By Donald L Hughes, Aug 2019
We hear a lot about freedoms lately. There are many forums and a lot of discussion about what our rights and freedoms should or should not include. Our Constitution is under constant scrutiny and debate, and everyone seems to have an opinion about who and what should be accepted and free. But freedom, whether individual or collective, does not come from any third-party “giver”, and is not something that can be given by a governing body, an act of Congress, a sympathetic over-lord or a religious leader. Freedom is something that comes from the individual seeking it. It comes from a commitment to a way of living that frees one from all of the previous listed “givers”. It is a way of living so that one does not rely on another for granted freedoms, creating an existence that is truly free, but it is also a way of living that requires constant effort, focus and dedication. It is life we create for ourselves, what no one can give or take away, because it is a way of personal living, personal choices made each and every moment of every day, and taking responsibility for our actions. Like creating anything tangible, it requires planning, vision, and assembly. Our dedication to a wonderful life of freedom should be no less of an effort than building any thing: the plans should be drawn up and the tools assembled and vision supplied until a finished product is created. Here are the plans and tools that require individual freedom; the vision needs to be supplied on your own:
• Embrace this day with an enthusiastic welcome, no matter how it looks. Realize that nothing is impossible today.
• When you are physically sick, tired, or in despair, steer your thoughts away from yourself and direct them, in gratitude and love, toward God or service to someone else.
• In your life there have to be challenges. They will either bring you closer to God and make you stronger, or they can destroy you. But you make the decision which road to take.
• Don’t let anything distract you from being aware that you are a Child of God.
• Put all of your frustrations, hurt feelings, and grumblings into the perspective that you are and eternal soul, that “all things shall pass” and are temporary. You are not.
• You are not perfect, and neither is anyone else. Look for ways to improve yourself each day.
• Pray. God knows better than you what you need. He always attempts to speak to you. Unclutter your life and mind so you can hear what is being said, listen and follow the promptings. Everything will fall into place.
• Make fear your worst enemy; rise above worrying about things beyond your control, what may or may not happen tomorrow, and don’t let fear prevent you from growing.
• When you cannot love someone, look into their eyes long enough to find the hidden rudiments of the child of God in them. It’s there, no matter how hidden or hardened.
• Never judge anyone. When you accept this, you will be freed.
• If someone hurts you, forgive and you will be free again.
• Avoid at all costs any pessimistic, negative, or criticizing thoughts.
• Avoid rush and haste and uncontrolled words or actions. Divine light develops in peace and quiet.
• Whatever your task is, do it with all your heart, might mind and strength. In thoroughness is satisfaction.
To live a life that is truly free, free of the bondage of addictions, free from the burden of guilt and remorse, free from worry and frustration, free of anger and sorrow, free from others expectations and free from fear all require action from us, not someone else. How we choose to greet, handle and live each moment of each day is directly proportionate to the amount of freedom we enjoy.