Our freedom is the biggest deception of our life and our mind is the deceiver.
Freedom is normally understood as an ability to do whatever one desires. Some would think of freedom as the capacity to buy things without looking at prices. Others would think that freedom is not following societal norms to live a life. However, for most of us, freedom is fulfilling small desires in day to day life.
Taking out some time for self or travelling or eating favourite food in a favourite restaurant or going for parties can be tagged as parameters for freedom. Many also avoid responsibilities in the name of free life. Responsibilities are not limited towards immediate family members, but towards other humans as well.
Whenever we satisfy any desires we think that we are free. To explain it further, freedom is experiencing something that is denied to us. Let us look at the example of vacation. This is a privilege which is not available to all. Either money or time restricts us. For the first time in life, many of us had both time and money but the situation outside didn’t allow us and Coronavirus became a villain for our vacation plans.
We all felt like prisoners in our own home for a few months. However, when the government relaxed the restriction, most of us started searching for our long lost freedom. The government allowed activities not because vaccine or cure for Coronavirus was available but to balance the economy which was shut for many months. Many took this as a signal to resume life as it was before Corona and got involved in the pleasure-seeking activities.
The interesting thing is that whenever you ask someone as to why are they going out for entertainment in the pandemic, the answer you normally get is because everyone else is doing. I am equally guilty of this. This forced me to think as what must be going in the mind of everyone. We all are educated, matured and very responsible citizen but then why are we risking ours and others lives for entertainment.
Many ignorant even believe that wearing a mask is against their right to freedom. In our compulsion to feel the freedom, we are not being responsible for our self and others. Mask not only protect us but it also stops spreading the virus to others. Many old people who didn’t even go out died due to Corona because many young people didn’t take mask-wearing seriously.
I realized that we all have compulsive nature and hence we cannot stop ourselves from fulfilling our desires. We lose our capacity to identify what is right and what is wrong. Even though it is not as intense as someone who takes the drug but still we are very vulnerable. Our mind makes us believe that we are not free if we are not going out or not going for parties or going to restaurants.
Anyone can be infected with the virus and it has nothing to do whether you go out for entertainment or not. That is not the topic for discussion here. We should be able to decide within our mind as what is needed and what is not needed and do it joyfully. For many of us, not going out to eat food felt like a crisis and a threat to our freedom. Is it really so?
The real freedom is an ability to perform what is needed and do it joyfully. If we are joyful, then it does not make difference if we are in the house or in a hotel. After all, we need entertainment to feel a few moments of joy. If I have to define or experience the freedom based on the desires I can fulfil, then many lifetimes will not be enough. The easier way to experience freedom in every moment is to become joyful and do what is needed.
Our mind fools us by creating thoughts that we are only free if we do a particular activity. It makes us believe that we are free but in reality, we are the slave of our mind. One way to become free is to sharpen our intellect to discriminate what is needed and what is not. We should question every single activity with this intention. Activities of our work, our relationship, our entertainment and even activities of our religion.
We also need to pursue as how can we be joyful all the time. In my experience, yogic practices help in achieving this goal. Vedanta also teaches that our real nature is that of bliss. Instead of searching for pleasure in the external world, we all can utilize our time in finding real freedom by going inward. We will discuss this in detail in future articles.