other… Therefore, one of the primary concerns of all tyrannical government is to bring this isolation about. Isolation may be the beginning of terror; it certainly is its most fertile ground; it always is its result." ~Hannah Arendt
Our nervous systems are co-regulated by the people we are in close proximity to. Be aware of how your body reacts to other people. Surround yourself with people who help to calm your nervous system. Be a calming force in the lives of others.
Freedom and Values
Patrick Henry, who penned the famous words, "Give me liberty or give me death!" said the following:
"It is natural for men to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of the siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be a number of those who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it."
Once again, we are in a war for freedom. But this time, it's not another country that is the enemy - it's the agenda of the totalitarian technocrats. Times like this reveal people's true values.
How much do you value freedom? Do you value it more or less than safety, money, or social acceptance? Are you living in integrity with your highest values?
I recommend doing the Values Process to get clarity. Knowing your highest values can give you courage and strength to stand up for yourself.
Freedom and Relationships
People get into manipulative, controlling and codependent relationships when they don't understand freedom. You can try to be more assertive, but manipulative people will keep showing up in your life until you learn what the universe is trying to teach you.
John Stuart Mill said, "The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant. He cannot be rightfully compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinion of others, to do so would be wise, or even right....The only part of the conduct of anyone, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns him, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign."
When I was 45 years old, I changed everything in my life that wasn't working for me. I changed my career, home, friends and marriage - all in one year. Yeah, it was extreme. But all of these things were inseparably connected, and when one went (the marriage), they all had to go.
I'd been a prisoner in my own home since age 19 when I married someone who wouldn't allow me to drive a car, leave the house, or even speak to other human beings without his permission. After many years of meditation and personal growth work, I realized that I had to change my outer life to match my inner life. It wasn't enough to be enlightened on the inside while living as a prisoner on the outside. I stopped trying to change my husband (that never works), and I divorced him instead.
Suddenly, I was the object of disapproval by everyone who knew me. I'd broken the unspoken rule of society: You are not allowed to take control of your own life. We live in a sick, codependent society.
What right did anyone have to tell me I couldn't change my life? I was the one who chose to get married in the first place. Why couldn't I unchoose that decision when I saw how much it was damaging me?
The things I chose at age 19 didn't work for me at age 45. With increased awareness, I could now make better choices. So, why was everyone trying to stop me? Obviously, people thought that my life was their business. I soon got used to saying, "My life is none of your business."
Freedom begins when we stop worrying about what other people think of us. I often remind myself, "What other people think of me is none of my business."
Freedom is a Continuum
Freedom is not the same as agency. Every human being has agency - the ability to make a choice. But freedom exists on a continuum. Your level of freedom increases with your level of awareness. The more aware you are, the more choices you have. To better understand this concept, I suggest reading the article on Cognitive Development, looking at it through the lens of freedom. How does a person grow in freedom from the lowest through the highest stages? Here are some examples of increasing levels of freedom:
1. Impulsive: Doesn't think before acting.
2. Rule-oriented: Does what society expects. Can choose to follow or not follow rules.
3. Rational: Has a certain amount of self-awareness, which is used to make choices based on reason.
4. Individualistic: Values individuality and does what he believes is best for himself while respecting others and their individuality.
5. Self-Aware: Understands the psychological reasons for why he does certain things, but doesn't yet understand all of his karma.
6. Self-Transcendent: Understands his own karma and how others fit into the picture.
Advice from a Spirit Guide
During a memorable OBE, I asked a spirit guide what I was supposed to be doing at that time in my life. He replied, "You need to learn about freedom." His answer surprised me. I thought I already understood freedom. I spent many months thinking about freedom, and I had lots of realizations. Ultimately, I realized that even my spirit guides can't tell me what to do. I have to figure it out for myself because it's my responsibility. Several months after my OBE, I read the following in Luis Minero's Demystifyng the Out-of-Body Experience:
"Let us consider what would happen if we left the body and asked the helpers [spirit guides], "What is my existential program [life purpose]'?' Helpers do not and would not say what our existential program is because part of accomplishing it is figuring out what it is."
Minero continues, "Helpers want us to learn to make our own decisions and to be responsible for their results. Helpers do not want nor need us to follow them. Wanting or needing others to follow us is a sure sign of immaturity....They lead by example....Helpers do not force anything on us; they completely respect our free will....It is critical to realize that evolution comes from us, from within, by learning to evaluate what is best and carrying it out, not just following something somebody else said....However, if we do pose questions, helpers will not allow us to leave empty-handed. They will help us by providing information, perspectives, angles and ideas that we had not considered, so as for us to make the best possible decision."
A Mature Ego
As I explain in the article, Soul Development, we are here to mature the ego - not to destroy it and become mindless automatons, which would enable others to control us. To continue with our soul's development, we must have the courage to think for ourselves. You can't kill the ego, but you can transcend and transform it by becoming more aware. According to integral philosopher Ken Wilber, transcend means "transcend and include." It doesn't mean destroy.
Self-transcendence doesn't mean getting rid of the self. It means that your perspective and actions extend beyond your individual self to include all of humanity. Love your neighbor as yourself.
At the core of every good spiritual map is the goal of transcending the ego (not killing it) by helping it reach its full potential. Only a person with a strong sense of "I am" can act with awareness. My favorite process for developing a healthy ego is Voice Dialogue. Here's a video of Carl G. Jung describing his first experience of "I am" and explaining why individuality is imperative in a technological society. Jung was an early explorer of shadow material. Hal Stone, creator of Voice Dialogue, was a Jungian psychologist.
If your enlightenment doesn't include developing a healthy and mature ego, you will simply end up as an enlightened doormat.
Freedom and Enlightenment
Consider these verses from the Tao Te Ching, written in China almost 2600 years ago:
The more prohibitions there are,
the poorer people become.
The more weapons there are,
the darker things become.
The more cunning and cleverness there is,
the crazier things become.
The more laws there are,
the greater the number of scoundrels.
Therefore the sage says:
I take no action,
and people transform themselves.
I love tranquility,
and people naturally do what is right.
I don't interfere,
and people prosper on their own.
I have no desires,
and people return to simplicity.
Noah Rasheta, author of Secular Buddhism says, "What is enlightenment? It's freedom. Freedom from habitual reactivity. Freedom from chasing after the approval of others. Freedom from the fear of rejection. Freedom to appreciate what we have in the present moment. What more enlightenment could one ask for?" Here's a video by JP Sears, a talented comedian and life coach. It sums up what's at stake right now in a world where our basic human rights are being threatened. JP addresses this issue in his usual way of bringing humor to serious topics. Here's a video that explains mass psychosis and how people lose the ability to think logically. Now you know what it happening in the world and what you can do about it. Here's a speech by J.K. Rowling. This was given in 2008, but it is more relevant now, as she talks about her experiences working with people who had escaped from totalitarian countries.
Consider this quote by Vandana Shiva: "I don't think we have the luxury to be hopeless. Hope is something you must cultivate on a daily basis."
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