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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Setting Yourself Free

Finding inner freedom is a topic I've blogged about on numerous occasions here and it's a topic we can probably never finish reading about, or never read enough about, because it seems as though once we find freedom in one area of our lives, there are always more areas that require attention, or where we fall back into old habits.

But I believe that there is an underlying fundamental concept to this topic of setting yourself free that arises from taking responsibility for yourself. Ho-hum. Again, another topic I've blogged about a lot here. But you see, once you take that one single solitary decision in a very serious way: that you choose to become responsible for yourself in all ways that affect you: your thoughts, your feelings, your words, your actions and reactions, then everything else, that is to say, everything that happens on the outside must fall into one of those areas, and hence you take charge of it, and hence you become free of the feeling that your world and your circumstances dictate what goes on inside of you.

A simple example: a barking dog. One of your neighbours has a dog that barks a lot, sometimes for hours on end. Thankfully only during the daytime. But you work at home. Hence the dog's barks (and I know you love dogs, this has nothing to do with not being a dog lover) can drive you to distraction. Or anger. Or desperation. Or to a desire to exact some kind of revenge on your neighbour. You get the picture. So where does responsibility for the self come into the picture? In such a way that you set yourself free from the above thoughts and emotions and even potential actions? All of which are, by the way, reactions to the simple fact that the dog barks.

This is it: you determine to ignore the barking. This is a bit like those people we sometimes see in the cinema who live right by the L in Chicago, or in Kloten, the Zurich airport suburb, or who get traffic noise from below their apartment in Manhattan, or anywhere, where there is a lot of intermittent noise that can not be predicted. They generally don't make the concerted effort I'm suggesting in my dog example, because they tend to get used to the noise and only notice it when someone who is not normally there, mentions in surprise that they can't understand how someone living there can sleep, or live, or whatever. Now in our dog example, it requires - as said - determination. Determination to ignore the barking. Determination to not let your angry or frustrated or desperate thoughts get the better of you. Determination to choose to focus on something else. And as you practice this, because it does take practice, you will notice first, that occasionally you have gone hours without hearing the dog, and second, that when you do hear the dog, the sound no longer has the capacity to bother you. That is the beginning - at least of this bit - of freedom.


Photo Credit: Graur Razvan Ionut

1 comment:

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