How free are you?15th May 2021
Nando’s eyes lit up. You can see the sparkle in them as he grins mischievously. There is a lightness to his steps. He jumps in the air and twists in glee. His sharp bark is filled with joy. He runs from corner to corner at times. If you saw him, you would not have realise he was in a kennel block. He has been there for the past six months waiting for a home. The life in him could not be quenched despite being behind bars. His spirit is free.
Norman plods on. There is no life in his eyes. He is tired. He had been tired for a long time now. He thought of his debts, his broken relationships, his failures, and seemingly never-ending disappointments. If you saw him, you would feel sorry for him. There seemed to be a void of overwhelming vacuum around him, lacking vitality and energy. He is free to do whatever he wants and yet, he feels constrained with stress and sadness.
In your daily life, do you get to choose what you do? Have you got a choice in your life? What work do you do? What activities take up your precious never-to-be-repeated time? Do you enjoy your time? Are you forced to do things with your time? Can you choose what you say? Or what you think? When we get older, supposedly, we get wiser. Is that true? I mean, surely with more experience, we will know more and make better choices. Is that reflected in real life? Is that reflected in your life?
Your mind is a powerful thing. Very simply, it can bring you the greatest joy and at the same time, present you with the deepest sorrow. It can allow you to feel like you are at the top of the world and also in the deepest crevice of despair. It can make you feel like you are the most loved and important person in the world and also, instill a sense of loneliness in you in the midst of your loved ones.
Do you have fears and worries gotten from experiences in the past? They have taught you to see things, to think and feel in a certain way. No matter how much time had passed and sometimes the present circumstances can be vastly different but you are still confined in your frame of mind, your paradigm. You are not able to see things differently. In those situations, you find yourself taking the same actions, having the same responses because you think in the same way resulting in the same outcomes. This further reinforces your paradigm that it will always be this way, whether it is true or not.
On the flip side, maybe you ‘saw the light’. You had a breakthrough in your thinking. You realise that your past is a place to learn from, not a place to be lived in. Your past is simply not your future. You realise that you are more than your thoughts and you are certainly not your past. You are more than what you look like, how you dress, your beliefs, your words, your deeds, and anything else the world (and yourself) see in and of you. You simply are. You understand that your future is still an unfinished canvas. You are still adding to it. You may even play with the possibility of creating a masterpiece on your canvas of life. After all, why not? You relish every moment you breathe because you know that life is beautiful and you are bathing in profound gratitude that you are alive. You get a chance to enjoy the abundance of the universe and play your part out in this extremely short existence in the cosmos. Even though you may appear to be confined to your body, your finances, your successes and failures, your daily undertakings, your past, and in your world, you are actually free.
Many people are stuck to the first example of feeling inadequate, carrying many fears that stop them from being more. It is not an accident. That is how our brain has been wired for centuries. It is programmed to seek out problems. It was extremely essential to do so to ensure survivability. Our ancestors, the caveman, had to possess a brain that watches out for danger, asking questions like, ‘Where is the saber-tooth tiger? When is the storm coming? Where can I start a fire safely? How should I hunt for food today or are we going to starve?’ Fast forward to the modern world, where the past dangers no longer exist, the brain is still searching for problems. The difference is the problems are no longer physiological but psychological. Thoughts and feelings of inadequacy, failure, unhealthy self-esteem, fear, self-doubt are examples of luxuries our ancestors did not and could not afford to have. There was no time nor a need for them.
If you understand that your brain is hardwired to look for problems (and get stressed while doing so), you will understand why you feel the way you do. Feeling good will not come naturally as it is deemed ‘unnatural’ by your ancient brain. Instead, you have to retrain your brain to seek happiness, understand fulfillment. Some people get it. For most, it simply would not come by naturally. There are too many distractions and superficial issues that are presented to the modern man and woman such that it is easier to default to the ancient brain to live life.
So, what exactly is the difference between the two outcomes above? What do you have to do to be free and not be in prison? Is there a magic pill to take? Or a special power to own? Maybe it is genetics? Or maybe it is who you surround yourself with? Have you considered that perhaps, it is just exercising free will? How free is your will? Are there people or circumstances in your life that prevent you from exercising free will? Perhaps, it is yourself that is holding you back.
Nando is free behind bars and Norman is trapped in the open. What do you need to do to be free?
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