This week marks another anniversary for our country’s freedom – Independence Day. Each year we celebrate as neighbors, communities and a country as a whole the freedoms we have living here in the United States.
I certainly appreciate living here. I recognize that we do experience rights here that are not the general rights in all places on the planet. That people here tend to live a higher standard than many people in some other countries and that I have a lot of choice in my life. I appreciate that I can vote and that I can speak relatively freely about my beliefs and values and that I feel pretty safe. Not everyone is our country can say that though, and I recognize that too.
I don’t believe however that we are independent or that as a nation, we are actually free. We are all dependent. Each individual has some amount of autonomy but even that has limitations. We are all dependent on one another, on our environments, on our governments and on people and governments far outside of the US. There is no way around that and I can’t see a scenario where having it otherwise would create a better world for any of us. I think for that to happen we should begin to celebrate our connections and recognize how reliant we are on one another.
On a personal level we are not independent either. Independence means “to self govern and to have sovereignty over a territory”. Each of us certainly has some ability to self-govern of course, but we have a structure within which we do that and certain boundaries that contain our rights. Some may believe they have sovereignty, supreme power and authority, over the territory of their lives but I see and hear more talk as if they have little or no control. Both perspectives, I believe, are illusion.
We all have choice. The most important choice we have is our attitude and our perspective on what our lives are offering us in each moment. We, none of us, are in control of what those offerings are or will be.
True, we will make certain efforts that will help lead us to opportunities. We may work hard to create particular circumstances. We develop beliefs and values over the course of our lives that contribute to the way we see things. We will celebrate our accomplishments and successes. We will also find ourselves in situations and have no idea how we got there. We will wonder often about the future and whether our dreams are achievable; we will be fearful that our stories about what might be will actually come true.
So, we are not independent. Can we be free?
Not if freedom means having just what we want in the timing and way we want it. But absolutely if we create the space within ourselves to be present, satisfied and even grateful for what is.
I would like, this year, to suggest that perhaps celebrating our “inner-dependence” could be of value. Taking time to be with oneself and really develop self-awareness and understanding helps to create the field within which true freedom may be experienced. Going inside to cultivate a connection with one’s own heart, leads to a deep appreciation for the myriad connections between oneself and all of life. In this we may find both an acceptance and a sense of awe at how we are not only not in control, but that we have such a limited perspective in any moment that to be so would never allow us to see, much less potentiate, many of the amazing possibilities that are available to us.
So here is to inner-dependence and connecting to the true heart of life and through that heart to your connection to All.