Happy 4th of July everyone, whatever that may mean to you on this friday. For me it means sitting in a coffee shop and finally updating my blog, in true freedom freestyle form. Freedom is a word, and what it implies varies from person to person even though we think that words generally mean the same thing for everyone. Well, they don’t. Words are symbols which point to an experience of reality, and we all know that each one of us has different interpretations of what reality is.
I was recently asked by Kevin Dowling what freedom meant to me. Instead of just responding immediately I gave myself time to feel out what it honestly means to me instead of just letting my mind spit out an answer. Actually, I don’t remember what I said, so I will do that again right now as my thoughts about this at this time have a different context.
I think freedom is choice. To choose your experience of reality (life), over choosing to feel you are a victim not only to others and external circumstances, but more importantly a victim to your own fears and judgements. Freedom to me is choosing how you feel, or how you react to what is happening in your own mental space, and the external space you feel is outside of you, but is directly affecting in ways you choose to let it.
I have been practicing various forms of meditation from simply watching the breath, to visualization, to a buddhist practice called Tonglen which all give various experiences and results. What they all have in common though in my experience, is that they show you how you react to your thoughts, how your thoughts affect you, and most importantly meditation shows you that observing your thoughts about what is happening inside and outside of you gives you freedom to react, or not react in any way you feel is right for you.
This freedom of choosing how I want to interact with reality by observing my thoughts about it, is what I have been slowly, patiently, and persistently been revealing to myself and allowing myself to see the truth of for many many years. Allowing myself the freedom to let go of beliefs and rules I impose on myself not only to allow myself to flow through life more easily, but to become aware of when I am infringing on that same freedom which belongs to others.
We have this symbiotic relationship with others where each of us reflects the other and we end up treating others how we treat ourselves, whether we are aware of it or not. How you interact with your internal/external reality is what CREATES your reality, so it can be very beneficial to observe these relationships you have with others. If you find yourself infringing on the freedom of others it is a direct indication of the ways in which you limit your own. This observing of what is happening outside of you is a beautiful tool to use in obtaining more experience of freedom in your own life.
Now that I think about it, freedom seems to be the central theme in one way or another in all movies, tv shows, music, art, and all life experience. Whether fighting bad guys in a movie, learning to ride a bike, or allowing yourself to simply draw or make music (something i often struggle with,) the choice to exercise freedom is always present, calling us to liberate ourselves from own own self imposed limitations, fears, and judgments.
It’s kinda funny how the theme of meditation and what it means to me continues to seep its way into all avenues of my life. I believe this is happening because everyday I am observing myself, my actions, and my emotions and learning to look at my life honestly with as much love and compassion as possible. This is something I am not used to doing as I have spent the majority of my life being extremely critical and judgmental of all aspects of myself, which I am discovering does not help me with experiencing the optimal life experience and flow I am driven to have.
Practicing compassion and love towards myself has not only allowed my life to flow better, but is also creating more freedom in my daily experiences that my life offers up. As I practice the observance and release of thought patterns that perpetuate suffering , I also find it easier to do the same for others and what they are doing in their lives, which in reality at a deeper level is just showing myself more compassion and love.
As I continue the practice of living this life as Robert Guerrero, I am beginning to believe that the only reason any of us are here is to learn what the experience of the words love, compassion, and forgiveness mean as well as how to embody these principles within ourselves, and have them for others. I feel as though I have JUST began to learn what these words truly mean, how to put them into practice, and how they fit into the bigger picture of why I am even driven to explore these words and their meanings in the first place. Although I am very new to this way of thinking or being (which is directly inspired by the book ‘The Tibetan Book on Living and Dying’ by Sogyal Rinpoche,) I can tell you from the little bit of experience I have had in exploring the meaning of love, compassion, and forgiveness, that I feel I have altered the course of my path in a very powerful and meaningful way.
SOOO… in the spirit of exploring freedom on this 4th of July, I would like to implore all those who have read this far to exercise your freedom of choice, and choose to show as much love and compassion to yourself as possible, and challenge yourself to have compassion and love for others, as all of us here on Earth are dealing with the same fears and judgments and truely are doing our best to enjoy this life with each other to the best of our abilities. Even if you can not physically do something for another, holding a space of love and compassion within yourself I am learning is a very powerful practice that can be very beneficial to your being. Give it a try.
Until the next Freedom entry, enjoy the day/night everyone. Happy 4th!