On Being Free

Freedom is good.  What does that freedom mean?  Free from what?

Well, for the sake of discussion, let’s see how about free from rules, commitments, or fears?  These three represent three levels of burden, if you will, to being free.

Generally speaking, rules are external and are there to limit our behaviors.  Like speed limit, minimum drinking age, and other social impositions.  Now some rules may be internalized such as the social etiquette of don’t eat with you mouth open.  But most of the rules are external.  That’s why we need lawyers who specialize in it.

Commitments are promises we make.  Committed to spend more time with the family, eat healthy, be on-time to appointments, are examples of such promises we make in earnest with full intention. In other words, we make commitment knowingly with our eyes open.

Fears is one hundred percent personal and a learned behavior.  It may not always be conscious however. Children are born fearless.  They are taught for whatever purposes to fear.  My fear of the roach is one example.

Unfortunately we can’t always get away from the rules.  Does not matter how free we are. As long as we are part of a community, any community, there will be rules to govern people’s behaviors.  And that is not necessary a bad thing.  As mentioned we even internalize some of these rules and use them to guide our daily life.

Commitment is, on the hand, something within our control.  Don’t make promise to anyone, and you are good to go, in theory.  Maybe a bit selfish but nonetheless do-able. Not recommending it.  Just saying that freedom does come at a price.  Ask anyone who is married or has children.

Fear is by far the hardest to shake.  Fear of failure, unknown, darkness, or even roaches can shackle one from being free.  Therefore true freedom must come from having one’s fear in check. Person who can stare his or her fear straight in the eyes, navigate through the emotional maze and come out intact has a better chance of being free.

So in the context of freedom from rules, commitments, or fears, the last one being the hardest to deal.  If you can conquer your fears, you are close to truly of being free.

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